Coastal Breeze News » fishing http://www.coastalbreezenews.com Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:32:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Karate Kids http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/04/09/karate-kids/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/04/09/karate-kids/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 17:23:46 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=37920 By Melinda Gray

A respectful bow is offered to thank the crowd.

A respectful bow is offered to thank the crowd.

When people think of Karate, they think of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Mr. Miyagi, but make no mistake young grasshoppers, there is much more to it than the Hollywood portrayal. Nick Lemke, owner and sensei of Shima Dojo, will tell you that.

On Saturday, March 22, Shima Dojo held their Third annual All-You-Can-Eat Blue Crab fundraiser. Unlike the previous fundraisers, which were held at the YMCA on Marco Island, this year it was hosted by Marker 8.5, and the setting was perfect.

Students showed off their skills to proud parents and audience members enjoying their meal. Led entirely in Japanese, as they learn in their classes, the children had fun as they moved through the demonstrations with ease.

This year’s fundraiser was a huge success, pulling in around $1,600 which will be used to help pay the dojo’s charter fees, hold summer camps, put on other events and lend financial assistance to students for class fees. Lemke attributes the event’s success to the students’ dedication and the island collaboration of Goodland residents who pitched in to help. Stephen Finn donated around 400 lbs of blue crab and cooked and served them to diners; locals helped to set up and prepare food; and Marker 8.5 and its staff graciously hosted the occasion.

Sensei Nick brought shrimp and fishing gear to entertain his students between demonstrations. Two fish caught by the kids were proudly on display. PHOTOS BY MELINDA GRAY

Sensei Nick brought shrimp and fishing gear to entertain his students between demonstrations. Two fish caught by the kids were proudly on display. PHOTOS BY MELINDA GRAY

Sensei Nick started his own Dojo in 2010 under his home in Goodland. Two years later, he moved into the YMCA on Marco Island, and officially named it the Shima Dojo. A rather fitting title as the Japanese word “shima” translates to mean island.

Lemke began studying Karate 20 years ago with his brother, and has since immersed himself in the constant betterment of the art and the ongoing improving of himself, synonymous with serious martial arts. He’s travelled to Okinawa, Japan, three times to train under the “head of system” for a total of six months; and he brings his commitment and experience to fruition with his students.

“I must have the best kids in Marco! They are so good; they do what I ask, listen to their parents, do their homework. They do well in school and at sports; they are the cream of the crop,” said Lemke.

He is proud of what he’s created: a dojo that can trace their lineage to 1962, when Zenryo Shimabukuro founded the Shorin-ryu Seibukan Karate style and dojo in Okinawa. Lemke is vigilant in his efforts to stay as connected to that lineage as possible.

Spending up to 10 hours with his students in any given week, he teaches them what he’s come to know. Karate is more than a form of Martial Arts; it’s a lifestyle.

 

 

Each table was occupied with people enjoying the feast and the show. Nick Lemke guides his green belts through an advanced demonstration.
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The Croatian Istrian Peninsula http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/04/09/the-croatian-istrian-peninsula/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/04/09/the-croatian-istrian-peninsula/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:55:01 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=37818 SPEAKING OF TRAVEL
Vickie Kelber
vickieonmarco@comcast.net

This restored 19th century villa in Opatija which speaks to its Old World elegance actually houses a shopping center.

This restored 19th century villa in Opatija which speaks to its Old World elegance actually houses a shopping center.

The Croatian portion of the Istrian Peninsula is located in northwest Croatia, along the Adriatic’s Gulf of Kvarnar. Historically, this area was ruled first by the Romans, followed by the Venetians and then the Austrians. For a while in the 1920s, the Italians regained control. Although Istria became part of Yugoslavia in the 1940s, many towns still have two official names — one Croatian, the other Italian. A small part of the peninsula also lies in Slovenia and Italy.

While visiting Istria, the town of Opatija was our home base. I could easily write of the beauty of Opatija; the dramatic coastline; except for a few ugly 1970s hotels at the end of town, the elegance of the Old World Austro Hungarian resort; the charm of the fishing villages around it; the bucolic villages in the hills above where one can find a restaurant that serves venison and wild boar (I had the grilled veggie platter); as well as wineries and olive farms. But, after Dubrovnik and Split, the real draw for us was that it is not a port for cruise ships.

Opatija saw its first luxury villa built in 1844; it now houses the Museum of Croatian Tourism. The town soon became a favored destination for the Austrian nobility. Franz Joseph met with Kaiser Wilhelm here in 1894; that same year Chekhov came here for health reasons. Isadora Duncan visited in the early 1900s, and later said that the movements of the palm trees in Optija were the inspiration for her hand and arm gestures while dancing. During the Communist time, Croatians were entitled to subsidized vacations by the sea, and most of the resort areas were “syndicated” for this purpose. According to our local guide, Italy persuaded Tito to keep Opatija out of the “syndicate,” and so it remained a refuge for dignitaries and wealthy travelers.

Along the Lungomare in Opatija. PHOTOS BY VICKIE KELBER

Along the Lungomare in Opatija. PHOTOS BY VICKIE KELBER

Opatija — meaning “abbey,” so named for the 14th century Benedictine Abbey that has now morphed into St. Jacob’s church — has much to enjoy. Walk along the Croatian Walk of Fame whose marble stars honor famous Croatians and look for Nikola Tesla’s. Copenhagen has its Little Mermaid statue; in Opatija, a girl with seagull in the harbor welcomes. Catch an outdoor concert in the lush Park Angiolina or a performance in the open-air theater, or just enjoy one of Opatija’s fine restaurants or pleasant bar/cafes. Our favorite one was Tantra, right on the small sandy beach behind Park Angiolina with a full view across the water and back to the town.

Part of the allure of Opatija is the almost eight-mile-long seaside promenade known as the Lungomare. Strolling along, one sees parks, villas, small beaches, gardens, even a small bamboo forest. For added convenience, clean, modern public restrooms are available along the pathway. About an hour walk on the Lungomare to the North is the once fortified town of Lovran so named for its many laurel trees. Its clusters of medieval houses are built into what remains of the town walls and the 14th century Church of St. George in the small old town has a cycle of frescos dating to the church’s origin. A shorter walk to the South leads to Volosko, a small fishing town noted for its seafood restaurants; one can frequently see the nets used by the fishermen drying in the sun.

The amphitheater is Pula is just one of its historic sites.

The amphitheater is Pula is just one of its historic sites.

One morning we walked to Volosko, headed past the restaurants and cafes along the waterfront that cater to tourists and chose instead a decidedly local outdoor cafe at the end of the promenade; we were the only non-residents there. While we enjoyed some cappuccino, it was quite evident how small a town Volosko is. The postman passed by on his scooter. He noticed someone for whom he had a special package, stopped, and hand-delivered it to him. Another man called out to ask if there was any mail for him. The postman checked, shook his head no, and continued on with his deliveries.

Rovinj on the other side of the peninsula is well worth a visit. Its attraction is its atmosphere: Venetian-style architecture; narrow, steep alleys; picturesque harbor, ringed with cafes; panoramic views from the height of St. Euphemia’s church. Places such as this always attract artists, and Rovinj is no exception. It had one of the best selections of small galleries and artisan shops that I saw in all of Croatia. A bustling market featuring local fish, produce, truffles and some crafts rounded out the shopping experience.

Not far from Rovinj, near the end of the this triangular-shaped Istrian Peninsula, is Pula, home of an active shipbuilding industry and site of numerous Roman artifacts. Most people come to Pula to see the well-preserved amphitheater, but there are other sites worth noting as well. There is evidence that habitation of Pula dates back 1 million years. Popular legend is that Pula was where the Argonauts, who had stolen the Golden Fleece, settled after their leader Jason was killed. Begun in 27BC, the Pula Arena seated more than 20,000 and was part of the circuit of the gladiators. Today, it seats no more than 8,000 for the many performers who have appeared there, including Luciano Pavorotti and Andrea Bocelli. There are other classical and medieval sites of note, including the Temple of Augustus and two Roman gates, as well as a fine Archeological Museum; the tourist information office on the main square (Forum) provides a very good map. If you go to Pula and it is not too hot, try to visit the amphitheater in the afternoon, as most of the tour groups tend to go in the morning. Don’t forget to explore the underground as well as the viticulture and olive oil exhibit there with its many ancient amphoras.

Local specialties - truffles, lavender, and olive oil at the market in Rovinj.

Local specialties – truffles, lavender, and olive oil at the market in Rovinj.

The largest of Croatia’s 1,000 islands is Krk located in the Kvarner Gulf and easily accessible. Krk Town’s well preserved old town still sports some of the original wall, three Venetian gates, mosaics from Roman baths, and requisite churches and cathedral. Although the northern part of the island is fairly bare due to the bura winds, the southern part is lush. The inland vineyards are known for their white wine, Vrbnicka Zlahtina, and the town of Vrbnik on the East coast of the island offers wine tasting. A peaceful, small island just off Krk, Ko‰ljun, is accessible by boat, and is inhabited by Franciscan monks who maintain a museum at their monastery.

 

About The Author

Vickie is a former member of the Marco Island City Council and Artistic Director of the Marco Island Film Festival, and has been a volunteer for many island organizations. She is presently on the board of the Naples Mac Users Group. Prior to relocating to Marco, Vickie served as a school psychologist, Director of Special Services, and college instructor and also was a consultant to the New Jersey Department of Education.


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2014 Gulf Recreational Red Snapper Season http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/02/24/2014-gulf-recreational-red-snapper-season/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/02/24/2014-gulf-recreational-red-snapper-season/#comments Mon, 24 Feb 2014 22:59:59 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=36804 The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) proposed 2014 Gulf recreational red snapper season dates in state waters. This proposed season will be brought back before the Commission for final approval at its April 15-17 meeting in Tallahassee.

The 2014 proposed season, if approved in April, would be 52 days long, starting the Saturday before Memorial Day, (May 24 this year) and remaining open through July 14, closing July 15. The Commission could choose to change the season length and dates at the April meeting.

State waters in the Gulf are from shore to 9 nautical miles. Federal waters extend from where state waters end out to about 200 nautical miles.To learn more about this agenda item, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and click on “Commission Meetings.” To learn more about recreational red snapper fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Snapper.”


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Fishing in February http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/02/08/fishing-in-february/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/02/08/fishing-in-february/#comments Sun, 09 Feb 2014 01:28:07 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=36424 FOLLOW THE FISH
Capt. Pete Rapps
CaptainRapps@gmail.com

Tim and Brian with some nice Sheepshead.

Tim and Brian with some nice Sheepshead.

During February, we will generally experience some small changes from January’s wind and cold fronts. We will still experience cold fronts, but they are usually a little less powerful. The water temperatures will remain about the same as January, hovering in the low- to mid-60’s. Daytime air temperatures will average about 52-76 degrees.

Keep an eye on your tide chart because we have some extremely low tides around both the new moon and full moon. Be mindful of the morning full moon low tides Feb. 10-16, and the new moon low tides Feb. 25-March 3. Wind direction affects the tides dramatically. A north or east wind will make the tide lower and longer than expected as it blows the water out and delays its return. I have even come to the conclusion that a low tide on a very cold morning will be lower than the charts predict.

I like to hit the outside flats on the last two hours of the incoming flood tide. We drift areas that are 3-5 feet deep and vary from grass to sand. This way, we can expect a combination of both trout on the grass and pompano on the sand. I like to use a 3/8-ounce bucktail-type jig with a good amount of glitter in it. Try tipping the jig with a very small piece of shrimp too. Use your light casting gear with 10-pound test line and 2 feet of 20-pound fluorocarbon leader. In addition to the trout and pompano, you can expect to pick up spanish mackerel, jacks and ladyfish.

The backwater bays and rivers hold species like spotted sea trout, snook, mangrove snapper, redfish, ladyfish and other fun-to-catch species. When fishing for snook, it is hard to beat live baits like pilchards and thread herring. I throw a lot of artificials like DOA’s Airheads and their CAL baits. Stop in your local tackle shop, and ask them about these baits. Snapper will gladly accept pieces of shrimp, and the ladyfish love jerkbaits and bucktail jigs.

Mike with a Black Drum.

Mike with a Black Drum.

On the outgoing tide, I like to head into the river mouths and the backwaters and fish for sheepshead and snapper. They both love shrimp, and will gladly accept a piece rather than a whole live shrimp. The reason why I like shrimp pieces in February is two-fold. First off, the winter shrimp tend to be huge. By cutting them in half, you can stretch your supply to last a lot longer. Secondly, the sheepshead and snapper have small mouths, and will usually just rob a whole shrimp right off your hook.

In addition to myself, we have a fleet of available captains and guides fishing the Ten Thousand Islands in the Everglades National Park out of Everglades City and Chokoloskee. We are just a short drive from Marco Island and fish some of the most remote areas of the Everglades National Park. Want a memorable day on the water with your family and friends? Come check us out, and see what you have been missing.

About The Author

Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park. Capt. Rapps’ top notch fleet accommodates men, women, & children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Between their vast knowledge & experience of the area, and easy going demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class web site for Booking info, Videos, Recipes, Seasonings, and more at www.CaptainRapps.com 

[email_link]

 


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Preparation, Key to Success, Comfort, Safety http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/02/08/preparation-key-to-success-comfort-safety/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/02/08/preparation-key-to-success-comfort-safety/#comments Sun, 09 Feb 2014 01:23:45 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=36421 LADY ANGLERS
Captain Mary A. Fink
islandgirlscharters.com

A guide can help you learn the local catch, use the right bait, keep you from getting lost and even provide you with fresh filleted fish to take home!

A guide can help you learn the local catch, use the right bait, keep you from getting lost and even provide you with fresh filleted fish to take home!

Among the characteristics most all successful anglers possess is that of proper preparation for a day of fishing. Preparation involves things like the selection of a fishing location, tackle and bait requirements, targeting specific species, awareness of tidal exchange and weather, as well as packing proper clothing and gear. When these factors are carefully considered prior to departing for a day on the water, your chance for success, safety and comfort will be greatly enhanced.

Once you have determined your preferred fishing location, the next step is to get acquainted with the tidal exchange forecast that is predicted for that area. When will the tide be coming in or going out? The tide chart will become your best friend, especially when fishing our local inshore waters where tidal influence plays a key role in fishing success. I have found some of the most productive inshore fishing to be at the onset of the incoming tide, when baitfish move into backcountry areas, bays, passes and mangrove islands. Outgoing tides can also prove to be productive when seeking species like mangrove snapper, grouper, black drum and sheepshead. What’s most important to take from this is that tidal exchange is important. Slack tide is usually the best time to eat lunch or to take a break. Once the water and food begin moving again, start fishing again.

Relating to tackle, the best advice I can give to you is to have at least three rods pre-rigged for specific purposes. My idea of ideal inshore tackle preparation is to have one rod rigged for free-lining (nothing but a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader and a hook or lure), another one rigged with a light jig head (preferably an 1/8-ounce with 20-pound fluorocarbon leader) and another with a heavier jig head of up to ½ ounce. The beauty of jig heads is that they come in a wide variety of shapes and colors, and can be tipped with a live bait, offering or an array of soft plastics and making them quite versatile. Braided line (20-30 pound) is suggested for inshore use due to its abrasion-resistant qualities and lack of flexibility or stretch. Having these rods pre-rigged will allow you to take advantage of any opportunities that may arise. There is nothing worse than coming across a feeding blitz of fish and finding yourself unprepared. In the time it takes to prepare the rig, the fish are often gone.

The advantage of having jigs of various weights pre-rigged is that you can adjust to changes in tidal strength and varying water depths with convenient ease.

Proper gear should never be overlooked when spending a day on the water. Invest in a good pair of polarized sunglasses which will help you to see into the water with enhanced clarity. A hat and sunscreen is a must when fishing our beautiful Southwest Florida waters. Always keep rain gear close by, especially during our rainy summer months. During the winter months when cold fronts are common, being wet from spray or rain can be most uncomfortable and distract you from experiencing an enjoyable day.

Be sure to properly plan your next fishing trip by pre-rigging at least three rods, reading a local tide chart, following the weather forecast and packing the proper gear.

Tight Lines!

 

Captain Mary specializes in fishing the beautiful Ten Thousand Islands. She holds a “six pack” captains license and has a knack for finding fish. A passionate angler possessing over 35 years of extensive experience in both backcountry and offshore fishing, Mary offers fishing expeditions through her Island Girls Charters company. When fishing with Captain Mary, you will be exposed to a variety of successful techniques including cast and retrieve, drift fishing, bottom fishing and sight fishing. Visit www.islandgirlscharters.com to learn about fishing with Capt. Mary, or reach her at 239-571-2947.


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Shrimp and Snapper Soup http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/29/shrimp-and-snapper-soup/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/29/shrimp-and-snapper-soup/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 14:59:33 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=36020 FOLLOW THE FISH
Capt. Pete Rapps
CaptainRapps@gmail.com

What’s better than a warm, fresh homemade pot of locally caught seafood soup on a cool winter’s day? Head on down to the local grocer or farmer’s market, and pick up just about everything you need for this quick and easy recipe. It will take you just 30 minutes from start to finish. Serve with some warm fresh bread or biscuits and butter.

½ LB Ditalini or any small pasta

3 Cloves of chopped garlic

3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive oil

1 Pint of cherry tomatoes sliced into halves

1 Bunch of Asparagus chopped into 1” long pieces

¼ Cup chopped Scallions

½ Cup diced zucchini

15 Kalamata olives sliced

2 TBS Captain Rapps’ “MARCO RICO” (Caribbean Blackening Seasoning)

2 – 14.5oz Cans chicken broth

1 Dozen Large Key West Pink Shrimp peeled

1LB of Snapper fillets

¼ Cup chopped Italian Parsley

Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

 

Cook pasta for 10 minutes, just until firm (al dente). Run in cool water, drain and set aside. In a large pot, cook garlic in the olive oil on medium until translucent. Keep on medium heat, and add tomatoes, asparagus, scallions, zucchini, olives and the Captain Rapps’ “MARCO RICO” (Caribbean Blackening Seasoning). Simmer on medium stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes. Peel the shrimp and cut into 1-in long pieces. Cube the fish fillets into 2-in chunks. Now, add the shrimp and fish to the pot and cover. Let cook for 10 minutes, but do not stir the pot to avoid breaking up the fish chunks. Add the cooked pasta, and stir very gently again to avoid breaking up the fish. Serve in bowls, and top with fresh Italian parsley and grated Pecorino Romano cheese to taste.

About The Author

Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park. Capt. Rapps’ top notch fleet accommodates men, women, & children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Between their vast knowledge & experience of the area, and easy going demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class web site for Booking info, Videos, Recipes, Seasonings, and more at www.CaptainRapps.com 

[email_link]

 


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Loggerhead Released Near Goodland http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/24/loggerhead-released-near-goodland/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/24/loggerhead-released-near-goodland/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 20:42:42 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=35923 By Natalie Strom
natalie@coastalbreezenews.com

Sassy travels from the car to the boat.

Sassy travels from the car to the boat.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida released Sassy, its female loggerhead sea turtle into the Gulf of Mexico near the Ten Thousand Islands on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Born on Sanibel Island, Sassy was transferred to the Florida Atlantic University lab at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, where she was part of a gender study linking nest temperature to the gender of hatchlings.

Following her two months in the ongoing sea turtle gender study, Sassy was brought to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. In 2012, Sassy became the first resident of the 5,000-gallon saltwater tank in the Dalton Discovery Center at the Conservancy Nature Center. Sassy has served as an ambassador for the entire species and provided visitors with an increased appreciation for marine life and conservation as she grew to an appropriate size to be released. Weighing in at more than 30 pounds and more than 45 centimeters, Sassy was ready for her return to sea.

Making her way in a green and yellow bin, Sassy was transported from the Conservancy in Naples to the Goodland Boat Park where she boarded a small skiff with David Webb, Dave Addison, Whitney Swain and Paige Lansky, all of the Conservancy. Sassy took a quick boat trip out to a safe and quiet spot where she was taken from the bin and gently placed in the water. The minute she went in, Sassy went under and wasn’t to be seen again.

Heading out to Gullivan Bay.

Heading out to Gullivan Bay.

“Sassy has been a favorite of Nature Center visitors, staff and volunteers and has provided opportunity for education and dialogue on sea turtle protection,” said Conservancy of Southwest Florida Director of Education David Webb. “Sassy was released at Gullivan Bay, south of Marco Island, away from heavy boat traffic. However, Sassy faces dangers in open water, including boat traffic, plastic bags and other litter, commercial fishing and sharks. Our hope is that she makes it out into the Atlantic, and returns to the Gulf Coast in 20 to 30 years to lay her eggs.”

The survival and study of sea turtles is a mission of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Sea Turtle Monitoring and Protection Program. Through patrolling beaches, marking nests, tagging turtles, counting hatched eggs and educating the community, the team works to protect and monitor the success of loggerhead sea turtle nests.

The team at the Conservancy is ready to play host to another loggerhead any time. According to Webb, “If for some reason another sea turtle needs a home, we will have room in our tank to raise it and return it to the wild when it’s ready, just like Sassy.”


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The Star of the Everglades Its Journey From the 1920s to Today http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/24/the-star-of-the-everglades-its-journey-from-the-1920s-to-today/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/24/the-star-of-the-everglades-its-journey-from-the-1920s-to-today/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 18:42:50 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=35812 COASTAL HISTORY
Craig Woodward
CWoodward@wpl-legal.com

B1-CBN-1-24-14-2Mention the vessel Star of the Everglades to local, long-time residents, and it brings a big smile to their faces. Soon, they are flooded with memories of this fabulous boat which was aptly named the Star. Not only was the Star a luxury cruise boat for its day, but it also opened up the Ten Thousand Islands to world-class fishing. Digging into the vessel’s history, one quickly hears stories. Its first owner made money in the bird feather, or plume, trade in the late 1800s. The boat’s builder was extremely wealthy, becoming famous by running whiskey during Prohibition. The Star played a role in a classic 1958 film made in the Everglades, and several U.S. presidents had been on it. Of course, there are many twists and turns to every journey, and it turns out that there were actually two vessels named the Star

The first and original Star (the “of the Everglades” was added later) was owned by Gregorio Lopez, who was born in 1848 and is the great-grandfather of Jim Webb, a third-generation owner of the local hardware store in Everglades City. The Lopez family moved to Southwest Florida in 1873 from Spain when Gregorio left to gain economic freedom. The family settled along a very remote river located southeast of Chokoloskee Island — later named the Lopez River. The Lopez home site, like most pioneer settlements in the Ten Thousand Islands, was built on an old Indian shell mound. Today, it is one of the first campsites on the Wilderness Waterway, which winds its way for 99 miles south of Chokoloskee through the Everglades National Park to the town of Flamingo on the southernmost tip of mainline Southwest Florida, Cape Sable. A tabby mortar rainwater cistern built by Gregorio Lopez in the 1890s is located on the old homestead; the family wrote an inscription into it that reads “child Lopes born April 20, 1892.” Those who have camped at this spot say that Mr. Lopez picked the most beautiful location for his home with an awesome view over the river.

Around the end of the 19th century, Gregorio had a financially rewarding career as a plume hunter, moving on to become an alligator hunter when plume hunting became illegal. He saw the start of the tourist industry in Southwest Florida and purchased the first yacht, Star, to take fishermen south from Everglade (the future Everglades City) down to the mouth of the Shark River in the Ten Thousand Islands for sport fishing. It is not clear when the first Star was purchased, but most likely, Lopez seized the opportunity around the time of the birth of Collier County in 1923, when the southernmost of Barron G. Collier’s chain of hotels — the Rod and Gun Club and the Everglades Inn —
began bringing in eager fisherman arriving weekly on a steamship line that Collier operated.

The original Star of the Everglades (c. 1950s) owned by the Lopez family of Chokoloskee and filmed in the movie Wind Across the Everglades. PhotoS by Jim Webb

The original Star of the Everglades (c. 1950s) owned by the Lopez family of Chokoloskee and filmed in the movie Wind Across the Everglades. PhotoS by Jim Webb

The Lopez River was not the only waterway named by Gregorio Lopez in the late 1800s. He named Plate Creek after having dropped a plate in the water, and he chose the name Onion Key for an island just inside the mouth of the Shark River simply because he ate his last onion there. Onion Key was another Indian shell mound. Its big claim to fame occurred during Florida’s 1920’s land boom when the Tropical Florida Development Corporation acquired an interest in three square miles of land, or 1,920 acres, and in 1925, drew out a subdivision of 8,933 lots, naming their project “Poinciana” and marketing it widely as “The Coming Miami of the Gulf.” It was almost impossible to travel to the project so most of their sales were by advertising this “new Miami.” They were truly selling mangrove swamp land. The “development” died after the 1926 hurricane wiped out Onion Key which killed the Florida’s 1920s land boom.

Gregorio, Sr., and his Florida born wife, Lovie, (from a local family, the Daniels) raised three boys — Gregorio, Jr. (known as “Grady”), Alphonso and Joseph (Jim Webb’s grandfather) — and a daughter, Ida Mae. Passport records showed that in 1918 Gregorio, Sr., listed his occupation as a farmer, and he left the U.S. for health reasons to go to Honduras, which was then Spanish-owned. Gregorio’s sons stepped in and followed in their dad’s footsteps all becoming fishing guides, as were some of Gregorio’s grandsons. Gregorio, Sr., died at age 84 on August 4, 1932, and is buried at the Lopez cemetery on Chokoloskee Island.

Capt. Grady Lopez with his daughter, Rosina Thompson.

Capt. Grady Lopez with his daughter, Rosina Thompson.

An early Collier County fishing brochure mentions that the fabulous Shark River Cruiser, the Star of the Everglades, then operated by Grady (Gregorio Lopez, Jr.), was 40 feet long and could take parties of four or five. The vessel had its own cook, and in 1949, cost $55 per day with one guide (Grady). It pulled a small boat behind it; however, if one chose to have a second guide and a second small boat, the price increased by $20. At the time, there was plenty of competition, as the guide pamphlet shows 29 other captains guiding out of Everglades City in small boats ranging from 18 feet to larger Cabin Cruisers (many made locally and known as Chokoloskee Cruisers) ranging in size from 28 feet with two bunks to 34 feet with four bunks.

Grady Lopez was selected to take Franklin Delano Roosevelt fishing out of Everglades City; FDR being one of five U.S. presidents to have visited Everglades City. In 1947, President Harry Truman was in Everglades City for the opening of the Everglades National Park, and he was entertained on the Star. After the airport in Everglades opened in 1947, not only could “fresh bait” be flown to the Star, but the brochure also said that if one had “pressing business problems, arrangements can be made to fly to and from the fishing grounds by charter service.”

In 1949, Collier County’s seat of government, Everglades City, was described as: “… fishermen are drawn (to it) from every state in the Union by persistent reports of superlative fishing every month in the year. In Everglades, the official weighing station in front of the Rod and Gun Club is the center of attraction every afternoon at 5 when the fleet comes in. There you see the evidence, the prize-winning fish, the tournament-winning fish, the world’s record fish, all caught on an Everglades boat with an Everglades guide. It is from the Everglades that most of the fabulous Shark River cruisers set out, an adventure comparable to an expedition into Africa bringing back impressive trophies and motion pictures of the greatest moments in anyone’s life.” It was in the early 1950s when President Dwight Eisenhower came to Everglades to fish and also was on the Star.

Grady turned over the ownership and operation of the Star to his daughter, Rosina, and her husband, Jim Thompson. By the 1950s, fishing guides left the Rod and Gun at 8 AM and were back at 5 PM, except for the Shark River cruisers which were gone for several days or up to a week or so. Jim Webb was a cabin boy in the original Star in 1957. His job was to clean up and make the beds. He laid out food, and like the rest of the crew and the guides, slept on the top deck when the vessel overnighted down in the Ten Thousand Islands. The guests slept below in private cabins. Also located on that first level were the galley, dining area and bathrooms. The first Star did not have air conditioning and ran only in the winters.

In the most famous movie made in Collier County — the 1958 “Wind Across the Everglades” starring Christopher Plummer, Burl Ives, Peter Falk and Gypsy Rose Lee — there is a scene of a July 4 celebration filmed on the beach at Marco Island. As the Star travels just off of Marco’s beach, its decks are full of women who are, shall we say, of “dubious character.” They are seen smiling and waving at the townspeople with their families as they party on the beach and set off firecrackers. Trouble brews when a few of the local men on the beach are directly acknowledged by these women calling out to them from the Star. Immediately, the men get concerned looks and questions from their wives as to how they know these women!

‘Star of the Everglades’ painted by retired Collier County Deputy J.B. Singletary. Photo by Jim Webb

‘Star of the Everglades’ painted by retired Collier County Deputy J.B. Singletary. Photo by Jim Webb

In the early 1960s, the Star left Everglades City for the last time, and later returned as the new Star, a 65-foot-long, plush, richly-appointed yacht built in 1927 and purchased by the Lopez family to upgrade the experience for those wealthy enough to charter it for long trips down to the remote rivers of the lower Ten Thousand Islands. This Star would have an equally interesting journey. It moved to Naples for a few years. Then was lived aboard on Marco, moved to Remuda Ranch (now Port of the Islands) and came back to Marco Island to its final resting place in Goodland. To be continued…

I want to thank Jim Webb for his memories of the Lopez family and the many photos and brochures of the Star he has saved. I also will be thanking many others who contributed to this story, but will save the details until the next issue.


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“Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!®” http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/24/36065/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/24/36065/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 15:02:49 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=36065 University Series will return to the Ft. Myers/Matlacha area March 8-9, 2014 at Matlacha Community Park.

Held on a Saturday afternoon, the mini-event includes much of what is offered at the full LLGF Universities plus Kayak fishing on the curriculum. For this event, held in conjunction with support from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) through the Sport Fish Restoration Program, women will travel from several states for education, hands-on fishing activities, habitat conservation and to meet other female anglers. On Saturday, the program begins with a session by the FWC on the importance of marine conservation, a demonstration of hook removal, catch and release techniques and more.

University registration starts at only $59 and includes instruction, use of equipment, hands-on training, networking, fundraisers and more. No equipment or experience is necessary. Optional fishing charter rates are on www.ladiesletsgofishing.com.

Contact: Phone: (954) 475-9068; info@ladiesletsgofishing.com; www.ladiesletsgofishing.com, www.facebook.com/ladiesletsgofishing.


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The Spotted Sea Trout http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/23/the-spotted-sea-trout/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/23/the-spotted-sea-trout/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 15:40:13 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=35587 FOLLOW THE FISH
Capt. Pete Rapps
CaptainRapps@gmail.com

Angelina and Joey Scalogna hold up their spotted sea trout.

Angelina and Joey Scalogna hold up their spotted sea trout.

The spotted sea trout (Cynoscion nebulosus), also called speckled trout, specs, trout or spotted weakfish, is a common shallow water fish found in our area of the Ten Thousand Islands. They are closely related to the northern weakfish (Cynoscion regalis). Even though most of these fish are caught on shallow grassy flats, spotted sea trout reside in virtually any inshore waters from the outside flats to far up our coastal saltwater rivers where they often move to for shelter during the colder winter months. Contrary to its name, the spotted sea trout is not a member of the trout family (Salmonidae) but actually of the drum family (Sciaenidae), which includes the Atlantic croaker, red drum (redfish), black drum, and sand sea trout. As with all members of the drum family, mature males produce a “drumming” sound to attract females during the spawning season.

The average size of these fish in our area is 1 to 2 pounds, but in other areas like northern Florida, Louisiana and Texas, 5-pound “Gator trout” are fairly common. The current world record is over 17 pounds. They can be found anywhere from the western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, as far north as Massachusetts, all the way down to the Yucatan peninsula. Trout reach sexual maturity by the age of 2 years.

Scott’s fish, also known as ‘Gator trout,’ are part of the drum family.

Scott’s fish, also known as ‘Gator trout,’ are part of the drum family.

These fish are active most near dawn and dusk, and really like to feed the last hour or two of an incoming flood tide. The most common method for taking trout is by artificial jig with a soft plastic grub, Bucktail-type jigs, Berlkey Gulp Shrimp, DOA Shrimp, Baitbusters and just regular old live shrimp on a popping cork.

Remember, the Ten Thousand Islands are located in the “South Region” and have regulations specific to the region. Currently, each angler can keep four trout. The fish must be larger than 15 inches but smaller than 20 inches. Each angler is allowed to have just one fish within that four fish max over 20 inches. The measurements are “total length,” which means you pinch the tail to determine its absolute longest length.

The spotted sea trout makes for excellent tablefare with a firm, white meat. Some trout caught may have worms embedded in the flesh. Apparently, the worms cannot survive in man even if the sea trout is eaten raw. The worms can easily be removed when the fish is cleaned to make the meat more appealing. The spotted sea trout has an excellent flavor and texture. Remember that care of the fish between landing and the skillet is important. Clean and place your fish on ice as rapidly as possible. The delicate meat of the trout loses quality rapidly if left unchilled, especially during warm weather.

Lee with a nice trout. PHOTOS BY PETE RAPPS

Lee with a nice trout. PHOTOS BY PETE RAPPS

You can find some excellent trout recipes on my website (www.CaptainRapps.com), both in video format and in writing with photos. Remember, please only take what you will eat for dinner; let them continue to thrive for generations to come. Need lessons or want to go fishing for some spotted sea trout? Give us a call.

About The Author

Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park. Capt. Rapps’ top notch fleet accommodates men, women, & children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Between their vast knowledge & experience of the area, and easy going demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class web site for Booking info, Videos, Recipes, Seasonings, and more at www.CaptainRapps.com 

[email_link]

 


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For a Mixed Bag, Choose Shrimp http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/23/for-a-mixed-bag-choose-shrimp/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/23/for-a-mixed-bag-choose-shrimp/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 15:16:39 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=35564 LADY ANGLERS
Captain Mary A. Fink
islandgirlscharters.com

Freelined shrimp rigged through the tail. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Freelined shrimp rigged through the tail. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Very few people can deny that shrimp are a tasty treat, and nearly all salt water fish concur. In fact, local species like sheepshead and black drum can be caught only on shrimp or other crustaceans. It is my belief that shrimp provide enticing bait offerings, but this is especially true during the winter months when water temperatures are cooler making it easier to keep the shrimp alive for extended periods, as shrimp are delicate crustaceans that tend to perish quickly.

Additionally, finding and catching baitfish is more challenging during cooler winter months when cold fronts can play havoc with water visibility. Another real plus to using shrimp is that you are likely to enjoy a real mixed bag of fish, as virtually all game fish regularly make shrimp part of their diet.

Because shrimp are delicate, hooking them properly is important. Avoid hooking the shrimp through the middle of the body or head if it is your intention to keep the offering alive for some time. I recommend hooking the shrimp through the horn on the very top of the head or through the tail. If the shrimp is dead, try snipping off the head and tipping a 1/8 to 1/4 jig head with the body of the shrimp. This way, the jig head actually acts as the shrimp head and provides a well presented offering. Shrimp can be rigged either on a jig head, a bare hook or tipped on artificial bait.

Another consideration I suggest is matching shrimp size with your targeted fish species. For example, small shrimp are most effective for pompano, which tend to have a short bite, and sheepshead, which are avid bait stealers due to their impressive arsenal of small stout teeth perfect for crushing crustaceans which make up the mainstay of their diet. Small pieces of shrimp can be used effectively when fishing for snapper and other reef fish with small mouths, especially when found actively feeding in large schools. Larger, jumbo shrimp should be chosen when targeting species such as snook, tarpon, red fish and large trout.

Among the fish that focus on shrimp as a primary dietary source are members of the drum family, including seatrout, weakfish, red fish, black drum, whiting and croakers. Other local game fish that regularly feed on shrimp are snook, tarpon, pompano, snapper, jack crevalle, ladyfish and a host of others.

Rigged shrimp through the head, side to side.

Rigged shrimp through the head, side to side.

Shrimp are widespread, delicate crustaceans that live in all coastal areas where they feed on the bottom. So when choosing shrimp on your next fishing trip, try to keep the offering on or near the bottom for the most enticing presentation. An exception to this may be when free lining for yellow tail off of a reef, as often done in the Florida Keys.

Shrimp can be utilized just about anywhere from areas of abundant mangrove structure, to docks, bridges, offshore reefs and ledges. Using the incredible, edible shrimp for bait in our local fish rich paradise will surely increase your chances of catching a mixed bag of local game fish favorites today.

Tight Lines!

 

Captain Mary specializes in fishing the beautiful Ten Thousand Islands. She holds a “six pack” captains license and has a knack for finding fish. A passionate angler possessing over 35 years of extensive experience in both back country and offshore fishing, Mary offers fishing expeditions through her Island Girls Charters company. When fishing with Captain Mary, you will be exposed to a variety of successful techniques including cast and retrieve, drift fishing, bottom fishing and sight fishing.  Visit www.islandgirlscharters.com to learn about fishing with Capt. Mary. Or reach her at 239-571-2947.


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Weather Wreaks Havoc on Wildlife http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/18/weather-wreaks-havoc-on-wildlife/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/18/weather-wreaks-havoc-on-wildlife/#comments Wed, 18 Dec 2013 13:57:09 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=35167 By Natalie Strom
natalie@coastalbreezenews.com

Mike Richie holds a pygmy octopus before gently tossing it back to sea.

Mike Richie holds a pygmy octopus before gently tossing it back to sea.

The week of November 25 through December 1 was a strange week on the beach for many of the city’s volunteer beach stewards. A recent storm front and some odd activities led to an unusually large amount of marine mammal life to be washed ashore on Marco’s beaches.

First up, octopi. In one day, a beach steward found eight stranded on the shore as he monitored the beach. Another one was found on Sand Dollar Beach in the same week. Of the nine, six were still alive and were able to be returned to the water. These octopi were small in size, only about six inches or so.

Commonly found close to shore and throughout Florida, the Caribbean Sea to Guyanas, Bahamas and the West Indies, the scientific name for these invertebrates is Octopus joubini. Commonly, they are referred to as the Atlantic pygmy octopus.

Small in size, the pygmy octopus is not poisonous, but does have a beak in the center between its eight tentacles that can cause a bit of a bite. If you see a live stranded pygmy, it is recommended that you gently pick it up by its bulbous head and gently toss it back into the water. If it does catch a quick bite, simply wash the bite and clean it as you would any other small injury.

Next up: dead hammerhead sharks. Environmental Specialist Nancy Richie noted that since May about a dozen dead sharks have been found on the beach. During the above stated week, two hammerheads were found dead on the shore. Richie and many others believe the causation is due to improper catch and release methods. “Many people out fishing on the beach don’t realize how easy it is to catch a small to mid-size shark there. They aren’t prepared for the catch and are scared to unhook the shark.” Fishing at night makes a shark catch even more likely as that is their feeding time.

“Sharks are tricky when caught,” adds Richie. “Unfortunately, these sharks didn’t just wash up on shore, they were probably left to die.”

According to FWCC, to increase shark survival rates, the proper catch and release methods are:

• Use tackle heavy enough to land a fish quickly to reduce exhaustion, which could result in its death or weaken it making it more vulnerable to predators. (Prohibited species that die while on the line after being caught in state waters should be returned to the water.)

• Release the fish while it is in the water when possible.

• Use a de-hooking device to remove hooks safely.

• Use non-stainless steel hooks – these hooks can dissolve if they remain in a fish.

• Use non-offset circle hooks when fishing with natural bait to avoid gut hooking a fish – circle hooks tend to hook fish in the jaw, making them easy to remove.

• Bend barbs down on hooks so they can be removed with less damage to a fish.

For more information, visit www.myfwc.com.

Finally, pen shells. All three of the varieties found here in Florida, were found dead on the beach. According to Richie, “they are bivalves distantly related to mussels. They are filter feeders that live in colonies, anchored in soft sediment of the Gulf out to about 20 foot depths.” They were likely washed in by the storms as were the octopi.

As for the pilot whales stranded near Everglades City we’ve all heard about in the past few weeks, they came along just after the activity on Marco. It is a mystery as to why pilot whales – or any whales for that matter – beach themselves. However, among the possible reasons are disease and environmental factors such as red tide and weather patterns.

Whether it’s the weather or some other odd cause, these incidents are all naturally occurring, yet not necessarily common – other than the dead sharks, of course. Luckily, a majority of the pilot whales and pygmy octopi were able to survive thanks to the watchful eyes of their human counterparts.

 

 


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Morgan Stanley Triple Crown Tourney http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/18/morgan-stanley-triple-crown-tourney/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/18/morgan-stanley-triple-crown-tourney/#comments Wed, 18 Dec 2013 13:35:23 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=35150 By Victor Ordija

Al Jennings won first place in the Morgan Stanley Triple Crown fishing tournament and a cash prize of $285 by catching a Tarpon, Snook and Redfish over a three month period beginning on the 1st of August and ending on October 31st.

The tournament, which is run by the Marco Sportsfishing Club (MSC), requires all three species of fish to be caught by participating anglers, and the goal is to catch the largest Snook and Redfish, and a Tarpon exceeding 30 inches.

The annual contest which began three years ago has evolved into a challenging and competitive tournament geared towards the serious angler that can commit a significant amount of time and effort over a three month period. The investment firm of Morgan Stanley has partnered with the Marco Sportsfishing Club adding prestige and additional financial benefits so that a total of five cash awards are offered to the top five anglers.

An important change that was made in this year’s contest is the suspension of the requirement that the length of a Tarpon be measured when the fish was brought to the boat. It was determined that an accurate measurement was too difficult and added both unacceptable stress to the fish and additional risk to the angler. Also, the use of a gaff has been prohibited so as to eliminate potential injury to the fish.

In order to register a caught Tarpon, the angler only needed to touch the leader and take a photograph of the fish in the water provided the photograph clearly depicted the fish as being a Tarpon. Once the angler successfully registered a Tarpon, he or she was automatically awarded a 5.5 foot Tarpon (66 points) regardless of the size of the fish caught. Every inch is worth one point.

While the rule change did not make catching a Tarpon less difficult, the change made registering a caught Tarpon easier and safer for the angler and less stressful on the fish. Participating anglers caught eighteen Tarpon in 2013 compared to only seven fish in the previous year.

An additional change in this year’s tournament is the requirement that any Snook and Redfish caught and registered be aligned along a ruler, measured and photographed. For all Snook and Redfish that are caught and reported, every inch is worth two points. It should be noted that while MSC encourages catch and release in the tournament, legal fish may be kept and only fish that are to be eaten should be kept.

Thirty-six MSC anglers participated in the tournament. All the anglers in the top five places caught all three fish species (Tarpon, Snook and Redfish).

In addition to catching a Tarpon, Al Jennings caught a 39.5” Snook and a 27.75” Redfish for a total of 200.5 points and a cash prize of $28. Jennings will have his name engraved on the perpetual plaque that will hang in the Marco Island office of Morgan Stanley.

In second place was Tom Kraemer with a 37” Snook and a 30.25” Redfish; also with 200.5 points and a cash prize of $235. Under the rules, the earliest fish caught breaks a tie. Jennings caught a Tarpon on August 3, 2013 and his was the earliest fish.

Third place went to Allan Bristow with a 32.75” Snook and a 32” Redfish for a total of 195.5 points and a cash prize of $185.

Fourth place was taken by this writer, Victor Ordija with a 32” Snook and a 32.25” Redfish, 194.5 points and a cash prize of $135.

Rounding out fifth place was Bobbie Ordija, the highest placed woman in the tournament standings with 183.5 points. Bobbie Ordija caught a 32” Snook and a 26.75” Redfish which earned her a cash prize of $85.

While the Morgan Stanley Triple Crown Tournament is a challenging and competitive contest, it is also very laid back from the standpoint that it allows the individual angler to fish at his or her own pace. The angler can fish at any time; both day or night, anywhere within the backwater boundaries established by MSC and with any other angler or alone. It allows for experimentation by choosing different baits both live and artificial as well as fishing techniques, presentation, etc. The goal is the catch the largest fish with respect to Snook and Redfish and to also catch the elusive and hard to land Tarpon. At the end of the contest, the participant will be a better angler and more respectful of our precious environment.

The Marco Sportfishing Club is a non-profit organization comprised of more than 370 fishermen, boaters and outdoor enthusiasts who live in the Marco Island, FL area. In addition to enjoying all the outdoor activities this beautiful Southwest Florida location has to offer, the Club prides itself in its ability to “give back” to the community. Members of the club are active and involved in the community and have been instrumental in organizing and staffing many events that teach local children the joys of fishing and good fishing etiquette. The events and organizations MSC has been involved with include the Marco Island Cub Scouts, Marco Island Historical Museum, National Estuaries Day at Rookery Bay, The Naples Kids Fishing Clinic, Goodland’s Birthday Celebration, Naples Botanical Gardens, and the Port of the Isles Kids Fishing Clinic. To find out more about the Marco Sportfishing Club, please go to their website: www.marcosportfishingclub.com.

 


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Winter Fishery Changes in 10,000 Islands http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/04/winter-fishery-changes-in-10000-islands/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/04/winter-fishery-changes-in-10000-islands/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 19:20:19 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=34997 FOLLOW THE FISH
Capt. Pete Rapps
CaptainRapps@gmail.com

Winter water temps change, but the fishing doesn't have to. PHOTOS BY PETE RAPPS

Winter water temps change, but the fishing doesn’t have to. PHOTOS BY PETE RAPPS

Every year around this time, we see some major changes to our local fishery. Around the middle of the December we typically see our first major cold front come rolling through. We have already seen a few minor cold fronts come through in November which brought the night temperatures down into the 50’s. The fronts also brought some days where the wind hit 20+ mph. Expect Gulf water temperatures to drop down into the mid 60’s later this month.

Be extremely diligent in December, and be certain to do your homework by reviewing local tides before planning your fishing trip. We have some serious low tides predicted both around the New and Full moon phases in December. On the mornings of the 1st to the 6th, and 16th to the 20th you will wonder who let all of the water out of the drink! Every December I see aggravated anglers pacing impatiently at the launch ramp while they wait hours for enough tide to come in just so they can get their boats off the trailer. If they had only looked at the tide chart, they could have slept a few hours later. I use the tide chart on www.coastalbreezenews.com or www.SaltwaterTides.com.

The near shore flats are alive with action, and if you can get out on a beautiful sunny day without much wind, you will be rewarded with sore arms! All sorts of action fish will enthusiastically take what you bring to offer. I like to start out fishing the 3-5’ grass flats on an incoming tide with a bucktail type jig. Try using jigs with a lot of flash in the tail like a Don’s Potbelly Jig. Grab a handful because the fish go crazy over them, and will most likely tear them into pieces on you. I like to throw them using 10lb line, with 2’ of 20lb fluorocarbon leader. Trout, Reds, Snook, Mackerel, Bluefish, Ladyfish, Pompano, Jacks, and just about everything in between will hit them.

Jigs with lots of flash will attract a big catch like these redfish.

Jigs with lots of flash will attract a big catch like these redfish.

The backwaters have come alive with action too. Target Snook for some great “Catch and Release” action in the mid backwater creeks and back bays. They will most likely be hiding in the deeper mangrove root pockets waiting for their next meal to swim by on the outgoing tide. Try a Gulp Shrimp, live shrimp, or better yet some live Pilchards!

Sheepshead and Mangrove Snapper will become a regular catch on the hard oyster bottoms and deep mangrove root pockets in the Gulf side mouths of the many rivers in the 10,000 Islands. They both can be had with just a live shrimp and a little finesse.

Need some lessons? Book a charter and we’ll show you how it’s done!

About The Author

Captain Rapps’ Charters & Guides offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10,000 Islands of the Everglades National Park. Capt. Rapps’ top notch fleet accommodates men, women, & children of all ages, experienced or not, and those with special needs. Between their vast knowledge & experience of the area, and easy going demeanors, you are guaranteed to have a great day. Book your charter 24/7 using the online booking calendar, and see Capt. Rapps’ first class web site for Booking info, Videos, Recipes, Seasonings, and more at www.CaptainRapps.com 

[email_link]

 


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Hunt for Reds in October http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/11/06/hunt-for-reds-in-october/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/11/06/hunt-for-reds-in-october/#comments Wed, 06 Nov 2013 14:24:05 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=34436 By Howard Laskau
Marco Sportfishing Club

Winners of the Saturday tournament: The Red Assasins, Captain Nick Milillo and Joe Varano.

Winners of the Saturday tournament: The Red Assasins, Captain Nick Milillo and Joe Varano.

Marco Sportfishing Club’s “Hunt for Reds in October” got off to a great start early Saturday morning, October 12, as 40 anglers headed out to the Gulf and the 10,000 Islands in search of two prize-winning redfish.

The “Hunt for Reds in October” is actually two separate fishing tournaments held during MSC’s “Redfish Week.” During this week, MSC club members spend about as much time fishing as they do eating and drinking! “Redfish Saturday” which took place on October 12, involved teams of two anglers whose goal is to bring in the two largest “slot-size” redfish. Current FWC regulations define “slot-size” as between 18 and 27 inches.

This tournament was followed by Marco Sportfishing Club’s signature event…Redfish VIII on October 15 and 16. This tournament is a two-day event in which the anglers compete for individual, boat and team prizes in a number of categories.

Walker’s Marine was the primary sponsor of the tournament, and not surprisingly, Walker’s Coon Key Marina was used as the venue for the tournament on Saturday. Yamaha Motor Corporation and Maverick Boat Company were secondary sponsors of the tournament.

Anglers returned to the Marina at 2:30 PM on Saturday for the Hunt Tournament, and the live weigh-in started. Excitement built as each boat pulled up to the docks to unload their catch and have it weighed. Names on the leader board changed a number of times as bigger fish replaced smaller ones. When all the boats had checked in, the “Red Assassins” team of Captain Nick Milillo and Joe Varano came out on top with a combined weight of 8.46 pounds of redfish. The happy crew earned $500 for their efforts! Close behind, with 8.22 pounds of redfish, was Team “Cool Change” with Captain Keith Wohltman and Jay Jones. Third place went to “The Northern Boys” with Captain Dick Yeaton and Phil Madonia.

Teams of two brought in their two largest live redfish to be weighed.

Teams of two brought in their two largest live redfish to be weighed.

In the Redfish VIII competition that took place on Tuesday, October 15 and Wednesday, October 16, there were a total of 30 boats and 66 anglers. A majority of the anglers who fished in the Saturday tournament came back to try their luck in the two-day event as well. Over the course of the two-day tournament, MSC anglers caught a total of 93 redfish with a combined total length of 1,987 inches. Stretched end to end, those 93 fish would cover more than half of a football field! There were a number of noteworthy performances during the event… including a “trophy redfish” measuring 39 ½ inches caught by Dick Yeaton. Jay Jones landed a Redfish with eight spots, and in the “wildcard” category, Bobbie Ordija was thrilled to catch a 32” Snook and win top honors in that category. Team Knot-Head (Capt. Pete Arcidiacono and Steve Wainman) took the top spot in the two-person boat category as a result of Steve’s “legendary” performance in the last hours of the competition. After a disappointing Day One and a slow start to Day Two, Steve ended up with six redfish on Tuesday, to push his boat over the top to win their division with a total of eight redfish totaling 168 inches for the two days. In the three-person boat division Team Therapy (Capt. Chris Edgar, Kay-Lee Edgar and Fred Kouhi ) was the top boat with a total of eight redfish measuring a total of 167 inches.

The week was capped off with an Awards Banquet held at Bistro Soleil Restaurant. Chef Denis Meurgue prepared a feast for the hungry fishermen and their guests. As the wine and beer flowed, awards were distributed, and as anyone would expect when fishermen get together… many “fish tales” were told.

The Marco Sportfishing Club is a non-profit organization comprised of more than 350 fishermen, boaters and outdoor enthusiasts who live in the Marco Island, FL area. In addition to enjoying all the outdoor activities this beautiful Southwest Florida location has to offer, the Club prides itself in its ability to “give back” to the community. Members of the club are active and involved in the community and have been instrumental in organizing and staffing many events that teach local children the joys of fishing and good fishing etiquette. The events and organizations MSC has been involved with include the Marco Island Cub Scouts, Marco Island Historical Museum, National Estuaries Day at Rookery Bay, The Naples Kids Fishing Clinic, Goodland’s Birthday Celebration, Naples Botanical Gardens, and the Port of the Isles Kids Fishing Clinic. To find out more about the Marco Sportfishing Club, please go to their website: www.marcosportfishingclub.com.


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