Reel Fishing

Dedication to the future of gamefish is a non-stop effort.

What to fish and how.

While giving a saltwater fly-fishing seminar at a fly shop in northeastern Pennsylvania this summer, I was asked this question, and it is one of the most frequently-asked questions I hear. Dave Keck, the store's owner, who I fished with for smallmouth bass on the Susquehanna River, five minutes from where we were in Berwick, Pa., was close to me and I asked Saltwater flies are varied and impressionistic, but matching a hatch is still important.him to get out his fly box. Some flies did not have stainless steel hooks, but the flies we selected were all effective patterns to use in the Tampa Bay area where I do most of my fishing. This applies to most areas of Florida as well. Minnow imitations were most prevalent with hook size appropriate for snook, redfish and speckled trout, which are the most predominant quarry most of the year. Colors were also consistent with patterns that either "match the hatch" of local baitfish, or even imitate shrimp or small crabs. If you believe, as I do, that presentation is more important than color and size, his fly box would give you a good start if you ventured south for a few days of R&R with your fly rod.

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Was the apparent increase of shark-on-tarpon attacks in spring 2014 an anomaly, or the new norm? Be it geography, demographics or a narrow gene pool, Key West, Fla. is known for unusual occurrences. Spring 2014 is no exception.

Around the island, the migrations of many aquatic species are in full swing, and none more eagerly awaited than the million member march of tarpon moving north, up from the Caribbean.

Two distinct species--Atlantic and Gulf--stimulated by rising water temperatures and the call to procreate, cross the straits of Florida in football-field-size schools. These silver-sided beasts, some in excess of two hundred pounds are historically greeted by large, hungry sharks.

The traveling tarpon’s first port of call are the channels, harbors and grass flats of the Florida Keys. From Key Largo to the Marquesas, world-class anglers also await the fish’s arrival armed with thousand-dollar fly rods alongside shrimp-tinted tourists on the fishing trip of their dreams.

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Courtesy of Fly and Light Tackle Angler

Hull shape determines hull slap; therefore it needs to be a factor in determining your boat purchase.Guidelines to follow before buying your flats boat.

In the rush to compete in the skinny water marketplace, some companies built boats too large, or too heavy, or too wide, or too noisy, or from a skinny water standpoint, an unworkable combination of some of the above. Another important genre of boats emerged from the larger designs, vessels that we now call "bay boats." And important improvements have since been made to true flats skiffs. If you're in the market for a boat that fishes skinny water really well, here are some things to keep in mind in your search for a flats skiff.

Stealth Is Job One

The shallower the water, the quieter that boat has to be. The slightest hull slap can send an edgy bonefish, redfish, striper, tarpon, permit or seatrout packing. If you can hear any noise from water making contact with the hull, you can bet that every fish in the vicinity registered it as a loud noise and/or vibration. Sound is amplified and travels faster under water. And since most gamefish experience a lot more fishing (and unrelated boating) pressure today than ever, it's easy to understand why they're getting a bit high strung.

So don't be surprised if any hull or cockpit boat noise makes fish in the shallows wary enough to stay just out of practical casting range (How do they know this?) or to simply not bite even if they don't flee. Also keep in mind that "shallow" is a term relative to the size of the fish. A 6-foot tarpon in three feet of water is every bit on edge as a bonefish in 12 inches.

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Registration is free, and you can win prizes just by participating. In an effort to bring more anglers into the data collection fold, the Snook & Gamefish Foundation is hosting a series of free 'virtual’ tournaments. Anglers across the country – and globe – are able to participate and potentially earn prizes just for participating.

YOU can participate in the next FREE events, which are scheduled for July 4-6. There will be both a fresh water tournament and an inshore tournament.

 

Designed to manage current tournaments as well as host new events that can focus on specific research needs, iAngler-Tournament has already successfully managed a tournament from the legendary Redbone series in the Florida Keys, and SGF hosted their own events throughout the month of June.

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Hart Stilwill loved tarpon. The concept of careful fish handling was unstudied 'back in the day,' but it is clear that he came to understand the need to protect gamefish. Glory of the Silver King, The Golden Age of Tarpon Fishing by Hart Stilwell, edited by Brandon D. Shuler, Ph.D

Tarpon capture an angler’s spirit like no other fish, and this edited collection of Stilwell’s essays in Glory of the Silver King (Texas A&M Press, 2011) impeccably captures a storied lifetime of angling.

Shuler’s introduction gives us more than just a hint of the literary power Stilwell held over his readers. The journey which leads to the publication of this book is worth the price of admission by itself. Shuler brings us to the fire at a fish camp where he first heard about the unpublished manuscripts and knew he had to get his eyes on them. The research that went into compiling and organizing the essays is clearly the trabajo de amor for Shuler.

Stillwell has a direct style of prose. His prologue blackens the dark greys and erases the lighter shades right away – “I tell a fishing story.” While that is certainly true, the magic of his stories is that it might not really matter that it is fishing. In this case, you get the idea that it would be just as fun to read if it were about engineering, or (god forbid) playing golf, so long as Stilwell’s hand is pushing the pen. As you read through chapter after chapter you come to realize that while Stilwell writes with a style that reads very easy, he does indeed color and shade his stories with sensational detail.

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 By MIKE HODGE
 

Tarpon on a fly is challenging and rewarding. Image from www.flyfishfortarpon.comSummer is almost here and the arrival of Florida’s suffocating heat means one thing if you’re a dedicated sight-fisherman.

Tarpon.

In a few weeks, many Florida flats will welcome the popular game fish.  And fly fishermen will be waiting. Some will struggle, muddling along with the hope that enough shots will yield a Kodak moment. Others --- albeit a small fraction of the long rod elitists --- will catch and land fish regularly.
The difference, quite often, comes down to casting. The better you can cast, the more fish you’ll catch. Period.
Below are a few tips to consider while preparing to dance with the Silver King.
 

Practice makes perfect.

Saltwater fly fishing is a skill, yet many anglers treat it as a hobby. They fish, but they don’t practice and if they practice, they don’t put in enough time to truly hone their craft.
“You have to practice,” Peter Kutzer, an Orvis casting instructor, said. “You don’t see golfers going out on courses without practicing and taking practice swings. They go to the driving range. They chip and putt to help with their short game. You have to practice your fly-casting game as well. Chasing tarpon is not a poor man’s sport. It’s tough. You’re going to be a lot more successful if you spend some time practicing.”
 

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Snook are prowling the beaches and can be fooled by those willing to log in the hours needed to learn the tricks, as demonstrated by angler Veronica Lane Ostarly. Photo: Andy TaskerNearly everyone agrees beach snook fishing on Florida’s West Coast has been slow the past few years. Few dispute that. Why is a matter of debate. Is it the weather? Is it the freeze of 2010, which clobbered nearly a third of the snook population? Or is it some unknown variable? Is it a combination of factors?

Perhaps the answer depends on...

“Location, location, location,” said Ron Taylor, a biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “Snook use the entire habitat. You may find snook today at John’s Pass. Those 10 snook may not be there tomorrow. They’re continuously moving.

“I’ve been doing this 34 years. Every day, there’s questions we don’t have answers for. To expect an answer why there are not snook on Caladesi Island on the 17th of July, that’s crazy. I will say this: There are areas that have certain characteristics that you can predict that snook will be there. Not today. Not tomorrow, but sometime during that season.”

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Chief FWRI snook scientist Ron Taylor  believes the carcass program might be the "most important part of the snook assessment procedures."

Attention recreational fishermen:

Next time you fillet a snook, don't just wrap the carcass in The News-Press and dump it in the trash.

Courtesy: News-Press.

Take it to a participating bait shop so scientists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg can use it for research.

  "Do you have life insurance?" said Ron Taylor, Florida's snook program coordinator. "I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts your insurance company has staff who do nothing but statistics and actuarial analysis. They can tell you to the day when you'll die, what you'll die of, how many children you have and how long they'll live. We do the same thing with snook."
In January 2010, the harvest of snook was closed in Florida after extremely cold weather dropped water temperatures into the 40s, and tens of thousands of snook died.

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David Conway (right) accepts a letter of recognition for his award winning efforts as an outdoor writer from SGF Director Capt. Mike Readling.David Conway, Managing Editor of Florida Sportsman Magazine, walked away from the Florida Outdoor Writers Association (FOWA) Excellence in Craft awards ceremony with both first and third place recognition in the conservation article category. Sandy Huff earned second place with an informative article about butterfly gardening that originally ran in Florida Gardening.

Conway, who has been writing for Florida Sportsman since 2001 and a full timer there since 2007, says outdoor writing is a natural fit for him, since he's been outdoors and writing all of his life. "I just found myself at a place about 10 years ago where I was getting published and paid." At the time, he was living in Key West - not a bad place to be for the angler immersed in the writing lifestyle.

Obviously, not everyone who "writes" becomes a professional writer, let alone an editor of one of the most prestigious outdoor periodicals in publication. Conway's ability to take complicated topics and distill them down to very readable chunks is a rare skill, and one that came in handy as he tackled the winning conservation article, "The Permit Zone" which ran in the April 2012 issue of Florida Sportsman Magazine.

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Come say Hi to your SGF volunteers! Feb 1 & 2 at the Lee County Civic Center. Hoorags, phone cases, X-Fish tickets, Ales for Anglers tickets, and more!Visit our booth Feb 1 & 2 at the Ft. Myers Florida Sportsman Expo, held at the Lee County Civic Center.

Come see the fabulous X-Fish microskiff, learn all about how the new and improved Angler Action Program can make you a better angler, chill out with some SGF brass, and browse the always amazing Florida Sportsman Expo.

SGF volunteers will be on hand to explain and demonstrate the Angler Action Program. The new look of the program highlights just how powerful the tool will be as your personal fishing logbook as well as an invaluable tool for fishery management, and habitat protection and improvement. "These Expo shows are a great opportunity for anglers to talk directly with an AAP expert, and that isThe "new look" AAP has a user friendly dashboard, allowing anglers to easily sort through their own fishing trips, view pictures, and better plan your future fishing trips. usually all it takes to bring a loyal new angler into the AAP family," says SGF Chairman Jim Bandy, who plans to be on hand for much of the show. "Our partnership with Florida Sportsman has always been one of our best ways to connect directly with anglers in Florida. We learn just as much from the anglers as they do from us. Personally I love to see the reaction of the public when they get their first real look at our X-Fish, too."

The X-Fish microskiff is a one of a kind fishing boat you have to see to believe. Light enough to toss onto your vehicle rooftop, it comes loaded with a custom built Tropic Trailer, plus a 2.5 hp motor, Frigid Rigid cooler, and plenty of other extras. A mere $15 donation nets an annual membership plus a chance to win the X-Fish. This baby will be raffled on March 29th at the Ales for Anglers bash - buy your tickets now!

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Hold the fish horizontally using both hands to support the weight, especially the big ones.Proper fish handling- A subject I have discussed for many years. Not every angler practices it, yet I never get anyone to show up to debate me publicly.

But I know the reason why. It impossible to deny that using the best possible handling techniques is easy to implement. And why wouldn’t people want to give a released fish the best possible chance of surviving the encounter?   

It is reasonable to easily have the best of both worlds: get your great photograph, and release the fish with the realistic expectation that it can survive post-release predation. That part -predation-  is something that is missed by a lot of anglers. It is a topic that I talked about regularly in better times, but three and a half years after the massive freeze-induced snook kill, every healthy fish that remains in the population is extremely important. The lessons are applicable to many species and the hope is that people are open-minded about evaluating their own techniques for all species they handle then release.

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Snook like this one, caught by Joelle Reynolds of Stuart, will be harder to find.Just about every summer for the past decade or more, anglers and guides who ply the Indian River Lagoon have prayed for drought. Drought means less discharge of fresh water from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie Estuary. Lower-than-normal rainfall means less chance of storm drains gushing, sewage treatment plants overflowing, and septic tanks leaking.

But summer 2013 has been anything but dry so far, and too much fresh water is only one of myriad factors that might be propelling the 156-mile lagoon toward ecological collapse.

“Unless they do something quick – like yesterday – this isn’t going to be a viable body of water,” Palm City fly-fishing guide Marcia Foosaner said. “It’s really heart-breaking. It was such a great area.

“I think this has hit the tipping point.”

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anglersurvey.com
Take the survey to help our fishing community's agencies and industry improve products and services.

For many years, Southwick Associates, has been helping the fishing community measure and accurately value fishing’s economic impacts.  Their staff of economics and statistics professionals is always ready with local, state, national and international information to help solve problems.  

Add you information to their survey pool in July and you will be giving back the Snook & Gamefish Foundation, and the whole fishing community. 

The July 2013 AnglerSurvey is ready for your participation!  Just click this link:  July Angler Survey

FIVE winners are randomly selected at the end of the month from those who complete the survey for a $100 gift certificate to the sporting goods retailer of your choice. Please tell a fellow angler to participate.

This survey is asking you about your May and June activities and purchases. We appreciate your participation which continues to provide information to help the outdoor industry and state agencies.

Capt Rhett Morris
What's unique about fishing in our area? photo courtesy Capt Rhett Morris, Beyond Borders Outfitters
The recent UF Workshops

Over the last 2 weeks, UF Fisheries Professor Kai Lorenzen and staff,  lured recreational and commercial anglers to stakeholder workshops in Sarasota, Punta Gorda and Ft. Myers.  The purpose was to gauge interest and potential for local fishing forums that would influence local fishing outcomes.
 
At the 3 initial workshops, anglers shared their perspectives, answering these questions: What is unique about fishing in your area?, What are the fishing issues in your area? Could a localized approach to fishing management make a difference in your area?   Anglers were predominantly recreational boat and shore,  with noted lack of representation from commercial and subsistence anglers.  Steps to broaden attendance will be taken before the next series of meetings.

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Recreational Anglers Deliver

study by Southwick and Associates
Recreational Fishing has a small impact on fish harvest and a relatively large affect on local economies, according to ASA's recent release.

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Additcitve Fishing producer Kevin McCabe shares insights about Addictive Fishing.Addictive Fishing producer Kevin McCabe shares his view from behind the camera.

Editor’s note: This interview is part of a series with Outdoor Hub’s featured video partners, and was originally run in the Outdoor Hub on April 5.

This week we are joined by Addictive Fishing producer Kevin McCabe in an interview about filming, fishing, and the industry in general. Kevin has been with Addictive Fishing since its inception and is the driving force behind the scenes to produce one of the longest-running and most successful shows in the business. Maintaining both a presence in online platforms like YouTube as well as television, Addictive Fishing aims to both exhilarate and educate.

Kevin or “Mr. Producerman,” as the crew calls him, continues to be a ceaseless innovator and strives to produce top-notch entertainment for anglers. We are pleased he was able to sit down with us for an interview.

Outdoor Hub: So, tell me about the Addictive Fishing story and how you got here today.

Kevin McCabe: Well, we’re in our fourteenth year. We are a saltwater fishing show based here in Florida and we’ve been streaming on the internet since before YouTube was a thing.

The show is what we’d like to call “rod bending drag screaming” television.” It’s of course hosted by Captain Blair Wiggins. He has been a fishing guide for most of his life until we started doing this TV show. What’s interesting about our partnership is that we’ve known each other since the second grade. We grew up back in the day, elementary school through high school. There is nobody better suited to host this show than Blair. We spent our early years fishing and then graduated high school. I went to Tampa for the University of South Florida. He went off to the Air Force. We came back to our home town for our ten-year high school reunion and shortly thereafter we started the show.

 

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Once again, River Palm Cottages (Jensen Beach) was ground zero for a flurry of SGF activity that was highlighted by 49 Capt. Danny  Barrow took time to discuss the importance of collecting recreational fishing data through the Angler Action Program.anglers competing in a one-of-a-kind fishing tournament.

The event supported the Angler Action Program, SGF’s recreational angler data collection system that is already giving anglers a measure of clout in the fishery science world.

TCSC anglers fished throughout the night, trying to tease snook all along the Treasure Coast using artificial lures only. Lots of good data was collected, some new faces were introduced to the program, and over 100 guests soaked in some good times, great food, and a large variety of raffle prizes.

RJ Ferraro (left) is recognized by TCSC Chairman Tom Lewis for catching the longest snook of the night, a 40-incher.Tom Lewis of First Light tackle was the tournament Chairman and the primary tackle sponsor. “I was snook fishing with Drew (Wickstrom, Tournament Director) one night and we started talking about throwing a tournament to introduce more anglers to First Light Tackle,” Tom said. That very first conversation was during this past December – not a lot of time to conceptualize and organize a fishing tournament!

Tom, Drew and a handful of very dedicated volunteer committee members got right to work, meeting weekly to discuss sponsors, rules, ideas, and how to best highlight the AAP. “All along I knew I wanted to benefit the Snook & Gamefish Foundation, so calling Rick Roberts (Executive Director, SGF) was one of our first moves.”

The entire process ended up as a model example of how different organizations can work together very effectively. Committee members worked with SGF staff and volunteers to map out the data collection process. FWC/FWRI were brought into the mix to help tag a few fish for the purpose of offering a “bounty” of $500 for 3 snook as well as educating the public on the latest snook research and ongoing programs.

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A young man who practices what he preaches: Habitat protection, best practices fish handling, and AAP logging.‘Be Smart. Be Clean. Enjoy.”

You don’t have to be a Boy Scout to come up with a sensible
motto like that, but for 17 year-old Kenny DiBiase of Sanibal Island it fit his Eagle Scout project like a glove.

 Kenny’s project was built around educating the local public on water quality issues, and ways us every day folk can be sure to do our part in protecting and improving the quality of our waters.

Over a span of several months, Kenny gave many live talks to community groups, and created road signs (which had to be approved and installed by the city). He spoke to the City of Sanibel Council and many other clubs as part of his plan to educate as many people as possible about his very important project.

 Kenny’s project culminated with a flurry of activity that included organizing educational booths at 5 different locations. This required training and preparing 30 volunteers, who manned sites at bait and tackle stores, grocery stores, and other high traffic areas.

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 Treasure Coast Snook Challenge April 6-7 poster
(Click Image To Enlarge)  Join us for a tournament Meet-N-Greet on Saturday, March 23, 6-8PM at the Stuart Flanigan's. Talk to other snook anglers, learn more about snook data, and have a little fun!

You are invited to join in First Light Tackle's Treasure Coast SnookChallenge, to benefit the Snook & Gamefish Foundation/Angler Action Program.  The captain's meeting will be held on site - at the River Palm Cottages in Jensen Beach, FL - April 6 at 3pm, and fishing begins at the close of the meeting. Tournament fishing ends at noon on April 7, and the awards party kicks off at 3pm at River Palm Cottages.

Registration and payment can be dropped off at Juno Bait & Tackle (12214 U.S. Highway 1, North Palm Beach, FL 33408), or delivered to the pre-tournament Meet-N-Greet that will take place Saturday March 23 from 6-8 PM, at our sponsoring Flanigan's in Stuart (950 SE Federal Hwy, Stuart, FL 34994) .      

  Click here for downloadable PDF registration [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 2.08 MB]

Anglers are to use First Light  Tackle snook jigs or FLT scorpion jig heads, which will be provided at the mandatory captain's meeting. Prize categories include largest individual snook, total length of three best snook, and most releases of slot fish. There will also be three "bounty" fish, tagged and released in the vicinity with the assistance of FWC. Finally, everyone who enters their catch data into the Angler Action Program by the dinner party will be eligible to win extra raffle prizes - even if no fish are caught. 

Registration fee of $60/angler will benefit Snook & Gamefish Foundation as well as provide each contestant with First Light lures, T shirt,  1 raffle ticket for onsite prize drawings, and 1 dinner ticket for a delicious meal provided by Flanigans at River Palm on April 7.

Additional Rules/Info:

This is a catch/photo/release event. Tournament fish must be photographed with the official tournament measuring stick, which will be provided at the captain's meeting.

This is a rain or shine event. Minors can participate under the constant and direct supervision of their parent or legal guardian.

Registration can be phoned in to Brett Fitzgerald,  561 707 8923.

Fr. Charlie Holt, St. Peters Lake Mary
Fr Charlie Holt, with his first shad.  Charlie keeps  busy pastoring St. Peter's Lake Mary, but encourages taking time to recharge..
story contributed by John Kumiski, Spotted Tail Charters


My fishing reports end with the admonition, “Life is short- go fishing!”

I was talking to an old friend on the telephone this week. When I first moved to Florida this guy took me under his wing and taught me how to fly fish here. He introduced me to several of the old school Florida Keys guides- Tommy Busciglio, Lee Baker, Nat Ragland. We went fishing with Tommy off Duck Key one morning and jumped a couple big tarpon. We fished in the Everglades. We fished in the lagoons. He showed me how to tie flies that would fool redfish and tarpon. He is a friend and a mentor and I owe him a lot.

Now he has neuropathy. His feet are dead and he can’t fish any more.

It’s all too easy to assume your health will last forever. It won’t. Age, disease, or a stupid accident is all it takes for your precious health to be lost forever. It can happen in a blink.

Take the time to do what you enjoy, today. Take some kids outdoors, if not fishing, then hiking, or paddling, or camping. They don’t often get the opportunity. Everyone now is too hooked on their devices.

Be spontaneous! Have fun! Enjoy yourself!

“The future’s uncertain and the end is always near.” -Jim Morrison

Life is short. Go fishing.


FL Saltwater Fishing Regs
Click on image to view Digital Edition Flip Page

The latest (January-June) Florida Saltwater Fishing Regulations, also feature the Angler Action program

- see page 19 of the Digital Edition "Report Your Catch!"  [click here to read pdf]  or click on image at left for digital view of entire publication.

On page, 18,  there's a handy identification chart showing all the species of fish in the jack family commonly caught in Florida waters.

At the center is the list of all saltwater species regulations. As a quick check of slots and bag limits, it is mighty handy.   A  printable view of just these 2 pages can be found at this link.  http://myfwc.com/media/2462342/2013%20Quick%20Chart.pdf

Here are a few other features in this edition:
Page ten gives a run down of the new spotted seatrout rule changes and also shows a very useful color chart of the four regions that the state designates for seatrout anglers.  New regions and rules for redfish (red drum) on the same page.     Pick up a free copy at the Snook & Gamefish Foundation booth at the Ft. Myers Florida Sportsman Show this weekend.

The entire publication can be downloaded as an Acrobat pdf file at this link.
http://www.eregulations.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/13FLSW1_LR.pdf.

secrets from floridas master anglers
This excerpt is from Capt. Ron Presley's "Secrets from Florida's Master Anglers" click on photo to view this and other books available through Amazon.
.An old man on a cane was strolling along Seventh Avenue in New York City when he came upon a tourist. The old man stopped the tourist and asked, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

The unsuspecting tourist replied, “Sorry, I am new in town and don’t know the way to Carnegie Hall.” The old man smiled and said, “Practice, practice, practice.”

Angler’s can learn from the wise old New Yorker and improve their skills through practice. It is natural to just want to go fishing without much preparation, but if you want to be among the 10 percent of anglers that catch 90 percent of the fish you might want to consider the notion of practice. After all, the old axiom that practice makes perfect is more than just a saying.

If you are willing to practice knots you will get very good at tying them; if you are willing to practice casting you will get very good at casting. Willing may be the operative word.

If you are willing to practice when you are not fishing it’s likely to produce huge dividends when you do fish. Of course there is also plenty of time to practice when you are fishing, if you are willing to do it.

Whether fishing with a buddy, spouse, or tournament partner, anglers are often part of a team and the success of the team depends on the skills of the individuals that make up the team. No specialists here. Captain Bouncer Smith, a well known Miami Captain, says a good team is made up of individuals who can play different positions on the team. Being able to play all the positions well requires practice.

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(Click Image To Enlarge)This excerpt is taken from Ron Presley's award winning book, "Fishing Secrets from Florida's East Coast." 

Wade Fishing with Capt. Marcia Foosaner


Capt. Marcia Foosaner is a well-known and experienced angler in the waters around St. Lucie Inlet. Her fishing is mostly on foot with fly rod in hand. In describing her fishing area she says, “Plenty of docks line the lagoon and the Saint Lucie River. They are true fish magnets.

There are some oyster bars to fish, but many have been destroyed by the water quality issues inherent in the area.” She adds that many of the previously fishy oyster bars are now covered over by sand from shifting currents, storms or strong tides. The remaining bars are only remnants and not viable as a primary fishing target although they will hold fish at times.

“One of the best things about this area is the fact that there are several dozen places one can just walk into the water from the roadside and catch fish,” says Captain Marcia. “This includes the beaches.” 

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 (Click Image To Enlarge) Gator in Everglades National Park doing its part to control invasive burmese pythons.

Hunting Exotics

As with many exotic invasive species, the best way to get rid of them is to eat them!

While not all of the 500 fish and wildlife nonnative species in Florida are a threat to native species, some are.  The Burmese python. due to it's size (may reach 26 feet), is a threat to native mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, that it preys upon.  Gators, like the one to the left,  are one of the few Florida predators that can successfully tackle a large python.

In the case of Lionfish,  since they have no natural predators* among Florida marine species, man needs to assume that role.

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Trey Wheeler - a quick lift
A 'Quick Lift' into a horizontal display with less than 15 seconds out of the water may increase release survival for Snook, as it does for bonefish.  photo credit: Trey Wheeler

 

SGF's Best Shots photo contest has been running since 2007, and continues in 2012 with sponsorship by StingRay Tackle. 

Besides sharing the thrill of fishing, the contest encourages practices that 'increase release survival'. 

Anglers release 90% of all the fish they catch, but estimates of release mortality (death of released fish due to predation, injury or other causes), are estimated to be as high as 50% in some studies.

As research progresses, verification of what increases release survival is becoming more precise. A recent study on bonefish showed that time spent out of the water is more significant than other factors, even hook location.  One recommendation from this study was to keep fish out of the water less than 15 seconds.    So what about taking photos now?

 

 

 


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