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W a t e r LIFE Charlotte Harbor and Lemon Bay Florida

Keeping Boaters and Fishermen Informed



September 2006

the St Pete Open

Tarpon Tangles Page 20

Page 22

Live Bait byFed-X

New House Progress Page 14

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w w w. C H A R L O T T E H A R B O R M A G A Z I N E . C O M




Water LIFE


September 2006

Live Bait, Overnight, via Fed-X!

September 2006

By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE Editor There are few reports of anglers having luck keeping white bait alive once it is taken off the harbor. Bait shops sell pinfish and freshwater minnows, but you can’t buy live spanish sardines or threadfin herring, the favorite diet of many local gamefish. Sardines and threadfins – ‘whitebait’ as the locals call it – don’t do well in captivity. Up to now, if you wanted live bait, you had to throw a cast net. Enter the black salty. “I think they are a cross between a goldfish and a carp,” Port Charlotte angler Mike Mahan said as he opened a Fed-X box. Mahan who lives off Kings Highway, a couple of miles from the water, has set up an outdoor aquarium for his bait. The fish Mahan has received come from out of state. They are shipped in an insulated box with a specially insulated packet of dry ice to keep the water cool. It’s not a new concept, anglers in other parts of the country have been getting bait by mail for some time. But this is new for Florida inshore fishermen. “We’ve tried it for about a month now,” Mahan said. “I like the idea of

Water LIFE

getting up in the morning and not having to look for bait before a trip,” Mahan says. The bait he is talking about are ‘black salties’, a rugged species that has been genetically engineered. “The fish have a patent applied for by the distributor so it would be illegal to simply buy some of these fish and breed them yourself,” Mahan said. “They are great tarpon bait. Tarpon love ‘em!” Mahan says. The company, Anderson Farms in Lonoke Arkansas, ships twice a week. The fish are sold by the pound. “It comes out to about a buck a piece,” Mahan said. Mahan takes the big plastic bag of fish out of the Fed-X box and cuts the top open. Thirty fish are swimming inside. He lowers the bag into the 60 gallon aquarium he has set up alongside a wooden fence. Mahan introduces some of the tank water into the bag and after a few minutes of acclimating he empties the bag into the tank. “Look at this one here,” Mahan says, grabbing a fish he already had in the tank and holding it up for me to see. There is a puncture wound in its back, but the fish is frisky. “I’ve fished this one for two days,” Mahan says. Slow fishing I think to myself.



The genetically engineered ʻBlack Saltyʼ is a surprisingly hearty bait-fish that gamefish love.

“The key is to keep bringing them back to your bait well.” The bait well is important because these are freshwater fish. They do well in saltwater for about an hour and a half, but then they need to be re-exposed to freshwater. Before going out Mahan fills the baitwell with freshwater from a hose and then treats it with a dechlorinator he buys at the pet store. “After a while in the freshwater-well they are ready to go back to the salt again,” Mahan says. These are freshwater fish that do surprisingly well in saltwater, but they are considered an invasive species by the


Florida FWC. You can’t legally fish the black salty in Florida’s freshwater system. Fishin' Frank is currently experimenting with black salties for local resale. “They’re jumpers,” Frank said. “At first the fish just kept jumping out of the tank.” Mahan keeps his tank covered with chicken wire and then several pieces of insulation to ward off the sun. “I’ve lost a few here and there over the last month, but for the most part these fish are hearty,” Mahan said. There are more photos of Mahan’s

Charlotte Harbor’s most popular boat and motor from the #1 Action Craft and Yamaha dealer Come by for your piece of the ‘Action’ 3300 Palm Beach Blvd. (Exit 25) Ft. Myers • (239) 334-3424

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Letters and e-mail to Water LIFE Magazine Dear Mr. Heller, While I thoroughly enjoy reading your publications and find many articles interesting, I believe, in my opinion, you've been had. The pictures of "The eye of Katrina" cannot in my lay opinion be real. The pictures very well may be real but they are not associated with the eye nor any other part of the hurricane. Most of all the eyes are for a large part clear and calm and not turbulent. If you notice in all of the pictures the surrounding areas appear calm and windless except for the disturbances pictured. While hurricanes do spawn tornadoes, they are usually on the peripheral areas – a good distance from the eye. These pictures remind me of e-mails being sent around with the same type of claim from an oil tanker at sea. set the claim as false, as they would with these, I am sure. Frankly, the seemingly clear skies on the sides of the disturbances make me believe these were taken on some wheat fields in the midwest. I'd be interested in what you find out from the provider of the pics. Tom Chuchran Punta Gorda

Michael, Sorry I didn't read your publication until very late in the month, but I thought I'd drop you a line anyway about the "hurricane" pictures on pages 24-25 of the August issue. They are great pictures, but they have absolutely nothing to do with Katrina. They are copyrighted images taken by Mike Hollingshead in Nebraska and Kansas in 2002 and 2004. Unfortunately, the copyright notices have been removed from the circulating versions. The copyrights belong to, Mike's website. Mike has a tremendous collection of additional photos on his web site. He also provides links to discussions of the e-mail hoaxes at and Here's the snopes reference: natural/storm.asp I'm sure Mike would appreciate it if you'd clarify the real source of the pictures and provide at least a modest plug for his web site and his hard work. Thanks, Bruce Kuechmann Harbour Heights Edi t o r Rep l i es : We were had!! We s ho ul d hav e p ai d mo re at t ent i o n t o t he

Water LIFE is not affiliated with any newspaper or other publication © 2006 Vol V No. 9 Water LIFE

No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced without the written permission of the publishers One of the bogus ʻHurricane Katrinaʼ photos we showed last month. The giveaway should have been the lack of debris. Had the eye of the storm passed over weʼd likely have see broken trees and other signs of passing violent weather. We were had!

det ai l s . – MH BLAGO KUDOS Dear Capt Ro n I really enjoy your articles, great foresight on the manatee stuff years ago! Notice being mayor does not give one special power. Thanks R Kro ns i s

Pal m Harbo r, Fl . WHAT EVER HAPPENED To the Punta Gorda Boaters Alliance? They are wo rki ng o n a waterfro nt mas ter pl an wi th

Water-FACT In 2005 Charlotte Co. had 17,187 student enrolled in their school system. In the same year the county had 22,548 registered boats.

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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 Kayaks: David Allen Sea Grant: Betty Staugler

on the COVER:

Adam Wilson sent us this picture taken 50 miles offshore on a particularly nice spearfishing day in August. The fish is a grouper.

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

Perspective September 2006

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Red Tides & Manatees

By Capt Ron Bl ago Water LIFE Senior Staff It seems like everyday there is another article about red tide in the local paper. First its red tide in Collier Co. then Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota and Manatee. If you just read the papers you would thing the southwest coast is a dying, stinking cesspool of polluted water all caused by man’s stupidity. Sorry folks but as a man, I don’t feel like taking the blame for this one. As a professional fisherman with over 25 years on the local waters, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would have to give this year’s outbreak a 3, nothing special. That doesn’t mean it can’t get worse like last year, but there is just as much chance that it will get better. My favorite report so far was a TV interview at a local beach where they interviewed a woman who complained about an irritation in her throat and in the background there had to be about 200 hundred people on the beach and in the water having a good time. How bad could the red tide be if people are still at the beach? All this talk of red tide is really killing business and I wish the local media would remember that when they are having a slow news day and start feeding the red tide rumor mill. Let me give you an example. Last month I ran the Kid’s Fishing Camp in Englewood and the first day of fishing we were at the Indian Mounds Park on Lemon Bay. For a lot of these kids it is the fist time they have gone fishing so we use small hooks and pieces of shrimp (thanks to Fisherman’s Edge). Plenty of pinfish were caught and everyone was having a good time. Then a school bus showed up with the kids from the Charlotte County camp which was also going on that week. For the past few years we have had an unwritten

The bloom that causes red tide (left) and a feeding manatee

agreement to try not to be at the same place at the same time. I knew something was up. The head counselor told me that they were scheduled to be at Englewood Beach that day, but had cancelled that plan when they read about the red tide in the paper. That had me concerned because I was going to take the kids to the beach the next day. After camp, I went to the beach to check it out. There were a few dead fish, but they looked like they had died days before. Everything else looked normal. The next day the kids caught more fish at the beach then any other camp had in the last seven years. A school of rat reds went by and everyone was catching fish as fast as they could get their hooks in the water. One kid even caught a 27-inch snook in the surf. If I had listened to the reports in the paper, we probably would of stayed indoors and watched movies. So my advice is; if you want to know about red tide go check it out for yourself. There have been a number of scientific conferences on red tide last month and some interesting information has become public knowledge. First off red tide is always present. It’s an algae that can only live in saltwater and only

becomes a problem when it multiplies, blooms and gives off a toxin. Historical records indicate that you can have a red tide bloom any month of the year, but August and September are the two months with the largest number of outbreaks. Even in the best of times you can get red tide levels about 10 thousand cells per liter. You don’t get too nervous until you hit 100,000 cell mark and by the time you get to a 1 million cell point you’ve got a problem and it can get a lot worse. Last year they recorded levels at 70 million cells per liter around St. Petersburg. One of the major problems brought out in recent science was how the historic data is of little use in answering questions like; is red tide worse now than in the past? In the past there were many organizations testing and studying red tide, but there was no standardized testing method so everyone’s data was different. You really can’t compare apples and oranges. If all of these researches would get on the same page it would be a big first step in learning about red tide. One of the most unusual proposals coming out of a scientific meeting at Mote Marine concerned manatees.

Last year red tide killed over 80 manatees in southwest Florida. As a matter of fact, over 437 manatees have died from red tide over the last 10 years. The reason is, a lot of manatees spend the winter dry season in the Caloosahatchee River particularly around the man made warm water discharges at the Orange River power plant. When spring comes, the manatees head down the river to Charlotte Harbor where, if there is a red tide outbreak, they become sitting ducks. A few of the scientists have come up with a plan to flood the Caloosahatchee with fresh water from Lake Okeechobee, reasoning that since red tide can’t live in fresh water they can clean out the river and give the manatees a fighting chance to survive. The only trouble is that other scientists think it is the fertilizer rich pollution from Okeechobee that is feeding the growth of red tide to begin with. The idea is so radical that even the Save the Manatee Club doesn’t know what to think. Save the manatees by putting more pollution in the water. That will really help their fund raising efforts. Don’t you just love it when people try to help Mother Nature? Capt Ron Blago can be reached at 474-3474 or

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Completely remodeled 3/2/2 pool home on Saltwater canal. 1432 sq ft, built in 1970. Features new roof, gutters, soffit, pool cage, A/C, water heater, appliances, wood cabinets, interior doors, carpet, tile, jetted tub in master bath, and more. Electric & water at dock. Great home at a great price. MLS #632617 $349,900 Call Ellen at 235-5648


Saltwater Canal Home

3/2/2, 1621 sq. ft. built in 2003. Home shows like brand new. Nothing to do but move in. Living, dining, & fam. rm., storm shutters, storage shed, fenced yard, 20 min. to Harbor 1 bridge, MLS 600193 $359,900, call Ellen at 235-5648

WHY WAIT TO BUILD!! This 3/2/2 pool home overlooks a lovely waterway, has 1614 sq ft and was built in 2005. Home features many upgrades including Granite kitchen countertops, wood cabinets, ceramic tile, walk-in shower and more. This home also comes fully furnished with beautiful furniture. This is a must see!!! Bring all offers!!. MLS # 634989 $350,000 Call Gerry at 268-4249

REDUCED! Centrally Located 3/2/2 Home Built in 1990, with 1549 sq ft. Shows pride of ownerhip, only lived in seasonally. New roof, soffit, fascia & gutters. Tile throughout except Living rm & bedrooms, breakfast nook, eat-in kitchen, master bath has dual sinks, walk-in shower & his ʻn hers walk-in closets. A great family home. MLS # 639512 $ 199,900. Call Andy Rodriguez at 235-5648.

Great priced home in North Port close and convenient to shopping, banks, schools and golf courses. This 3/2/1 open and spacious home has 1286 sq ft, wood cabinets, cathedral ceilings, breakfast nook, separate dining room and more. Don't miss out on this one. MLS # 644071 $199,900 Call Ellen at 235-5648


Located in Gardens of Gulf Cove. Beautiful 3/2/1, 1168 sq ft. home features large family room & kitchen, ceramic tile, all appliances less than 1 yr old, tile roof, security system & more. Clubhouse has 2 swimming pools overlooking a lake, tennis courts, RV & boat storage. Just minutes to the beach. Call today before its gone!!! MLS # 638691 $179,000 Call Gerry Gilbert at 268-6954


Still under construction, Beautiful 4/3.5/3 pool/spa home on oversized corner lot, 2589 sq ft of living area, with all the bells & whistles, solid honey oak cabinets, solid surface counters thru-out, hurricane code windows, seamless glass window at nook, 8ft sliders, corner garden tub in master bath, 2 A/C units, MLS #628706 $549,900 Call Ellen at 235-5648

A delight to see.....Fits this beautifully maintained 3/2/2 large pool home with 2394 sq ft of living area. If you are looking for a home with wide open, spacious rooms, this is it. Huge kitchen, super size family room plus separate dining and formal living room. This home comes fully furnished very attractively done. Newer appliances, A/C, water heater, roof and pool cage. This is truly a must see!!! MLS # 644668


Beautiful 3/2.5/2 pool home on Saltwater canal, with 1937 sq ft, built in 2001. This home is located in Collingswood Pointe area, and has 108 feet on the intersecting canals, Only 20 minutes to the Harbor. Some of the features include , solid surface counters, breakfast bar, walk-in closets, intercom & security systems, sprinklers, storm shutters, jetted tub in master bath and more. Don‚t miss this one!!. MLS 635104 $519,900 Call Ellen at 235-5648


Gorgeous 3/2/2 pool home, 2060 sq ft, built in 1989. This home has so much to offer including hardwood floors thru-out except for tile in baths & foyer, 2 breakfast bars in kitchen, bay windows, 4 walk-in closets, master bath has jetted corner tub with a view, dual sinks,& vanity, beautiful landscaping and the list goes on. Great home for entertaining, You won‚t want to miss out on this one!!!!. MLS # 634149 $249,000 Call Rieka at 235-5648.

Looking for the best priced home with large pool/spa, then this one is for you !! 3 bedrooms 2 bath, 1445 sq ft of living area, Living & Dining rooms, metal roof, new appliances, inside laundry with pantry, bay windows, and more. Nice quite area to relax and sit by the pool. MLS # 643388 $229,900 Call Ellen at 235-5648.

September 2006

Deep Creek Beauty!!! 3/2/2, built in 2003, 1596 sq ft, this open & airy home has everything you want, living,family, & dining rooms, vaulted ceilings, 2 pantries, walk-in closets, plenty of storage, custom window treatments, breakfast bar and more. Nordic spa also included in price of home. MLS # 638693 $229,900 Call Donna Brooks at 235-5648

Beautiful PGI waterfront 3/2.5/2 pool home to die for. 2615 sq ft under A/C, huge open & airy 23 X 32 great room, custom built wet bar with granite counter's, baywindows, skylights,oversized garage with cabinets, plantation shutters, and so much more. MLS # 643702 $ 669,900 Call Ellen today for more details 235-5648.

Beautiful 3/2/2 pool home built in 1991, 1503 sq

ft. Home features new roof, stainless steel appliances, wood cabinets, solid surface counters, ceramic tile throughout except bedrooms and more. Great big lanai wonderful for entertaining, Hurry this one won‚t last long!!! MLS #635828 $244,900 Call Diane at 235-5648

Deep Creek beauty, All remodeled and ready for new owners. This home features 3 bedrooms 2 bath and many extras, new roof all new wood cabinets, new kitchen counters. Open and airy to dining room, kitchen, nook and Florida room. Come take a look at this one. MLS # 645020 $219,900 Call Ellen at 235-5648.

Beautiful home that shows pride of ownership. This 3/2/2 has 1815 sq ft and features solid wood flooring in Living, dining, and master bedroom, Large living and family room, new roof, A/C, & hot water heater. You won't want to miss out on viewing this one. MLS # 644254 $224,900 Call Ellen at 235-5648

Water LIFE

September 2006

Boating Survey Results Tabulated


Sample Survey Conclusions

1. Respondents that began their trips from public boat ramps tended to have the greatest amount of boating experience (17.4 years on average).

2. Average on water travel/trip duration time broke down as follows (in hours): Boat Ramp 6.9, Marina Wet Slip 4.8, Marina Dry Storage 4.5, Home Dock 5.2 and Condo Dock 5.5.

By Betty S taugl er Water LIFE / Sea Grant Did you receive a survey in 2005 asking you about your boating trips - favorite destinations, travel routes, primary activities, and so forth. Did you fill it out? Would you like to know the outcome of the survey? The results are in! The study was conducted by Florida Sea Grant from February through September of 2005 to survey and characterize boaters who recreate in the Greater Charlotte Harbor region (Charlotte and Lee County waterways), on the basis of trip departure category (marina wet slip, marina dry storage, public ramp, and private dock). Vessel and boat trailer registration numbers collected at area marinas and boat ramps were used to obtain names and mailing addresses from the State’s Vessel Title Registration System (VTRS) for marina and ramp samples. Names and mailing addresses for waterfront parcel owners obtained from County tax records were compared to the VTRS to identify the dock sample (those


The average respondent reported taking 52 boating trips per year.

4. Roughly 75-percent of respondents indicated that they have had a boating safety or seamanship course. Boaters that launched from public boat ramps tended to be the least likely group to have had a boating safety or seamanship course. Boaters departing from marina wet slips or home docks were more likely to have had a boating safety or seamanship course. 5. Top reasons for selecting a favorite travel route: #1 Enjoy scenic beau ty, #2 Avoid congested areas, #3 Prefer well-marked channels, #4 (tie) Avoid shallow water & Prefer calm protected waters. 6. Boaters' activity rankings: #1 Fishing, #2 Cruising, #3 Visiting restau rants, #4 Nature viewing, #5 Sightseeing 7. Boating Detractors by Primary Category: #1 Lack of courtesy and/or seamanship, #2 Excessive regulation, #3 Congestion, #4 Altered Environment, #5 Lack of water access. waterfront parcel owners that also own a boat). A map-based questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of 6,944 area boaters. 1,473 surveys were returned, of which 1,447 could be used for the statistical or spatial (map based) analyses. Questionnaire recipients marked the start and end point of their last two recreational

boating trips, traced their travel routes, identified their favorite boating destinations, and the primary activities that they engaged in while at a particular destination. In addition, much descriptive data about boaters’ trips, including preferences for selecting trip departure sites, destinations, and travel routes, favorite activities, vessel

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types, and the timing, duration, and frequency of trips, was collected and linked to the mapped data. A content analysis identified important issues and needs from the perspective of the boating community. Lastly, an analysis that compared the responses of early and late responders to the survey was undertaken to evaluate the potential effects of non-response bias; late responders were used as a surrogate for nonresponders. The information is intended to be used for resource management and planning applications, and as the basis for developing map based products intended to improve boating experiences and instill resource stewardship. The results of this effort are very comprehensive but clearly described in a 94 page document that can be accessed at the following web address: Why is this study important? As demand for the use of Florida’s waterways increases, so does the need for enhanced public access, public safety, and environmental protection. This study builds upon previous work conducted in the Charlotte Harbor and Tampa and Sarasota Bay boating regions (Sidman & Flamm, 2001; Sidman, Fik, & Sargent, 2004) Source: A Recreational Boating Characterization for the Greater Charlotte Harbor, Florida Sea Grant, University of Florida. TP-150. Betty Staugler is the Sea Grant Agent for Charlotte County. She can be reached at 764-4346.

42' Post Marine Sportfish 1978 -T/310hp Detroit dsls 6-71N, depth, fish finder. VHF, GPS, 3 bats. New 7.6KW gen. A/C all gauges, and more $199,900

28' Bertram with new Indmar 275 hp engines in 1991. Private stateroom forward with V-berths, lower helm and dinette. Great fishing or cruising boat. $22,500

34' Cruisader Flybridge 2002 -Custom made boat to specs of a SW FL offshore capt. Reef permit and commercial fishing gear available. Asking $150,000

24' Wellcraft 2400 Coastal, 1997, single 225 Johnson Ocean runner. Lift kept, no bottom paint. Asking $24,900

23' Chriscraft 232 Sport Deck, 2000 model, single Volvo 65.0 G.I. I/O. Seats 13 and price includes 2005 tandem aluminum trailer. Asking $25,900

30' Pro-Line WA 2004 - T/225hp Mercury Optimax, well equipped, very nice condition. Asking $99,900

30' Proline Express 2002 T/225hp Evinrudes Fichts only 78 hrs,. autopilot, depth, VHF, GPS, hydraulic steering $64,700

25ʼ Pro Line Center Console Sportfisherman. Twin 130 hp Honda 4-strokes with only 64 hours. Loaded with extras, trailer included $58,000

22' Wellcraft 220 Coastal 1999 model with single 200 hp Johnson Ocean Runner. Asking $218,500

28' Prokat Prosports CC 2003 - T/225 Yamaha 4strokes, only 227 hrs., fully rigged for offshore fishing. Tri-axle trailer included. Asking $84,900

26' World Cat 266SF 2000 -Twin 130hp Hondas, custom T-Top. Asking $51,900.

33' Bertram Flybridge Cruiser 1977, Twin gas engines. Great weekend fisherman with excellent cruising accommodations. Asking $49,000

28' Sea Ray Sundancer 2006 Twin 220HP Mercruisers. Like new condition, lift stored. Asking $109,000.

25' Proline WA Cuddy 1998 -225hp Mercury EFI. Clean boat, lift stored. Asking $28,500

25' Carolina Classic 1997 - 300 hp Volvo Duoprop, clean boat thatʼs ready to fish! $43,900

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September 2006


With Bill Dixon / Punta Gorda Boat Club

By Bi l l Di xon Water LIFE Sailing Feel the crisp cool air? Notice the leaves turning? Well summer is history or at least the summer sailboat racing series is, anyway. Winners were: Peter New aboard Crime S cene in the spinnaker division. In the big boat mixed fleet Mary and Bob Anderson, Journey On were 1st; Kay and Jerry Haller, Jammin‚ 2nd; Susan and Skip Vielhauer, Frolic 3rd. In the small boat mixed fleet, Bill Hart, Rockin‚ Chair was 1st; Tony Millan, Tribe 2nd; Dave Akinson, Adagio 3rd. I thought the mixing of Cruisers and Non Spinnaker racers went well for the summer, but amazingly enough, we have so many entries for the fall (31 boats) that we have had to go back to the traditional fleets. A new experiment will be splitting the fall series non- spinnaker and cruising fleets into bigger and smaller boats. We still have only 4 starts (Spin, N/S, Cruising, and Multihull). Since the spinnaker class was already split, we will

now be awarding 7 sets of trophies. The only fleet left without a split is multihulls. Punta Gorda Sailing Club is more than willing to run races for cruising multihulls and make it 8 sets of trophies. I know from touring the canals that there are lots of Geminis, Prouts, and French cruising cats out there – so come on out and race with us. You won’t have to compete with the Farriers and the Corsairs; you can race other cruising boats and go to dinner with the monohull sailors. The‘06-‘07 BOTY started Labor Day Weekend with the Summerset Regatta. This was a distance race from Ft. Myers to Naples on Saturday and two buoy-races in the Gulf off Naples on Sunday. The distance race is worth double (10 points) for showing up. I went along as ballast, so I have a ready made subject for my column next month. Check the PGSC web site, call or e-mail me for info on either BOTY or the fall PGSC series. Bill Dixon cane be reached at: 941-637-2694 or send e-mailto:dixonwj@com

September 11 is a Flag Day Bill Hart in his ʻRockinʼ Chairʼ

June 14 is designated as Flag Day but September 11 is a flag day too. On Monday, September 11th an American flag should be displayed outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States. Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this the fifth anniversary of one of our country's worst tragedies. Do this in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and to honor those who today

July 4 1776

Flag from the Revolutionary War

This old 48-star American Flag has adorned the front page of this publication since our first edition was published. This is the flag that was flying on the Battleship Arizona on December 7 when Pearl Harbor was attacked. The flag was recovered from the water by a rescue boat after the ship sank. It is on display at the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Hawaii.

are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms. In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-toshoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we will prevail over terrorism of all kinds.

Dec 7, 1944

Flag recovered at Pearl Harbor

Sept 11, 2001 Flag from the World Trade Center

Fishing the High Tide Smorgasbord Water LIFE

September 2006

By Capt. Chuck Ei chner Water LIFE Pirate Harbor September is a remarkable month in the Charlotte Harbor calendar of fishing. Way too hot for many fisherman, way too much bait to compete with, but just about every non-pelagic specie that swims in the gulf is active somewhere in the harbor. The simple reason is it’s chock full of baitfish, shrimp and crabs and there are many, many sub-species of each of these forage baits. If you noticed that pilchards, threadfins and sardines haven’t worked nearly as good as in other months there is a reason for it. The fish have a smorgasbord. On recent outings I have netted or ‘trapped’ countless varieties of shrimp and crab, eel, lobster, sea horses and stone crabs right here in the harbor. I have noticed there are lots of tarpon and they seem to be hanging around huge concentrations of moon jelly fish. I just can’t resist the urge to pitch a large threadfin or pinfish to rolling and feeding tarpon, and did it many times in August, however these tarpon seem to be able to easily resist these choice baits. What’s up with that? I wonder if they gorge themselves on the moon jellies and occasionally snap up other delicacies such as sand dollars. That’s right, there are tons of sand dollars in the harbor that come and go and they are often suspended in the water column, not on the bottom. The point is there are lots of aquatic creatures in the harbor and the fish are taking advantage of it. So how do you ‘match the hatch’ with all of the exotic feed these fish have to munch on? I go with what I can get and on an average day I will take hand picked shrimp and cast net pilchards and pinfish. You may want to purchase a few hard crabs and catch some ladyfish to chunk up also. The only problem with these baits is they attract hardhead and gafftop sailcats like a magnet and I quickly lose interest. The redfish love crab and ladyfish, but I personally don’t have the patience to bottom fish and wade through the bottom feeders. So what does the smorgasbord and high tides have to do with each other? Aquatic life flows in with the incoming tides. As the tide stage increases, their pathway into the remote backcountry increases. The end result is that when the tide begins to ‘ebb’ or fall, the dinner table is rolled out and the food line forms. Gamefish instinctively position themselve’s near the path of current created by mangrove islands, channels, ditches, creeks and other structure as the waters of high tide flush out. Large expanses of water drop across the flats as it enters the main body of the harbor. The sea creatures that enter this vast estuary system instinctively leave with the loss of water. The high outgoing tide is my favorite

tide this month. There will be plenty of naturally occurring high tides coupled with seasonal westerly winds that drive excess water into the harbor. The surest thing to a fast and furious bite is to pick a high outgoing tide at daybreak or sunset. You will only have a couple hours of fishing, but if you are prepared you can expect a lot of action.


There are lots of backcountry tarpon around that only reveal themselves under low light conditions. They migrate into open backcountry basins and feed in the early morning hours. When the tide begins to drop, they will meander their way out to deeper waters. I like to position my boat near an island point and cast out pilchards. Tarpon seem to watch the top so I like to place a cork 2 feet above the hook to keep the bait swimming near the surface. Small whitebait is a backcountry favorite. Use a size 2 hook with 30-pound leader for the small baits. Bigger whitebait and pinfish won’t get as much attention. Tarpon from 5 to 20 pounds will blast that little bait and start the day off with a bang. Believe me there are a lot more tarpon around then you might think.

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schools of mullet because they create an actual wave that may be 3-4 inches above the surface. Position your boat well in advance of their travel pattern and they will swim right up to you. Pitch a nice hand-picked shrimp out there and hang on!


A short list of other species to catch on the high outgoing includes cobia, shark, trout, mackerel and bluefish. For September, be at your favorite bait hole 30 minutes before daybreak. Catch enough for 2 hours of fishing and set up on a fishy looking area as the sun’s coming up. Enter your fishing area by trolling motor at least 100 yards from

your spot. The early morning shallow water fish are easily spooked. No bites in the first 10 minutes means it’s time for a spot change. For the evening bite, put your lines out at 6:00 and expect the bite to peak about 8:00pm. The middle of the day between 11:00 and 5:00 is best spent in a place like the Lazy Flamingo or Harpoon Harry’s restaurant sipping a cold one and munching on a grouper sandwich.

Capt. Chuck Eichner is a local charter captain. For information or to book a guided fishing trip call 941-505-0003 or go to:

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I noticed in August that my snook catches went way up. There seem to be a lot of juvenile snook which is a great sign. However, there were plenty of legal ones around. The snook bite is generally better on the high outgoing tides in the evening. I like to free line a white bait for average size fish or fish a chunky pinfish for the real dragburners. Bigger baits catch the bigger snook so upsize your hook size.


September is a primo month for reds. They can be caught on nearly any tide phase but I still like the outgoing. Often they will congregate in large schools and you will see them rise up into a wave of nervous water. I have to tell you that if you are on the water at daybreak on an open flat, you will be able to pick these fish out a mile away. They differ from

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The Line Behind the Myths

Water LIFE

Page 10

By Fi shi n’ Frank Water LIFE Charlotte Harbor Fishin’ line is big business, especially if you can get people to believe in your line of B.S. as well as your fishing line. Let’s start with replacing your line every six months or every year. Do you really think line companies throw out spools of line if they get a year old. Well the Easter Bunny says they do. It is all about profit; sell more line, that is the bottom line. Lets go back to 1986 I had only been in the tackle business a few years. One day a rep. from one of the biggest line companies came in to Fishin’ Franks and started showing me, about fishing line. Wanting to learn, I was all ears and every thing he said I took as gospel. After all, he was the representative for the largest fishing line company and he would know it all. – At the time it did not occur to me that he was just some schmuck hired to sell line. While we talked I showed him (with pride) our dozens of spools of bulk line from 4 pound test to 125 pound test and all the colors we had in stock. While showing off our selection of lines he asked me if any of the spools were more than six months old. I told him yes a few of the them were. He looked shocked and said ‘you should replace them now.’ Six months he said was almost the limit and once the line was a year old; throw it out. What could I do? Right there, I placed an order for all new spools of line. I do not remember, but it

was a lot of money. I was not going to short change my customers. They were not going to buy bad products from our store! A few days later I received my new line and when I opened the boxes I noticed a tournament flyer inside. The winner would get free line and prizes if they caught the largest fish by November of 1984. What? It was 1986, the tournament had ended two years ago! It began at the beginning of 84 so the line had to have been made in 1983 at best. Often I think that was the end of my good attitude. It was definitely the beginning of my B.S. busting. I do not believe a rep if he tells me it is daylight with out checking for myself. Feeling really stupid about line I started to research it for myself. Here are the things I learned.

The thing we watch for on our spools of line is consistency. The line should be the same color on the top layer and underneath. Line should stretch evenly. When taken from the spool it should lay almost flat without curling. These are all easy-to-see signs of the condition of fishing line. Luckily for us we sell our spools of line rather quickly. On some of the more specialized lines, before we sell them we strip off the first layers of

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the spool to make sure of the quality. Every once in a while we have to throw out a spool. It costs money to do this, but losing some line is better than losing a fish. Line color is the latest thing to watch if you are paying attention. Clear line, multi color "camouflage" line, dark green, bright chartreuse green, blue line, now even red line. Do the col ors make a di fference? Yes, No, Maybe. The truth is, if you think it does then it does. Confidence is key to catching fish. If you catch fish on bright green line, all I can say is that’s the best line for you to use. If you do not catch fish with bright green line then it sucks and do not use it. To my thinking, in very muddy water I use the multi color. In stained brown water I use clear. Under the mangroves I use braid. In gin clear water I use a hope and a prayer. Watch now for ads telling you that red line disappears first in the water. Disappears ? Huh? Why then are not all submarines painted red? Once they were below 30 feet they would be invisible!!! Would we become invisible to sharks if we wore a red wet suit? Sounds like the B.S. "O"-meter is hitting overload on red line. The truth is, red U.V. rays are the first to stop penetrating underwater. So anything red becomes black or a shade of grey. Consequently, red line would change to black or grey. Not as exciting as disappearing but the truth. Colored line is good stuff, I use red, white, yellow, and just about every other combination of colors on lures to attract fish, why not colored line. If you are on fish and the bite stops maybe if you switch color of fishing line,the new color might fool them into biting again. Hey it's new to them. Could work. I really believe if you tossed mono line in a corner and then came back in a couple hundred years it would still be

September 2006

there. No good for anything, but still there. So why buy new line every few months? Other than I could use the money I have no Idea. I like the money, but truth is, it’s a waste. There is no way to tell when you should replace your fishing line other then when you have a problem with it. The average time to replace a line dose not exist, replace it when you start to have problems, like after you cast it looks like a curly fry. Breaking fishing line, even 10 pound test, will sound like a 22 rifle being shot. Most often when people think the line ‘broke’ it was really ‘cut.’ Everything in salt water is covered with barnacles, oysters are all sharp. When a line touches things underwater it is being cut or sliced. Most slices are hard to see. Pinch the line lightly between your fingers and move your fingers over the line. Even a small cut can be felt. If you feel a nick in the line, cut that part off. The line maybe cut a little or almost all the way through. Your 15 pound test may only be four pound test at that nick, next time you get a strike and "fish on / fish off", think about it. Changes in the color of the line can tell a lot about its condition. If it is yellowed on top layers and a few wraps lower it is white, most likely the line is going to go bad soon. Line should be stored inside a closet where light can not get to it. Dark is key, even electric lights give off U.V. rays and break down plastic. Heat can break down plastic, however today houses are air conditioned this is not a problem. Storing line in a shed without A/C where the Florida sun can cook the inside to over 120 degrees day after day will cause line to break down. When stored right, fishing line should last in good shape for years. Ul tra thi n mono l i ne is a gimmick started a few years ago. The offered 16 pound test the size of 12 pound test, Please see ʻFrankʼ on facing page

September 2006

Another Day in Paradise Editor notes: There is nothing special about this e-mail which we receiv ed from Capt Stev en Eggers at Linesider Charters. It’s just a report of another day in paradise.

In August I was out with a long time friend. He had been working in Sweden for the last six months. He told me he was anxious to go out and catch a big snook. We went out on a Saturday, and immediately started slaying the snook. He was a little rusty at first, but eventually got the hang of it again. You know, kinda like riding a bike – you never forget. We ended up catching a variety of sizes of snook. Then we loaded up the boat and went up north into the Peace River. We were using red and white Mirro Lure and Zoom Arkansas Shiner Jerk Baits. We only caught four fish, but one was a beautiful 35 inch redfish which weighed just over 10 pounds. That pretty much made our day. I told him

Water LIFE


Frank: Conti nued from faci ng page Sounds like B.S. to me. To understand line pound test rating you have to go back to the 1960s. Most anglers used what is called the fisherman's knot - a clinch knot. This knot, at its best, is a 70% knot – so if you have 10 pound test line the knot strength will be 70 percent of the line strength or 7 pounds. Line companies wanted their line to have more ‘knot strength’ so they added 30 percent to the size of the line, so the line would break at 12 pounds at the knot: 12+30% = 16 pounds. So the manufacturers came out with a brand new product by simply putting the correct information on the label. That approach seems to have become the standard for the line industry: almost all monofilament line is 30 percent stronger than the label indicates. Plastic line can be made softer or harder, but as far as I know it all has the same breaking strength per 1000th of an inch diameter. Softer mono line is easier to cast, harder mono line resists abrasion better – the harder it is the longer it will last while a fish chews on it. Fl uorocarbon l i ne – A misconception people have on this line is about strength. It is not stronger than regular leader ... it is harder –

P a g e 11

stiffer – therefore more difficult for a fish to chew apart. But the main thing about fluorocarbon is it bends light the same way as water, making it almost invisible to a fish. To the human eye, again, it mostly looks black in the water, but it is very hard to see for a fish. At this time it’s the closest thing to invisible line there is. One other thing: it sucks as fishing line. Fluorocarbon line is so stiff it is hard to cast and even harder to reel back onto the spool. All and all it just sucks as line. To its credit, it is absolutely great leader. Soon maybe someone will make it easier to cast– then look out fish. Brai d or S uper-Brai d l i ne – This line is made from material similar to fiberglass, and it decreases the amount of strikes you get even with a good leader. Much the same as if you use a steel leader, you will get less fish to bite your bait or lure than you will with a mono leader. So too, if you use super braid line you get less hits. But like with a steel leader, if you have braided line you are much more likely to land the fish. Super braids allow you to easily cast very heavy line with little or no weights. With 30 pound mono filament line you could not cast a 1/4 oz weight 15 feet. With 30 pound super braid you can cast yards and yards with ease. Again, the


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Tools of the Trade

Water LIFE

Page 12

By Capt. Robert Moore Water LIFE Tournament S taff When it comes to having the tools of the trade for fishing there are many categories. Aside from basic tools such as the rods, reels, baits, etc., in my opinion there are three tools that every angler should have on board. Now some might argue that my three recommendations are not of high priority. In the big picture they might be right. I do consider them tools of luxury because I could still fish without them but you’ll never see me on the water without them. Pai r of Qual i ty Pl i ers – This may seem obvious to some but I have climbed aboard many boats where there was not a pair to be found. When I first started fishing I only bought the $10 pair. I was not going to spend big bucks on something that I always seemed to drop in the water after a few months. And if I didn’t drop them they would usually rust or corrode to the point they ended up in the garbage. One Christmas I was given an expensive pair of pliers. I decided that if I was going to use them I was going to tie them off to me so they would never be donated to the mounds of pliers I had already left on the harbor bottom. I found a good and sturdy coiled lanyard that connected to my sheath. That was 6 years ago and I still have the same pair clipped onto my belt every time I go fishing. The durable stainless steel construction has prevented them from rusting or corroding. I did the math and on average I was probably spending close to $50-$60 a year on cheap pairs of pliers. The $120 pliers I have had for six years still

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work as good as they did the day I got them. This is one category I would recommend that you spend the extra money on. In the long run you will save money. The pair of pliers I own and recommend are the Donnmar Checkpoint CP950 Stainless Pliers. I could not find a specific web site on them but most tackle stores carry them with the accessories. The second pair I would recommend is the Piranha Pliers made by Accurate. You can visit their web site at Fi sh Hook Extractor/ Remover – There are many types out on the market today. The type I am referring to are the pistol type that retracts back into itself when the handles are squeezed. They are by far the best tool I have used for removing hooks embedded in a fish’s

mouth. I have found the best success with them when it comes to removing hooks from fish you don’t really want to handle, like catfish, mackerel and sharks. I run my hand down the line until I come to the lure or hook eye. I place the lure or hook eye between my thumb and index finger and with the hook extractor in my opposite hand I clamp onto the hook shank right above the bend in the hook and simple shake. 99% of the time the hook pops out without having to even touch the fish. It’s that fast and easy. For inshore species I use the Rapala Hook Remover. It holds up great and is the perfect size for most of our inshore species. For sharks I use the Fish Hook Extractor. The stainless steel construction keeps it from rusting or corroding. I have also attached my hook remover with a lanyard to my belt. You can find more information about Rapala’s hook removers at

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September 2006

Boga Gri p – This tool goes hand in hand with the fish hook extractor/remover. The Boga Grip allows you to control the fish whether you’re trying to remove a hook or take a quick picture. Once the tongs latch on it will not let go no matter how much pulling, tugging or spinning takes place. This $100+ tool is worth every penny. Its surgical steel construction will last much longer than most of us will. If it does break simply send it back to the manufacture and they will fix it for free. It also comes with a built in calibrated certifiable scale. There are many other similar tools on the market but in my opinion none are built as well as the Boga Grip. They have three sizes – 15, 30 and 60 pound. Most folks tie off a large float to the lanyard in case it is dropped overboard. Found at most tackle stores, you can get more information about Boga Grips at Don’t be fooled by cheap look alikes.

Water LIFE

OPINION: Charlotte County Doesnʼt Need Baseball

September 2006

By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE Publisher I love baseball. It’s my televised game of choice. But we don’t need minor league or spring training baseball here in Charlotte County. First of all, minor league athletes are not big spenders. You don’t make squat in baseball until you are in the majors and major league players aren’t settling in Charlotte County. We don’t have any high end entertainment for them in Charlotte County; our sports bars are pathetic and (thankfully) we don’t have enough women of ill repute. Steroids are prescribed for the elderly in Port Charlotte. Baseball won’t be happy here. The idea of once again trying to lure a professional franchise to our county doesn’t make sense. Currently the county commissioners are considering a deal with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays that would lease the old Ranger Stadium on SR 776 to the Tampa franchise for 30 years. Renovations to the site would cost around 30 million dollars up front and the county is trying to come up with a plan to make it work. I think that’s a bad idea and here’s why. First, the revenue to make up the ‘30mil’ would come from four sources. Number 1 would be a $400,000 annual

rent payment made by the franchise. We spend 30 mill up front and they pay us $400k/year. OK say you can live with that, to make it work the county plans to expand the ‘bed tax’ on visitors to the maximum allowable 5-percent. Just last year the county expanded the bed tax from three to four percent. The new one percent was ear-marked for Parks and Recreation. It would have improved the Ranger Stadium site with an olympic pool and other facilities for county residents to use. That made sense since the county is developing the Murdock Village area near by. Now the county wants to axe that idea and take back that one percent so they can give it over to the Devil Ray project. Than the county would add the fifth percent to the bed tax and give that new one percentage to the Devil Ray deal as well. Two percent of the bed-tax money going to baseball. The county’s own tourism development council voted unanimously not to approve this plan, but since the tourism development department is appointed by the County Commissioners, the commissioners felt they didn’t need the department’s advice. Instead they proposed a cap for some of the tourism departments spending. That

Page 13

appeared to be another shortsighted decision which could effect our growth. But there was still one remaining part of the puzzle left before the Devil Ray deal would work. For the fourth part, the county commissioners plan to apply for a state grant. The state of Florida is worried that Arizona is taking away our spring training revenue, so the state of Florida has made a limited amount of funding available to Florida’s counties in order to keep spring training here. The money is earmarked for just the kind of deal the Devil Rays are seeking, the only problem is that the state money will go to 5 counties and we believe that more than 5 counties want it. It’s not a done deal yet. Other counties have been lobbying for their share of the state grant for a year. Charlotte has had one month to prepare for the state’s October grant deadline. Not getting the state grant could be the deal killer in the Devil Ray plan. I worry that redirecting that fourth percent of the bed tax money, the percent previously earmarked for Parks and Recreation, is playing fast and loose with public ammenities. The median age of Charlotte County’s residents is going down. More working families are

moving here every day. The idea of a municipal pool and public use facility was too good to be dismissed without public input. For the last four years this publication has suggested the Sports Complex site be developed into an environmentally friendly aquatic park. Harbor access, at least for paddle craft is a reality from the back of the site. Location is ideal. An aquarium a fish hatchery, a manatee monitoring station would all be assets to our community. We could even retain a marine biologist that this county so desperately needs on its staff. The other down side of a professional baseball franchise coming to Charlotte County for spring training is that spring time is not when we need more people here. Snowbirds are here in force, restaurants and more importantly hotels are full in spring time. That means we’d need new hotels, which when off season came would tip the balance for everyone in the current accommodation industry. Charlotte County needs to continue to focus on promoting our most important assets, its river and its harbor. People will come here to be by the water. People will pay to be by the water. Baseball isn’t going to do squat for the future of Charlotte County.

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Water LIFE

Floors and countertops ... This New House Part 16

By Mi chael Hel l er Water LIFE editor “No, that’s not the way we do it. I want to be paid in full before we finish your job. In fact, I want all the money before I even unload my truck.” The words came as a surprise to me, words from Rod Bodell owner of H20 Plumbing in Englewood. Rod and his partner Jack Guiliano were already late in arriving to set the toilets, install the hot water heater and ‘trim out’ the house. Jack had avoided my phone calls for a week. I chalked it up to him being busy in Englewood and our job being an inconvenience in Port Charlotte. But I thought Jack and I had a good relationship. He was introduced to me by a mutual friend and we had no major problems, I thought, to date. But Jack went partners with Rod after my job got started so I didn’t know Rod and I didn’t understand why the demand to be paid up front. Our agreement was three draws, with payment on completion for each stage. Piping in the underground for the slab, rouging in the pipes inside the house and then the ‘trim out’ of toilets and sinks. The previous two stages had been paid on the day they were completed. “Why the change?” I asked Rod. That’s the way we do it,” he said. “We’ll that’s not what we agreed on,” I answered. “I’ll have the cash in my pocket. I’ll show it to you when you arrive. I’ll even give you half up front, but I want to see the toilets flush and feel the water get hot before you get the last part.” I said. “Nope,” Rod answered, “all or nothing.” “Then I guess you’re not going to finish my job,” I said. The next day I called BK plumbing in Port Charlotte and talked to Bob Konig the owner. I never, met or talked to Bob before that call. “You live on Bangsberg Road?” Bob said, “I grew up on Bangsberg. I used to live at 210,” he told me - 210 was the house directly across the street from ours. To make a long story short, Bob bailed us out. The next day he sent over a couple of plumbers and they got to work. A wall had to be cut open to fix a problem. One toilet was roughed in too close to the wall and the flange had to be moved to make it fit. The stub for the hose fitting on the upstairs deck was too short to solder. I called Jack to talk with him about the problems, but he never returned my call. I didn’t get it until a couple of days later when another plumber shed some light on the situation. “They took their money out of the ‘front end’ of your job,” he said. “They might not have wanted to finish your job. They might have wanted you to refuse to pay them up front so they didn’t have to come back.” Maybe, I thought, but I didn’t want to believe that. On the brighter side, there was a lot of good stuff last month. On any job, once the drywall is done things usually pick up


September 2006

and a plumbing problem I still donʼt understand

speed. Ours was no different. Jimmy Fry and his Cabinets Plus team got the kitchen and bathrooms looking great. Everything came out just as planned and their installer, Dave, went an extra mile fitting the custom top crown moulding that took the cabinets right to the ceiling. Next, the corian guys came to do the tops. At first there was a little glitch with the kitchen top but after a trip back to the

factory it went on and looked great. They used a special vacuum clamp to draw the countertop sections together, literally seamlessly – an interesting procedure if you like building. In the baths we used corian tops as well so the sinks took a special overflow connection but once we got that worked out all was well. While Jimmy’s cabinet guys were working in one part of the house, David Carter showed up to do the tile work. David was a referral from my friend Ralph Allen’s daughter Jan. Thank you, Jan. David was great. He and I talked fishing on an off throughout the week he worked on our house. David’s a tournament angler, and a life long Florida boy who grew up doing tile work. I don’t know enough details of the tile business to tell you the nuances of what David did, but when David was done it all came together square. Showers, floors, walls, the laundry room. A few days later we went to Seahorse flooring in Murdock and bought some Impregnator 511 sealer and sealed all the tile and grout. You wipe it on and buff

it off with a clean towel. Do this if you have new tile. Next up was the downstairs wood floor. We had wood in the old house and we wanted wood not tile in the new house as well. We searched around see facing page

COUNTER CLOCKWISE, FROM THE TOP: The kitchen looks good but the range is missing some parts and doesnʼt work. The vacuum device used to pull the Corian countertop sections together and make an invisible seam. FLOORING: MVP undercoat is applied to the floor FLOORING: Wood going down in the family room FLOORING: Wood going down in the hall Gutter work The new rain barrel was full the first day David Carter doing tile work in the master bath.

September 2006

`House continued and found carburized bamboo at Lumber Liquidators in Fort Myers. This is not the soft dentable bamboo you have seen before. This stuff is like ironwood bamboo. It’s 100 percent wood all the way through. You can refinish it with a sander. It has a 30 year warrantee, it looks great and it’s hard as a rock. I took a piece and dropped it into the pool. It sank. I left it there for two days and laid it out in the sun for another day and a half. It stayed just as flat as it was before I submerged it. Lumber Liquidators turned us on to Keith Cheshire a wood floor installer who works with them. Keith showed up with a trailer emblazoned with a big scuba flag. Again we had something in common with one of our tradesman. First, Keith and his crew troweled on a coat of MVP (moisture vapor protector) a grey rubbery substance. They let it dry for a day and then came back to set the wood in adhesive applied over the MVP. MVP protects against not only moisture but it also gives the floor a little ‘flex room’ if there are cracks in the concrete. Keith’s guys worked on the wood for three days kicking and ratcheting it together to make the seams tight and the lines straight. We love the way it turned out and I love the feel of the wood under my feet. We got our appliances from Bill Smith in Port Charlotte, but after unpacking them I wasn’t impressed. The range had a crumpled side panel, the hood was missing parts and two holes for the trim screws weren’t tapped for the threaded nuts. The refrigerator had a broken tab on one shelf and the doors didn’t line up right. When Amerigas came to hook up the range they couldn’t because the burner tops were missing. I called to talk to our salesman and he wasn’t working there any more. Our dishwasher however seems to be fine. After the floor went down, next came the baseboard. My friend Butch Blankenship, local sailor, husband of Roz (who runs the Port Charlotte West Marine store) and our neighbor down the block, set up his miter saw in my garage and cut the baseboard and trim. Butch is a finish carpenter by trade, and everything including the 22.5 degree sides on the rounded corners came out great. Thanks Butch. We were ready to move in. I thought I had what we needed; an elevation survey and a termite treatment certificate. I was wrong, there was more. We needed to post a $1000 right of way approval bond. A guy came out and surveyed the swale. He marked elevations in the street and drove 4 stakes

Water LIFE

into the swale indicating how much we had to dig out to be approved.“Have you seen the tree lady yet?” the right of way inspector asked. Tree lady? “She surveys your property to see if you have enough trees.” He got in his truck and left. My neighbor arrived a few minutes later. He drove right over two of the stakes the right of way inspector had just put in. The tree lady told me I didn’t have have enough of what the state says are the ‘right kind’ of trees. We either plant more trees or pay $500. There’s not much room for discussion. Unlike the right of way which is a bond (you get your bond money back when the work is done) the tree money is what they call a ‘buy out.’ (you say good by to your money and get out) Some people call it it ‘tree extortion,’ but without $500 or 5 trees with 2-inch trunks measured 16 inches above the ground, we can’t move in. We have more trees on our property now than we did before Charley (Unfortunately most of them are palms which don’t count for squat in Florida) We even removed an invasive Brazilian Pepper tree after Charley, but that didn’t matter either. It’s one of those loopholes of society that catches up the weary and the dowentrodden like us. Because of an act of God and because we lost our house in that storm and we are having to rebuild at great expense, we are now also being penalized for not having had the right trees on our lot before the storm.Too bad pay the money. Nothing got blown away. Same number of trees now than before. Say goodbye to $500. You’d think that hurricane rebuilds would be exempt from the tree ‘penalty,’ but that’s not so. “You need five trees,” the tree lady told me. Southern trees like oak, mangrove or myrtle. “I’m allergic to myrtle,” I told her. She didn’t laugh. So right now fifteen hundred stands between us and nirvanna and it still isn’t over. This series of reports on the construction of our new house is winding down. We’ve got some interesting details left to highlite so look for another one or two installments in the coming months. Thanks to everyone for your support and all the encouraging words along the way. And to Jack the plumber, if you’re reading this, please give me a call. I really would like to talk to you.


Page 15

Black Salty Page 16

S t aff R eport The Black Salty baitfish is specially bred and pond-raised by I.F. Anderson Farms, Inc., a 50-year-old bait hatchery located in Lonoke, Arkansas. I.F. Anderson biologists and staff utilize a proprietary, patent-pending process that enables the Black Salty to stay alive on the hook in saltwater for up to 1-1/2 hours. On the average, inshore-size Black Salty baitfish measure from 2-1/2 to 3 inches long, with approximately 30 fish to a pound. Offshore Black Saltys measure around 4 to 4-1/2 inches, with roughly 15 fish per pound. Extensive field testing has proven both sizes to be extremely effective on a broad variety of gamefish. Inshore or offshore, anglers can cover most all bases by utilizing one of several popular terminal rigging methods. With all of these, it is standard procedure to hook the Black Salty through the body, below the rear of the dorsal fin and immediately above the backbone. Occasionally, fishermen hook the Black Salty through the lips or eye sockets, particularly when bottom-fishing inshore baits for flounder or drifting

Water LIFE


September 2006

These balck saltys arrived in Port Charlotte in this oxygenated bag, packed in an insulated box and accompanied by a pouch of dry ice.

and trolling offshore baits for king mackerel and other surface species. Many striped bass anglers, both freshwater and saltwater, also prefer through-the-eye-

socket hook placement in order to enhance proper bait "tracking." Fish hooked through the eye socket don’t last as long.

"Freelining" is just that, simply fishing a Black Salty baitfish without a weight. This setup works extremely well around the mangroves. Inshore, particu-

Water LIFE

September 2006

Note the hole in this Black Saltyʼs back. Heʼs had two days of being on the hook.

larly near structure, freelining is the best way to probe without hanging up and losing tackle. Inshore, the Black Salty is deadly on speckled trout, redfish, flounder, black drum, gafftop catfish, Spanish mackerel and a broad variety of sharks and other incidental species. Offshore-size Black Salty baitfish account for all the popular surface species, including king mackerel, cobia, dorado and bonito, along with red snapper, grouper, amberjack, yellowfin and blackfin tuna and wahoo. In freshwater, the Black Salty has

been proven extremely effective for striped bass, hybrid stripers, largemouth bass and virtually all species of catfish. Catfish anglers after large yellow cats (a.k.a. "ops" or "flatheads") and big blue cats, selectively target trophy-size fish with offshore-size Black Salty baitfish. These baits are supposedly also irresistible when sight-cast to cobia, and make superb tarpon bait as well. The company’s website is Editor notes: Next month weʼll have photographs and a report on fishing in Charlotte Harbor using the Black Salty baitfish


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None the worse for wear, these black salty fish take up residence in an outdoor tank

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Page 17

4418 North Shore Dr. Harbor front H This completely remodouse! eled 2/2 pool home is located directly on Charlotte Harbor and the breathtaking view is unsurpassable. Sit by your pool and enjoy a Florida sunset every evening. A new dock will be installed at this price. Call me today for more details on this one of a kind deal. MLS# 622782 $990,000

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Page 18

Water LIFE

Area Real Estate News


PROVIDED BY: Dave & Marlene Hofer RE/MAX Harbor Realty (941) 575-3777 Recent area news i tems : Recent area news items: 1. Sara Devos was asked to resign from Charlotte County Board seat leaving Jeb Bush with the responsibility of assigning a replacement for the remaining 27 months of her term. 2. Charlotte County presented a preliminary design plan to the public for the new $16.5 Million event center to be built on the former Punta Gorda site overlooking the Peace River. Punta Gorda city leaders are seeking an opportunity to comment on the design. Because it is a County, not City, building their advice and opinion may not have much impact on the final decision. 3. Charlotte County and City of Punta Gorda are both attempting to improve turnaround time of construction permitting. Rather than cutting back on excessive permitting requirements, contractors can now pay an extra 25% fee to obtain quicker service. And who says Floridians couldn't learn from the way things are done in Chicago? 4. Charlotte County Board rolled back proposed MSBU fees. More than 63,000 lots in Port Charlotte will pay $57 each rather than the $220 proposed. 8,651 Deep Creek owners will pay only $68 rather than the $473 proposed by commissioners. After the heated open hearings, County Commissioner Tom D'Aprile suggested replacing having all county taxpayers kick in a flat $200 to pay for the myriad of MSBU projects that have for so long been neglected. This may be a first step toward consolidating the largely ineffectual and inconsistent method of public improvement construction and maintenance. Most taxpayers resist paying to pave roads in neighborhoods where their own residents have chosen not to do so. The time is approaching for a county wide MSBU that can see and manage the big picture of modern public infrastructure. 5. The Tampa Bay Devil Ray baseball club is offering to lease the Charlotte County Stadium for its spring training schedule. Oh, as an inducement to draw this franchise personnel and fans for spring training to fill our unavailable hotel rooms and overcrowded restaurants, they would like taxpayers to pony up $30 Million. To some that $450K annual rent payment would appear to be an adequate return on investment. 6. Joe Suriel abandoned his "condotel" concept for the Harbor Inn site. He is now seeking to build 114 luxury condos and a 90 room hotel on the old Holiday Inn site. Public support seems to be generally favorable. He will now need to presell 80 units from blueprints to obtain necessary financing before turning this vision into reality. 7. The Windover Group is planning

September 2006

to build a 25 unit affordable housing complex called Charleston Cay in Charlotte Harbor. It will also be developing Bella Via condos aimed at first time homebuyers on a 42 acre site in the same area. 8. The State of Florida closed on it's purchase of Babcock Ranch. It paid $351 Million for 73,341 acres. 9. In Punta Gorda, the Perfect Caper Restaurant closed. The Swiss Chocolate Shop opened. The Wal-Mart Super store at Kings Highway-I-75 interchange will open shortly with its 204,000 sf of retail space. 10. To no one's surprise, the Punta Gorda City Council was advised that there is no legal way to speed up the development of City Marketplace. Incentives like real estate tax rollbacks utility and impact fee waivers might be tried next instead of threats. 11. GSR Capital was turned down on its application to build 325 condos and townhouses on the former Wildflower Golf Club site. 12. FGCU is still searching for a second needle in a haystack. A Charlotte County property owner with 150 contiguous acres of land and $5 Million in cash AND a desire to give it all away to this state university. 13. Work on Laishley Park Marina has begun. The Marina at Fisherman's Village should be open this fall after a 3 year haitus. The redesigned marina will offer 142 boat slips. 31 for transient users, 98 on lease. Other Tidbits: The State of Florida is pursuing the possibility of setting up a state run joint underwriting association for commercial insurance. This should fill a crippling void that is now threatening economic growth in Florida. Census Bureau revealed that Charlotte County population increased by 13,000 between 2000 and 2005 to 154,000. Sarasota County grew by 36K to 366K. Charlotte County led all Florida counties with an average age of 53. Sales Statistics: Median lot prices fell again in July. Median prices are now 38% below last year. Upper bracket home sales remained quiet. Overall median prices remain flat with a year ago mostly because of a mix shift to newer homes by builders being pumped out at aggressive prices. Condominium sales remained weak with sales coming only with significant price reductions. Inventories appear to be stabilizing because just as many listings are expiring unsold as new listings are coming on. These statistics are intended to assist in analyzing trends in supply and demand and not to indicate specific market values. Ending inventory is not always beginning inventory plus listings minus sales since many pending listings are held over from month to month, some listings expire and are

September 2006

Water LIFE

Capt. Marc Miller sends this note: Thought you might be interested in seeing this redfish. Its pretty obvious to me it was hit by a prop. Capt. David Stephens and I were on a recent outing when David caught this injured fish. It fought hard on the hook and swam away quickly when David released it.


Page 19

Tarpon: One Bridge Too Far

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Page 20

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S t aff R eport ‘Fish’ as his friends call him is Tom Fisher a third generation local fisherman who has been running recreational fishing trips for years. Last week I got a call from Robert at Fishin' Franks: “‘Fish’ has a big tarpon on at Spring Lake. 130 maybe 150 pounds,” Robert added. A fish that big in August in the lake was an oddity. I called Tom’s cell phone and talked to him. “That’s right, that’s right, had it on for about an hour already,” Tom told me. I grabbed a camera and headed over to Spring Lake, a mile away. When I got to the lake I called Tom again and after locating him and driving to the other side of the water Tom worked the fish around and then moved his boat in until he could angle up to a seawall. I jumped aboard, all the time angler John Oaks keeping the fish on with a loosened drag. I climbed up into the tower, John cranked the drag back down and the fight was back on. From the beginning I thought the fish was tired, watching it surface and submerge slowly made me even more sure. He’s getting tired I said and Tom and John laughed. We said that an hour ago, John said. This was a big strong lazy fish. It wasn’t tired, it was just moving

slow. Before I arrived the fish had passed under the Edgewater Drive bridge twice, once on the way out – almost to the Beach Complex – and then again when she swam all the way back . John traded drag with the fish for about twenty minutes before she took us out under the bridge for a third time. This time the fish continued towards the open water, but then she zig-zagged and cut behind one of the little mangrove islands in only a foot or two of water. Tom tried to divert here, stamping his feet on the deck, and rattling hatch covers. He pointed to John to hold the rod just this particular way or that. John wasa 12 year vetran of tarpon fishing. She’ll be number 47, John said, optimistically, early on, but the fish kept swimming. There were pods of juvenile tarpon in Spring Lake that day, nothing unusual about that. John’s fish stayed out in the middle of the canal. Mostly because of Tom’s directing and a lot of artful angling by John. Every time the fish would turn on a heading towards a dock or a shallow bank they’d angle it back into open water. The art is in the angling with one of these big fish, not letting it have its way and get too close to a piling or a treelined shore

where it can break itself off. This fish seemed content with being in the deeper water in the middle anyway. Whenever a pod of the smaller tarpon showed themselves, rolling 15 or 20 yards away, John’s fish would change direction and head for them. Security in numbers, no doubt, we reasoned. The fish turned, slowly, and headed back under the bridge. Slowly the fish worked its way around the perimeter of east spring lake and then headed out under the Edgewater bridge again. This time the fish just went down stream. The tide was going out and the fish was following it. We almost made it back to the beach complex before, for no apparent reason, the tarpon reversed course yet again and headed back for the bridge. In all the fish swam under the Edgewater bridge five times before finally going to the bottom of the inland side of the lake and breaking the leader. Two hours and forty five minutes into the fight and it was over. There is a certain quiet that comes over the boat when a nice fish gets away. It’s like everyone aboard is afraid to be the first one to speak. This time was no exception. Tom broke the silence this time. Lets go get some lunch.

September 2006


Sometimes Unsubstanciated ... but often true!

Charlotte Harbor FISHING GUIDES Water LIFE

Page 21



Computer generated artistʼs rendering

1000 passenger jet looks like a cow-nosed ray Boeing is allegedly preparing a jet that could reshape the air travel industry. The radical ʻBlended Wingʼ design has been developed by Boeing in cooperation with the NASA Langley Research Center. The mammoth plane will have a wing span of 265 feet compared to the 747's 211 feet, and is designed to fit within the newly created terminals designed for the 555 seat Airbus A380, which is 262 feet wide. The new 797 is reportedly a direct response to the Airbus A380 which has racked up 159 orders, but has not flown passengers. There are several big advantages to the blended wing design, the most important being the lift to drag ratio which is expected to increase by an amazing 50%, with overall weight reduced by 25%, High body rigidity is another key factor

in blended wing aircraft. It reduces turbulence and creates less stress on the air frame which adds to efficiency, giving the 797 a tremendous 8800 nautical mile range with its 1000 passengers flying comfortably at mach .88 or 654 mph The date for introduction is unannounced.

Red Cup Brett Phillips and Mike Patterson of Rockport, Texas stuck with their game plan for three days and walked off with the $40,000 top prize in the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup presented by Frogg Toggs at Port Aransas, Texas. They weighed in two keepers totaling 14.11 pounds to outdistance the field by two pounds.


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Placida Queen The local head boat which recently underwent a major refurbishment has reportedly been sold to a local captain. The Queen will continue to operate out of Placida.

Texas Twister puts a swivel on a bass hook for inshore fishermen Staff Report This combination prevents line twist, the manufacturer, a Fort Lauderdale company, says. The Swivel / Hook Combination allows a more natural presentation of bait upon

retrieval and eliminates a weak link at the hook. The sharp edge where the eyelet meets the shank will not cut the line. The rig can be used with any style or brand of artificial or live bait .

Shown here, two Texas Twisters have baits are rigged together, for a different presentation. This rig gives the impression of one bait chasing another.

Water LIFE

Page 22

DIVING: The St Pete Open

Spearfishing Tourney

John Hermes with the winning lobster Far Right author and friend with lobsters caught in 68 feet of water outside of Stump Pass





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By Adam Wi l son Water LIFE Diving Did a lot of scouting in the weeks leading up to the 2006 St. Pete Open – the worlds largest spearfishing tournament held August 19). We started with our deeper wrecks and ledges out beyond 100 feet, some days covering as many as 150 miles round trip. The Stoney Point, the Fantastico and the Bayronto all have at least one thing in common, an inordinate amount of monstrous Goliath grouper. These are not babies, we're talking swallow-you-whole, 300 pound-plus fish. We counted at least 50 animals on each wreck, with the Fantastico holding what looked to be almost double that! Maybe we're getting close to a limited harvest. Visibility beyond the 60 foot depths has been exceptional, especially for this time of year, but as you get

closer to the passes the viz quickly reduces to that of a strong pitcher of iced tea. There has also been a lot of small, acre sized, patches of red tide hovering between Venice inlet and Boca Grande pass out to 50 feet. The last week before the tournament we decided to check on one of our proven trophy spots to see who was home. It's a patch of hard bottom mixed with soft corals and sea fans in 105 feet of water with very small 6to12-inch ledges. This spot consistently holds large lobsters and this day was no exception. The huge antennas were apparent from 40 feet off the bottom. I guessed the weight of this guy to be 7 or 8 pounds. It was hard to leave him there, but with the tournament only a few days away, I knew where he lived and I'd be back.

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September 2006

After 6 excruciatingly long days it was finally time for this bug to bring home the glass trophy (and the $1,000 prize for 1st place lobster). Visions of garlic butter lobster chunks danced through my mind on the descent. Twenty feet from the bottom and what's this? Tropical fish darting in and out of my previously occupied lobster condo. He was gone, and the disappointment dropped my heart into my fins. But why was the underside of the ledge moving? It was a mass migration of 3 dozen shovelnose lobsters! Had these little 1-2 pound bulldozers chased out their big brother? I pondered the question as I casually filled my catch bag with 12 tasty little slippers. There is no season, bag or size limit on shovelnose lobsters. The first place lobster came in at 7.6 pounds. Oddly enough, due to tough grouper competition and a lack of lobster entries, my humble 1.6 pounder earned me a pick off the prize table ahead of guys with 20 pound groupers and 40 pound amberjacks. I selected a $100 pelican case for protecting my underwater flashlight!

Water LIFE


Page 23

Tournament results: Grouper 78.84# AJ 94.94# Hogfish 16.22# Snapper 16.98# Cobia 30.24# Sheepshead 11.64# (biggest I've ever seen)

A few days later we got out to 140+'. We dove on a rubble pile my buddy has been fishing with excellent results for over a year – just a small pile of large culverts but we saw 2 huge black grouper on the drop. I launched a shaft into an easy 50-plus pounder, he shook it like nothing and was gone ( it was a long shot and not a fatal wound, the spear barely penetrated his tissue. We also saw one pushing 100 pounds, it happened all so fast but we did manage to grab some slippers and gags. Right: Some of the ʻbulldozerʼ lobsters top a pile of fish

Above: the John Schmidt with the winning 78.84 poundgrouper and above left, the winning 11.4 pound sheepshead

Water LIFE

Page 24

Mud Minnow

Screaming Reels By Capt. Andrew Medi na Water LIFE Charl otte Harbor

As a kid growing up in Charlotte County, I fished mostly fresh water systems. I knew every inch of my neighborhood canals, and a couple inches of some area lakes that required sneaking my way under barb wire cattle fences. This is when I learned that fishing is what I wanted to do. You got to take baby steps. I remember all the backlashes in my first bait-caster. I remember riding my bike about 5 miles, to JB Bradshaw’s tackle store, to buy a bag of electric-blue Culprit worms. Lot of things have changed since then. The guys I grew up watching on TV, the Roland Martins and such, I now fish against them in tourneys. And all

the back lashes in the bait casters, are GONE! Culprit/Riptide baits are still a major part of my professional redfish goal. Over the years, bait companies have improved 110-percent, coming up with scents, flavor-enhanced baits, and baits of every color, shape and size. Riptide/Culprit has stepped up its game throughout the years, this year being no different than the rest. This year’s introduction of Riptides hot new baits offers improvements in color to their shrimp and their realistic shrimp is now shrimp flavored. It is available in Glow with a Chartreuse tail, and Root Beer with a glow tail. These two baits have produced snook after snook for me. I’ve used these baits from the Keys to South Padre, Texas with great results on redfish, rigged Texas style, or under a popping cork. But be warned, if your fishing this shrimp on a flat you just may get tired catching a gazillion trout, trout do love this bait. Along with their ‘mullets’, Riptide is now producing a split-tail grub, called the Conley which is second to none. The lure comes in a number of colors just like the shrimp, but it’s all about

the tail. I believe the ripplling effect of this tail gives off a enough vibration that a fish can find this bait in the muddiest of Charlotte Harbor waters. Add some glow color and some chartreuse and you have a plastic bait made for dark waters. I fish this bait using the new Riptide screw lock jig head. The people at Riptide have really done their homework on these jig heads. Their hooks are incredibly strong – we’re talking heavy metal, I never worry about one straightening out. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but if it does, it’s big. Riptide has also incorporated a screw lock system so your bait don’t ride down the hook, and for those who fished with me before, say bye-bye to the screen spline. The most innovative lure I have seen so far has to be the new Mud Minnow. The color choices for this bait are mindboggling and since it depends on water color, they have a ton of choice colors available. The mud minnow is not like all the rest of the soft plastics on the market. It’s not a jerk bait, it’s almost a spitting image of a real minnow in the water. Getting a feel for how to work this

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September 2006


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jig, I noticed the action when you let slack in the line. With the hook being more towards the center of the bait-like head. It will dive fast towards the bottom. Hitting the bottom and creating a mud ‘poof.’ When pulled back tight it actually looked like it was trying to escape the bottom. One thing I can say: this is a deadly lure when worked under mangroves, or docks. Snook and trout will not leave this lifelike plastic alone. If the body gets mangled, no fear. The bait comes with extra bodies and has a hook gap in the fin so you don’t dig the plastic up trying to sew the hook through. The new colors and styles from Riptide/Culprit are second to none. But don’t just be reader, be a believer, pick up some and give them a try. Riptide/Culprit lures are available at most tackle stores. Give me call, I will be happy to tell you what colors are working or where you can purchase some. If you’re online you can go to to check out all the products available. Be safe on the water, and just have fun. Capt. Andrew Medina can be reached at

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September 2006

Water LIFE


Should anglers target Goliath grouper? FWC says: ʻpractice is not appropriate or ethical.ʼ Editor Notes: Reader Ken Taylor shared this communication he recently had with the FWC

Dear FWC: I thought it was illegal to even "land" a Goliath Grouper because it is a state and federally protected species and is listed as such in the recreational regulations for the State of Florida. I've seen many television fishing shows targeting these fish and was wondering what the FWC position on this is? Dear Mr Tayl or: Thank you for your inquiry to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Recent research indicates that goliath grouper populations are increasing and are expanding into their historical geographic range. The regulations for Goliath grouper only prohibit the ‘harvest, possession, or landing’ of the species. There is nothing that prohibits one from targeting the species, nor is there a ‘harassment’ provision in the rule. "Harvest", means the catching or taking of a fish by any means whatsoever, followed by a reduction of such fish to pos-

session. Fish that are caught but immediately returned to the water free, alive, and unharmed, are not considered to be harvested. In addition, temporary possession of a fish for the purpose of measuring it to determine compliance with size requirements shall not constitute harvesting such fish, provided that it is measured immediately after taking, and immediately returned to the water free, alive, and unharmed if under/over sized or caught during a closed season. The FWC currently has no official position about the targeting of these species except to say that while the practice of targeting a prohibited species, such as goliath grouper, is not necessarily in violation of regulations, the practice is not appropriate or ethical. With any catch and release fishery there is an associated release mortality and some portion of the goliath groupers caught and subsequently released would be expected to not survive. In regard to Goliath Grouper, because it is illegal to possess them, there is no reason to measure them and they should be returned to the water expeditiously. We hope this information assists with your inquiry.

Page 25

A Goliath Grouper is landed and released alive at Boca Grande beach.

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September 2006

Water LIFE

Englewood Kidʼs Fishing Camp By Capt Ron Bl ago Water LIFE Senior Staff I had a great time running the Kid’s Fishing Camp this year. It was the best ever. We took 15 kids fishing each day at various locations around Englewood and I’m happy to report that even with reports of red tide, all the kids caught plenty of fish every place we went. Some of the highlights were the legal size snook that was caught at Englewood Beach, a goliath grouper that was caught at the Tom Adams fishing pier and, best of all, a large tarpon that was hooked within sight of the Indian Mounds Boat Ramp. I want to thank all the people that called and volunteered their boats to take these kid fishing. I want to apologize to all the people that called and left messages for me that I never returned. All the volunteers basically just overwhelmed me. I received calls from as far south as Cape Coral and as far north as Sarasota. I keep forgetting how widely read this publication is. Special thanks to the captains who showed up at Indian Mound boat ramp to take the kids out on Lemon Bay. My good friends Bob and Carol Szymanski who always help out with the kids. Ben Kittrell, past president of the Englewood CCA who I called at the last minute.

Capt Dan Bourcier of DJB Charters, a local guide (941-468-5890) who gave up a day’s work to take the kids fishing. Chuck Lang my good neighbor who seemed to have as much fun as the kids did. Gary ‘the snookman’ Hoffman former chairman of the Charlotte Co. Marine Advisory Commission, and Darrell Harper, who’s daughter Scotti is in my Tae Kwon Do class at the Sports Complex. Darrel had the biggest and nicest boat of the bunch ... even I wanted to go fishing on it. In every fishing camp there is always the smallest kid and this year it was 7 year old Bryce Cremeens who was definitely bait sized. He was so small that I suspected someone was fibbing about his age; but his mother vouched for him so I figured he was legal size. I had a talk with him and explained that I expected him to be careful and keep up with the others. When I talk to someone that young I always wonder if I’m getting through the pop tarts, coco puffs and cartoons and into the brain; but he promised to do his best. On the last day of the camp I took him and two other of the size-challenged kids on my boat. I guess Bryce must have listened to what I told him because he caught the first redfish, the most redfish and the biggest redfish – a 27 inch


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Lizzardfish were among the unexpected species caught at this yearʼs Kidʼs Fishing Camp

monster. I helped him put the fish in the boat so he could get a picture. He said his grandfather would never believe he caught such a big fish unless he could show him a picture. Well Bryce had his fish, got his picture and judging from the smile on his face, had a good memory that will last a lifetime. Right then and there I knew in spite of all the work and all the hassles I’m going to do the Kids Fishing Camp again next year – God willing. You have a thousand reasons not to go fishing this month. Red tide, dark

water, hot weather, hot water, hurricanes and just plain lack of ambition; but snook season opened September 1. Big snook are everywhere. On the beaches, in the passes, in the bays and up the creeks. You can fish day or night and do good. Remember there are new rules this season. Snook have to be no less than 27 inches long but you measure the length of the fish by pinching the tail together. Good Luck! Capt Ron can be reached for fishing information or charters at: 474-3474

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Water LIFE


September 2006

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Local History Revisited Water LIFE

September 2006

By Michael Heller Water LIFE Publisher Wat er LIFE S t aff R eport This story began around 1900 when a young Yale law student named Cameron Waterman got tired of rowing to his favorite fishing area at Spruce Harbor on Lake Superior and decided to do something about it. His first crude efforts at propelling the boat by an internal combustion engine were directed toward an air cooled bicycle motor that he mounted on the stern. Waterman theorized that if the bike chain could turn the wheel it could turn a propeller. This worked well, but in winter tests recorded on the Detroit river the chain was easily knocked off the lower sprocket, presumably by ice. Enter Waterman's friend George Thrall, owner of a Detroit boiler factory. George took Waterman's idea and adapted a drive shaft and a bevel gear arrangement to it. There had been previous

boat motor designs dating back to 1892 when William Steinway and Gottfried Daimler of Germany showed their gasoline model to the United States. The first gasoline model auxilary boat motor made in the United States was introduced 1896 by the American Motor Company, but only 25 units were produced. Then in 1905 commercial production of the Waterman ‘Porto-Motor’ was begun. Waterman soon coined the name ‘Outboard Motor,’ and a production run that lasted almost 15 years began. Around the same time that the two horsepower Waterman was gaining in popularity a young boy named Robert Scott was training in mechanics at an orphanage in Moose Heart Illinois. There is little doubt the Waterman outboard motor caught Robert Scott’s attention. In the following years Robert Scott graduated from the orphanage, took work as a mechanic and soon after was mar-

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ried. Then in 1944 Robert Scott lost his leg in an industrial accident. Out of work and recuperating, Scott's mind turned to tinkering. He set up a workshop in an old chicken coop behind his house, built a large tank, and filled it with water. It was then that Scott began his work with outboard motors. Robert had a son Robert Junior and a daughter Nancy Lee. By 1945 Scott had moved out of the tiny chicken coop to his own storefront in Wheeling Ill. The sign outside his new business read: "Bob's Outboard Motor Shop." The shop was a link in a chain of dealerships affiliated with Karl Kiekhaefer, the father of Mercury Marine. Sometime around 1950 one of Scott's customers came into the shop with an original Waterman motor which the customer had purchased new. The customer had tried to fit the motor to a boat and make it run, but the motor would not start. Frustrated, he gave the motor to Scott. Scott saw the old Waterman as ‘historic memoribilia’ and put it on display at his shop. Scott's teenage daughter Nancy worked at the shop. She had developed a liking for mechanical things. Her father had bought several canvas covered hydroplanes from an Amish boat builder in nearby Pennsylvania and was sponsoring them in the local boat races. “Mercury supported the program. Dad let all his mechanics race, and I wanted to race too. I wasn't going to be left out," Nancy said. Mercury jumped in and helped Nancy set up her own boat. "I was one of three women in racing." Nancy competed in A, B and D hydroplane class, and was also the first woman at the Kiekhaefer/Mercury mechanic’s school. “I didn't weigh enough. I was so light my dad had to put lead weights in my boat to make it heavy enough for me to compete in. In 1952 Robert Scott packed up his tools, boxed up the old motor, and moved his family to Englewood, where he opened Scott's Outboards.

Robert continued to support his daughter in her boat racing career. “There wasn't much to do in Englewood back then,” Nancy said. One of the other early southwest Florida marine businesses was, Kiekhaefer/Mercury, which had opened a facility on Siesta Key, in 1947. Karl Kiekhaefer saw the advantage of year-round testing and racing in the Florida climate, and he also saw the potential for a year round market for his outboard motors. The relationship between Kiekhaefer Corporation and Scott flourished. Nancy raced under the Mercury colors both in Englewood and around the growing Florida outboard circuit. Robert was the mechanic. One day Mercury learned about the old Waterman motor and borrowed it from Scott to for a series of promotional photographs for the 1955 Chicago boat show. The years rolled by, the new Kiekhaefer/Mercury Florida program grew and in 1971 Mercury moved their Florida testing facility to Placida, and grew some more. During that move someone in the Mercury facility packed up a bunch of old photographs and stored them away in a box in the attic at the Placida site. In 1995 Robert Scott passed away and his daughter Nancy Scott, now Nancy Wille was working for the Sun Trust Bank. Nancy had packed away her old scrapbooks and racing memorabilia, and raised a family of her own. The old 1905 waterman outboard motor was wrapped up for safekeeping and put away in her son's Englewood home. Then fate stepped in, and some historic pieces of boating's almost forgotten past came back together again. First a friend of ours at

Mercuryʼs 1955 publicity photo

Mercury Marine, mailed a stack of old photographs to my office. The image of the old Waterman, taken for the 1955 Chicago Boat show was in the pile. We liked the photo and it ran in our publication. Nancy saw the picture and called. We met with Nancy and learned the Scott family history. She loaned us the photos that appear on this page and showed us, first hand, the old Waterman outboard motor – a little piece of boating history that resides in Englewood.

Nancy and the Waterman motor

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September Fishing Report Charlotte Harbor

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

S nook season just opened and September is always a relatively good month for them. I think the red tide will move them away from the beaches and up into the intracoastal. Where the red tide is not, snook will still be out near the passes and hanging on some of the near-shore wrecks. For some reason, probably the abundance of bait, all the PGI and Port Charlotte canals have held really good populations of small snook all this summer. Shore fishing for snook has been phenomenal at

Water LIFE


night Placida El Jobean even the 41 bridge has been producing fish in the 38 to 40 inch range. Now that snook season is open, people are starting to talk about big snook again. The snook baits of choice are Bombers, Rapalas, live shrimp, and sugar trout. They have all been working really well. The l i ve shri mp we get in the store are nice. The select size would be best for snook. Plenty of Shrimp deliveries are once Small Tarpon again becoming consistent and Weʼve been the shrimp are getting bigger blessed this season with an abunagain. It’s a sign summer is dance of small ending tarpon. Continued on

September 2006

September 2006


Water LIFE


Redfi sh will start schooling Septemberʼs Septemberʼs Target Target Species Species up this month and moving off the beaches. We’ll see bull reds in the passes, fish up to 30 pounds will be moving inshore. A lot of fish will be starting to school up. You’ll see them along both sides of the intracoastal where they will SNOOK are back in season SNAPPER are very numerous TARPON small fish are still REDFISH BIG REDS are in the lakes and canals coming in from offshore all over stage up first. Pine Island Sound, Boca Bayou, Whidden and Catfish Creeks – out on the flats there – do very well night fishing for bigger the early morning bite should be real reds at Stump Pass, Boca Grande or good. A top water plug like a Placida. Most of the fish caught there at MirroLure, a Zara Spook or a spoon for night will be oversized. a softer presentation, will be very proThere is an abundant mangrove ductive. For people who are patient, cutsnapper population this year. There bait – cut ladyfish or cut mullet – are have been mangroves in unusual places very good if you are fishing an area too. Ten to 15 inch mangroves on the Coming Oct 7 Sign Up Now! where the water is stained a little darker. flats in the sand holes and up under the Fish will be attracted by the scent in bushes. I’m not sure why, but it could Ji m at Fi shermen’s Edge still good. those conditions. Shore fishermen can be one of those good ‘cyclical’ years for Engl ewood: 697-7595 And there are still a lot mangrove snapper. I have had guys who had spectacular of tarpon, some still up in PGI and Port Charlotte canals have United States days lately. The guides are saying it’s the harbor, some scattered in very good numbers of nice sized snapCoast Guard Auxiliary, really good in the back country. But the bay and some nice ones per . Fish in the 1.5 to 2.0 pound range Flotilla 92, North Port then the newspaper puts a story on the have been coming from the have been caught in those canals recentfront page of the local section about red creeks in Englewood. Kids ly and this month they will be finishing ABC, America's Boating tide saying ‘stay away from the beach’ have been catching tarpon in their spawn on the new moon. The and now the place is dead. The red tide Buck Creek and Coral Class (A Condensed verpasses at Little Captiva, Gasparilla and is not that bad, you know. Creek. Gotfried Creek has sion of Boating Skills and Boca Grande has been holding a lot of All the spillways around have been had some 10 to 15 pound Seamanship, a 10 hour snapper lately. Ditto for the near shore loaded with snook. Even around the litfish lately. They’re fun on course). and offshore wrecks. tle creeks behind Gasparilla Marina there light tackle. Courses will be offered There will still be some tarpon have been some big fish caught. One There has been quite a bit Sept 11, 13, 19 & 20. around until the first or second cold guy had a 44 inch snook from back of S pani sh mackerel still front of the season, maybe the middle of Classes will be conducted at there and quite a few guys have been around. They were pushed October, and then they’ll move up into USCG Station 92 talking to me about catching snook on inside by the red tide and the rivers or offshore to migrate some7030 Chancellor Blvd, North Port their home docks at night. I’ve had now they are along the where else. D.O.A. Bait Busters and (Marina Park Boat Ramp) reports from the Boca Grande Bayou that Turtle Bay bar, way inside. ladyfish are the end-of-season tarpon snook fishing is good at night. It seems like we’ve been baits of choice. $35.00 / person Redfi sh are starting to school up catching mackerel all sumAnd finally there are still plenty of For registration or information big now. There are big trout, and mer. bl ackti ps and cobi a around. When contact Paul LeBlanc some really nice mangrove snapper. There is not much they leave we’ll be looking for the (941) 613-1266 A guy came in here with a 17 inch news offshore. Before Kings. snapper he got from one of the holes Ernesto there was Lemon Bay around the trestle at Placida. Fishing is some action, but it’s

United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 98, Port Charlotte,

ABC, America's Boating Class (A Condensed version of Boating Skills and Seamanship, a 10 hour course).

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. beginning September 12th and ending September 26th. Classes will be conducted at the new PGI Civic Center, 2001 Shreve St., Punta Gorda, Class includes a Harbor Orientation Tour and Waterway Watch Program.

$30.00 / person $40.00 / couple.

For registration or information contact Fred Counter

(941) 505-1290


n September 14: Introduction to Garmin GPS seminar is designed to help cruisers and anglers who have limited knowledge of GPS. Seating is limited, sign up early at West Marine or call (941) 6255002. n September 16: Flatsmasters Red Snook Challenge, Punta Gorda

n September 21: 6:30 pm Fall Flats Fishing seminar with DOA founder, Mark Nichols, and

Capt. Geoff Page. Seating is limited, sign up at West Marine or by calling 408-8288.

n October 7: Richest Redfish Challenge, benefit for Good Shepherd Day School, by Laishley Marine, at Fishermenʼs Village 639-3868 n October 28-29: Flatsmasters Championship Punta Gorda Send your events to:

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Very Good RIGHT NOW:

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September 2006

Water LIFE Sept 2006  

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