Friday, July 25, 2014

 
TOP STORY
Southerland, after a visit to Key West, said he was very concerned and indicated he would call for a subcommittee hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee.

APPS
Right now, you can download the new Navionics Boating Intro app for FREE, and then you can begin exploring on government charts for the U.S., included for free on iPhone, iPad and Android.

COAST GUARD
The Coast Guard rescued a man from Lake Erie late Tuesday night after he fell out of his kayak.

ENFORCEMENT
At least nine trailered boats checked recently at Montana's roadside watercraft inspection stations have been found to be transporting live fish, which is illegal in Montana's Western and Central Fishing Districts.
Adam Crawford James, 32, of Winnetka was sentenced to three years probation and revocation of all California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) licenses for the duration of his sentence.

ENVIRONMENT
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold two public meetings to discuss the proposed low-flow closure changes to the Russian River and North Central Coast streams.
The plan covers eight water bodies in the Orange Creek basin, which are impaired due to either excess nutrient pollution or high levels of fecal coliform bacteria.

FISHERIES
NOAA Fisheries and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today jointly released two plans to restore populations of salmon and steelhead in California's Central Valley: NOAA Fisheries' Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan and CDFW's Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) Conservation Strategy.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) wants to remind anglers that recreational fishing for Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) is closed for the month of August; the season will reopen on Sept. 1 and run through Oct. 31.
Unlike the previous two weekends, the recreational fishing season for the upcoming weekend (beginning July 25, 2014) will be open on Friday and Saturday only and will not be open on Sunday.

INDUSTRY
Larson Boat Group has entered into an agreement to manufacture Gekko Sport's 4-models of tow-boats from their Little Falls, MN manufacturing facility.
Metal Shark now offers Volvo Penta diesel sterndrives in its 29 Defiant patrol boats for customers requiring optimum performance, durability and maneuverability.
Xpress Boats of Hot Springs, Arkansas, has announced a collaborative marketing agreement with Lews Reels, makers of the iconic Lews Speed Spool, which launched the low-profile craze more than 40 years.
Following a successful spring showing in the Do It Best Spring Market Show and the National Hardware Show, Arctic Ice recently gained placement in all 9 of the Do It Best Retail Service Centers throughout the nation.
Minn Kota's Talon has been named Favorite Shallow Water Anchoring System in the 2014 Game & Fish/Sportsman Readers' Choice Awards.

JOBS
The Cleveland area-based Lake Erie Marine Trades Association (LEMTA) has an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated person to be Director of Boat Shows leading the development, sales and marketing of the organization's boat shows and other special events.

MARINE RESEARCH
Scientist in Tokyo develops a plan to farm the tasty tuna at a lower price.

NEW PRODUCTS
Like the original, this new version of the classic is predicated on maximizing cargo space and offering infallible protection of its contents.

RADIO
This week, Dan Small Outdoors Radio features Deer Fest director Hugh McAloon, fishing guides Scott Bretting and Ted Peck, Jiffy pro-staffer Duffy Kopf and Adams County parks director Fred Nickel. Dan fishes trout in Wisconsin's Coulee Country.

RETAIL
Sportsman's Warehouse is expanding its operations to include a new retail location in Fresno, California planned to open in the spring of 2015.

TELEVISION
Chad Hoover heads north of the border to search for big bass in the Ottawa Valley's Clayton Lake-a world-class public lake found just outside of the nation's capital.

TOURNAMENTS
Nathaniel Linville was named Grand Champion at the 2014 Del Brown Invitational Permit Tournament in Key West, Florida
YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. - For the second year in a row, the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship is headed to Chatuge Reservoir out of Hiawassee and Young Harris, Ga.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Tampa Bay Watch will hold a monofilament cleanup effort at the Sunshine Skyway south of St. Petersburg on August 8 from 9 to 11 a.m., and volunteers are needed.

Summer Topwater Trout

By William Redmond

They could very well be one of the most underrated of Florida's sport fish. Lacking the sturdiness of a snook or redfish, speckled trout are known for their soft bodies and paper thin mouths, but once these fish reach about 24 inches, they earn the nickname "gator trout" for an undeniable ferocity most clearly displayed in their treatment of topwater plugs.

From a boat or on foot, casting surface plugs for speckled trout ranks as one of the most popular angling pursuits for shallow water anglers throughout the Sunshine State's Gulf Coast region. Capt. Jason Stock, who guides from a flats skiff and a kayak, knows well the trout's penchant for attacking topwaters. For him, the entertainment value is tough to beat.

"It's so visually exciting," Stock said. "When they pop it, there's no question. He may blast it, miss it and come right back for it again."

The venerable Heddon Spook, in nearly any size, can be a seatrout killer in summer.
Stock's a fan of Heddon topwaters - typically the Spook Junior in calm conditions and a One Knocker Spook when a summer breeze puts a little motion on the ocean and requires an audible trail to help the trout track their target. A 7- to 7 ½-foot medium- action spinning outfit with 25-pound braid and a 20- to 30-pound fluorocarbon leader will handle even the 7-pound-plus monsters. At any size, Stock said, trout are crafty fish, so seamless attention is a must.

"Be ready, because they might hit at the end of a long cast," he said.

Trout are widely dispersed throughout Florida's coastal environments, but Stock has three favorite scenarios:

Daybreak

Easing up to island edges or onto the top of a skinny grass flat just as the sun starts to "pink out" the sky, Stock expects to find big trout hunting finger mullet, sardines and anything else they can catch in a foot or so of water. Dimpling pods of bait are a sure sign, as the food source won't go overlooked by hungry trout.

Stealth is a must in this shallow habitat, as big trout are keenly aware of their vulnerability to porpoises and ospreys. Here, especially, long rods and thin-diameter braid play essential roles in achieving the long casts needed to reach these fish from a distance they can tolerate.

Note: Minimize your movement in a boat, as pressure wakes will alert the perceptive trout. Likewise, wade with soft, sliding steps rather than a noisy, stomping pace that sounds like thunder beneath the surface.

For either Spook model, Stock likes the bone, chrome and black/gold colors. It's the same for the new 3 ½-inch Chug'n Spook Jr., which creates more surface commotion while still retaining the ability to do the classic walk-the-dog retrieve. Stock often employs a slow, steady retrieve with a 1-2-3, 1-2-3 cadence that produces the enticing walk-the-dog action. Resembling a wayward finger mullet, this Spook display will draw some of the most indescribably violent strikes you'll ever see.

When it's on, this shallow water trout bite will have you begging the sun to delay its ascent, but once the big orange ball rises high enough to start warming the meager depths, the daybreak madness quickly wanes and it's time to move on to Scenario Number 2.

Midday

During the heat of midday, anglers often ditch their trout pursuits and turn their attention elsewhere. Stock, however, knows that trout don't depart the area - they simply relocate. In most cases, the fish will move away from the shallow flats and slip off the outer edges of adjacent bars.

Settling into potholes and grassy trenches in the 4- to 6-foot range, the fish usually require a little more coaxing before they'll venture topside. This is where the One Knocker and the Chug'n Spook really shine, as this low-pitch rattle speaks to the trout's belly and the added surface disturbance makes the lure easier to locate and track.

Tidal movement always benefits predators with food delivery, but incoming cycles really stimulate summer fish with cooler, oxygenated water. Also, Stock said weather can profoundly influence the midday action.

"Approaching storms will often get the fish going," he said. "They might chew really good right before the rain comes and then also after the storm because that rain cools the water."

After Hours

Nighttime offers a twofold benefit for trout anglers. For one thing, lower light reduces visibility and thereby makes the fish more approachable. Moreover, the abundance of dock and bridge lights offer countless targets where Stock finds trout ambushing tide-born crustaceans and baitfish that flow past the illuminated areas.

Topwater trout action is best at dawn and dusk on the flats, but you might also connect at mid-day by fishing the outer edges of flats and bars.
A variety of baits work in this scenario and topwaters certainly have their place in the game. Walk a spook past the edge of a dock light and the result may look like someone dropped a coconut into the water.

Of course, the pinnacle of nighttime trout fishing is the full moon phase when the silvery beams bring the dock light affect to the entire coastal region. Anglers are still better concealed than they are pre-sundown, but trout enjoy the cooler feeding period with plenty of visibility for targeting those bait schools. Stock said he uses his ears as much as his eyes to locate the full-moon action.

"You can hear the smaller mullet getting blasted," he said. "Look where there's activity, ease in slowly and anchor off the mullet schools. Or, if you're looking, just drift through the area and fan cast."

In any of these scenarios, remember that those giant "gator" trout that love Spooks are typically females. Handle these fish with great care and consider releasing your bigger trout. Returning these breeders to their coastal habitat will help perpetuate Florida's awesome topwater action.

The Fishing Wire welcomes your comments and actively solicits letters and guest editorials from readers as well as fishery managers, scientists and industry experts in boating, fishing and related equipment. Please send your comments and suggestions to frank@thefishingwire.com.
Outdoors Calendar

» Got an event you'd like to see posted here? Send it to frank@thefishingwire.com.

Apr. 1 - Nov. 30: New Jersey inshore saltwater fishing tournament. Eight species, over 50 weigh stations, $100,000 in cash & prizes for the largest catches. Proceeds to the Fisheries Conservation Trust. $FREE entry using The Fishing Wire Code: 3720; www.BeachNBoat.com or 609.423.4002.

Apr. 12 - Mar. 31: 2nd Annual Lund Boats LCI Champlain Basin Derby,
50 weeks, 15 species, $25,000! www.lciderby.com

July 25 - July 27: Lucas Oil IFA Pro-Am Redfish Challenge at Jacksonville, Fla.; www.ifatours.com.

Aug. 2 - Aug. 3: IFA Redfish and Kayak Tours at Lafitte, La.; www.ifatours.com.

Aug. 4 - Aug. 8: White Marlin Open, Ocean City, Maryland; 410-289-9229.

Aug. 5 - Aug. 9: Bisbee's East Cape Offshore Tournament, Baja California Sur, Mexico. $750,000 in cash prizes; www.bisbees.com

Aug. 9: N.E. Florida Lionfish Rodeo out of Jacksonville; The North Florida Lionfish Rodeo charity spearfishing tournament that targets Lionfish, proceeds to the DSAJ (Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville) and REEF. Awards (per team): $1000 for the most Lionfish, $500 for the largest Lionfish, $100 for the smallest Lionfish. Mandatory Captain's meeting 6pm - Nippers Beach Grille Tournament - Start: Sunrise, Weigh-in: 6:00pm Beach Marine

Aug. 16 - Aug. 17: Mud Hole Custom Tackle's Rod Building 101 Class, Savannah, Ga., http://www.mudhole.com/Rod-Building-101/Classes or call (866) 790-7637 ext. 112.

Aug. 16 - Aug. 17: Mud Hole Custom Tackle's Rod Building 101 Class, Savannah, Ga., http://www.mudhole.com/Rod-Building-101/Classes or call (866) 790-7637 ext. 112.

Aug. 16 - Aug. 17: IFA Redfish and Kayak Tours at Georgetown, S.C.; www.ifatours.com.

Aug. 29 - Aug. 30: National Walleye Tour at Bays de Noc - Escanaba, Mich., www.nationalwalleyetour.com.

Sept. 6 - Sept. 7: Mud Hole Custom Tackle's Rod Building 101 Class, Orlando, Fla., http://www.mudhole.com/Rod-Building-101/Classes or call (866) 790-7637 ext. 112.

Sept. 12 - Sept. 14: 44th Annual Newport (RI) International Boat Show. Newport waterfront along America's Cup Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island. Media: Andrew Golden Rushton Gregory Communications 617-413-6521 agolden@rushtongregory.com www.newportboatshow.com.

Sept. 16: Casting for the Cure tournament at Alabama's Logan Martin Lake, $50 entry, $1000 top prize; https://castingforthecure.wufoo.com/forms/casting-for-the-cure-rules-and-entry-form/

Sept. 20 - Sept. 21: Mud Hole Custom Tackle's Rod Building 101 Class, Mobile, Ala., http://www.mudhole.com/Rod-Building-101/Classes or call (866) 790-7637 ext. 112.





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