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Salt Water Sportsman - May 2018

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gradywhite.com
Freedom 325
Table of Contents / Features
60
66
74
New Boats Roundup
Deepwater Doormats
Bluewater Yellows
AN EXCITING CROP OF
NEW FISHING BOATS
FOR 2018
DEEP WATERS FROM
MASSACHUSETTS THROUGH
NEW JERSEY HOLD
TROPHY-SIZE FLUKE
CALIFORNIA’S OFFSHORE
SEASON STARTS WITH
YELLOWTAILS UNDER
FLOATING KELP
By SWS Staff
By Nick Honachefsky
By Jim Hendricks
52
Hatteras Insider
ON THE
COVER
WELCOME ABOARD: A fat yellowfin tuna comes over
the gunwale after a tough tug of war.
PHOTO BY: Sam Farkas
6 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
RIC BURNLEY
By Ric Burnley
WHO CARES ABOUT PUTTING YOUR
LURE RIGHT ON TOP OF FISH?
YOU SHOULD.
GPSMAP® 1242xsv
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ACTIVECAPTAIN™ APP READY
CHIRP + CLEARVÜ + SIDEVÜ BLUECHART® G2 + LAKEVÜ HD NETWORK CAPABLE & CONTROL KNOB WITH BUILT-IN WIFI®
© 2018 Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries. Wi-Fi® is a registered trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance.
Table of Contents / Departments
TALK ON THE DOCK
FLOAT PL AN
TACTICS + TACKLE
P.14
P.42
P.33
14 / Casts + Blasts
42 / Boat Talk
The Versatile Bay Boat
22 / Reader’s Catch
CAPT. DAVE LEAR
24 / Salt Water Kids
P.24
P.42
26 / New Gear
28 / Conservation
Seeing Red
38 / Rigger’s Notebook
DIY Trolling Planer
Boards
SWS STAFF
46 / Electronics
Bird-Watching
40 / Angler’s Galley
Sesame-Crusted Salmon with Roasted Sweet
Potatoes and Spicy
Fish-Sauce Vinaigrette
BRANDON MCGLAMERY
JIM HENDRICKS
RIP CUNNINGHAM
P.26
P.46
FISHABILITY
P.82
12 / Editorial
Eye on the Donut
GLENN LAW
82 / Fishability
82 / Blackfin 272 CC
86 / Robalo R317
P.33
90 / Traveling Fisherman
P.82
98 / Backcast
Dues to Pay
Circle Hooks for Casting Lures
Tackle modifications that boost your hookups
GEORGE POVEROMO
DOUG PIKE
P.86
8 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
SALT WATER SPORTSMAN MAGAZINE Volume 79 Number 5 (ISSN 0036-3618, USPS 478-380) is published
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THE FISHING AUTHORITY FOR 79 YEARS
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10 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
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Editorial
Eye on the Donut
By
Glenn Law
GIVEN THAT WE’RE LIVING IN CONTENTIOUS, PARTISAN
TIMES IN THIS COUNTRY, THERE’S REFRESHING NEWS
REGARDING FISHERIES MANAGEMENT.
The Modernizing
Recreational Fisheries
Management Act of 2017,
known as the Modern
Fish Act, which presents
amendments to the
Magnuson-Stevens Act
that represent anglers’
interests, passed the Senate
Committee in February with
bipartisan support.
The act incorporates many
of the recommendations
by the Morris-Deal
Commission, which we’ve
discussed here over the past
couple of years, and while
there’s still a ways to go to
final passage, this latest move
was significant.
It’s been a long battle, and
the Modern Fish Act is still
getting its share of criticism,
some from our own ranks,
among anglers.
Much of the mainstream
media presents the issue as
anglers’ right to fish versus
the environmentalists’ right
to healthy resources, which is
misguided and lacks subtlety,
though it does feed into
the national atmosphere of
contention and dogma.
The labels are convenient,
if inaccurate. Pitting
environmentalists against
anglers leaves out those of us
who consider ourselves both.
True, an environmentalist
is not necessarily an angler.
But the converse fails to
hold true. When fishing is
important to you, so are the
environs in which it takes
place. I don’t know any
fishermen who’d be satisfied
to pursue hatchery fish in an
urban sewer.
The labels ofer
convenience, but reactivity
moves faster than the speed
of thought and only plays
into the national impasse,
when actually our goals are
the same.
There’s some discussion
that elements of the Act
are present already in
Magnuson-Stevens, which
begs the question, then why
haven’t they worked for us?
Another objection seems
to be the abandonment of
science-based management.
But no one seems to be able
to identify just exactly what
science is being abandoned.
Maybe the population
surveys that are left over
from the last century? Or
the red snapper census that
took place over barren sand
bottom rather than where
those fish live?
One of the more
obtuse objections is that
recreational interests are
focusing on their economic
contribution to the national
economy. Really?
It took decades for anglers
to recognize that, in dealing
with the Department of
Commerce, presenting
ourselves as a vital
commercial benefit carries
more weight going into battle
than a heartfelt love song
to the outdoor experience.
While the aesthetics of the
outdoors is one reason we
fish, we’re making our case
here with the Department of
Commerce, not the National
Endowment for the Arts.
It wasn’t until we
presented our economics
case that anything
substantial happened.
Once we defined our
economic benefit to the
nation, NOAA Fisheries
issued the first National
Saltwater Recreational
Fisheries Policy in 2015. The
first ever. That watershed
event established a revised
playing field.
Granted, the Modern
Fish Act may be imperfect,
but it represents a big step
forward toward a more sane
management philosophy.
As we know, there’s peril
in letting the perfect be the
enemy of the good. Starting
over from scratch is a
dead end.
We’re not going to solve
any of our problems by
moving backward. You might
as well bemoan the overly
technical fishing boat and
ditch your chart plotter and
fish finder as a solution, to
return to a simpler time and
simpler way of fishing. Good
luck with that.
We can look to the past for
lessons, but not for models.
Glenn Law
Editor-in-Chief
glenn.law@bonniercorp.com
12 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
Talk on the Dock
CASTS + BLASTS
FRIEND OR
FOE: Will plans
to divert the
Mississippi hurt
the marine life?
NEWS LINES
As the state of Louisiana is ready to invest close to $2 billion on Mississippi River
sediment-diversion projects to replenish sinking and eroding wetlands, questions
surface about the potential efects on the estuarine marine life.
Before the Mississippi River’s
extensive levee system was built,
sediment flowed freely into southeast
Louisiana’s marshes and swamps when
the river overflowed its natural banks.
Now, much of the sediment stays in
the river and gets channeled into the
Gulf of Mexico instead of spilling out to
surrounding wetlands.
The state of Louisiana plans to
build two large sediment diversions
in Plaquemines Parish as major tools
for estuary restoration, replicating the
14 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
Mississippi River’s wider flow of sediment while keeping levees intact.
As reported by the Times-Picayune,
the $1.3 billion Mid-Barataria
Sediment Diversion would send as
much as 75,000 cubic feet per second
of water and sediment to Barataria Bay
during high-river periods — through
a controlled opening in the West
Bank levee near Myrtle Grove — to
reduce land-loss rates and sustain
wetlands damaged by the BP oil
spill; the $696 million Mid-Breton
Sediment Diversion would allow up to
35,000 cubic feet per second of water
and sediment to flow into Breton
Sound, introducing 70 million tons of
sediment to the basin over 50 years.
Many conservation groups support
the diversions, but both projects are
raising concerns about the efects on
marine life and certain wildlife species. While the long-term impacts of
the state’s plan to unleash the Mississippi River into its coastal marshes
continued
R G B V E N T U R ES / S U P E R STO C K / A L A M Y STO C K P H OTO
Louisiana Wetland Replenishing
Efforts Raise Concerns
Twenty years ago, my mother
was diagnosed with lung
cancer. She had very few
places to turn, and lost a
diffi cult struggle.
And yet, more than 30% of all
lung cancer patients still don’t
know about the therapies,
specialists, and clinical trials
available to them.
Today, we are on the brink
of real breakthroughs in lung
cancer research and there
are signifi cantly improved
treatment options.
Lung cancer is a formidable
foe, but we are fi nding new
ways to fi ght it. Please visit
SU2C.org/LungCancer for
questions to ask your health
care professional and to
learn about options that
may be right for you.
Photo Credit: Kevin Lynch
Tony Goldwyn
Stand Up To Cancer
Ambassador
SU2C.org/LungCancer
Stand Up To Cancer is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
MY MOM DIDN’T HAVE MANY OPTIONS.
TODAY’S LUNG CANCER PATIENTS DO.
TOD / Casts + Blasts
NEWS LINES
Louisiana Wetland Replenishing Efforts
Raise Concerns
SAFMC Delays Cobia
Management Changes
continued from page 14
are the focus of studies and
much discussion, many of
Louisiana’s commercial and
recreational fishers believe
more needs to be done to
understand the efects in the
first five years of the projects.
State officials recently
conducted a survey that
asked people — mostly
involved directly in
Louisiana’s fishing industry
— questions about the state’s
plans for the Mississippi
River diversions; 98 percent
of those surveyed considered it essential to focus on
the short-term ecological
and economic impacts.
How the diverted river
water would change salinity
in the bays was the biggest
concern, followed by the
flow rate of the diversions
and the time of year when
they would be opened,
since the excess of fresh
water could kill oysters and
drive shrimp, crabs and fish
farther out into the Gulf
of Mexico.
“People can no longer
question whether the
Mid-Barataria Diversion
is going to happen,” said
Patrick Banks with the
Louisiana Department
of Wildlife and Fisheries.
“It’s coming!” The Trump
administration agreed in
January to speed up permitting for the project, but an
environmental review will
still be required.
16 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
The South Atlantic Fishery
Management Council
decided to delay approval of
an amendment to remove
Atlantic cobia from the
current federal management plan.
The amendment is designed to reduce complicated
regulations and improve
flexibility in the management of Atlantic cobia from
Georgia to New York. If
approved by the Secretary
of Commerce, the move
would allow for the fishery
to be managed solely by the
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
The current management
boundary between Florida
and Georgia was established
following a 2013 stock
assessment. The public has
expressed concerns about
the boundary change since
that time, and after reviewing
public comments and considering various management
alternatives and timing, the
council decided to wait until
its June 11-15 meeting, when
preliminary results from a
Cobia Stock ID workshop and
Advisory Panel recommendations would be available
for consideration, before
moving forward.
At the most recent meeting, council members also
heard concerns from legal
counsel that the document
should further specify what
will happen to regulations
in federal waters before said
amendment’s approval.
Our stars come out at night.
From bridges teeming with tarpon and snook to swordfish
prowling down deep, the night fishing in Key Largo is
out of this world. In fact, it’s right up there with the
daytime fishing, which is nothing short of stellar.
fla-keys.com/keylargo 1.800.822.1088
TOD / Casts + Blasts
NEWS LINES
West Coast Salmon Lag
As Conditions Improve
from 2014 through 2016
disrupted the California
Current ecosystem, ocean
conditions across most of
the West Coast are returning
to average. However, some
afterefects persist.
The central and southern
parts of the West Coast
face low snow pack and
potential drought in 2018,
putting salmon at risk
as they migrate back up
coastal rivers to spawn. And
while plankton species, the
foundation of the marine
food web, have shifted back
slightly toward the fat-rich,
cool-water species that
improve the growth and
survival of salmon and other
SLOW REBOUND:
Lasting effects of the past marine
heat wave continue to plague West
Coast salmon.
fish, recent research found
fewer juvenile salmon, and
consequently adult salmon
returns will likely remain
depressed until successive
generations benefit from
improving ocean conditions.
Salmon may need more
time to show the benefits,
the report said. Specimens
sampled of the northwest
coast in 2017 were especially
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18 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
small and scarce, suggesting
poor feeding conditions
linger of the Columbia
River estuary. Juvenile
salmon that enter the ocean
this year will not return to
spawn in the Columbia and
other rivers for two years or
more, so fishermen should
not expect adult salmon
numbers to improve much
until then.
W I L L I A M M U L L I N S / A L A M Y STO C K P H OTO
The annual California
Current Ecosystem Status
Report, which informs the
Pacific Fishery Management
Council about conditions
and trends that afect species
and fishing in the entire West
Coast marine ecosystem,
was recently released. While
there is cause for optimism,
the immediate future of
salmon remains bleak.
“Overall, we’re seeing
some positive signs as the
ocean returns to a more
productive state,” said
Toby Garfield, a research
scientist and acting director
of the Southwest Fisheries
Science Center. After the
extreme marine heat wave
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TOD / Casts + Blasts
NEWS LINES
Dispensation
of Sport Fish
Restoration
Grants
Announced
NEWS LINES
Farewell
to Lefty
The angling community
mourns the loss of Bernard
“Lefty” Kreh, who died on
March 14 at his home in
Cockeysville, Maryland, at
the age of 93.
So pervasive was Lefty’s
imprint and influence on
modern angling that his last
name is scarcely necessary
in conversation, especially
among fly-fishers. His fly
pattern, Lefty’s Deceiver,
remains a staple in fly boxes
everywhere and was commemorated with a postage
stamp in 1991. He authored
more than 30 books, including Fly Casting with Lefty
Kreh, which introduced a
then-radical approach to
fly-casting that redefined
the fundamentals, codifying
the mechanics and incorporating advancements in
tackle, and Fly Fishing in Salt
Water, which acquainted
fly anglers with a rapidly
developing new aspect of the
sport and today remains a
valuable primer.
Through the years, Lefty
kept a full schedule of
20 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
EFFORTLESS:
His tight loops
barely hinted
at Lefty’s allencompassing
mastery of flyfishing, above.
ROCK STAR:
Despite his
worldwide
acclaim, Kreh
remained
approachable
and engaging.
appearances, was featured
in videos and on television,
weighed in on tackle design
for top brands, and wrote
innumerable magazine
articles, many for Salt Water
Sportsman, a publication in
which he held a masthead
position from 1990 until
2017, when he retired from
public activities and fishing
adventures.
Lefty was one of a kind, but
for all his accomplishments
during a long, prolific career,
he will most of all be remembered for the thousands of
fly-casters whose game he
elevated, ofering advice and
coaching, usually with an
always-ready joke or quip.
In a letter disseminated
via email in October, Lefty
announced his health no
longer allowed him to follow
the active lifestyle he’d maintained for decades, but that
he had plenty of projects at
home, and true to form, that
he was “busier than a Syrian
bricklayer.” In closing, he
thanked all his friends, saying: “I’m busy and content,
but I want you to know I am
so appreciative you’ve shared
your lives with me.”
JAY N I C H O LS ( TO P ) ; ESTAT E O F L E F T Y K R E H ( B OT TO M )
U.S. Secretary of
the Interior Ryan
Zinke recently joined
Lieutenant Governor
of Wisconsin Rebecca
Kleefisch to announce
the disbursement of
Sport Fish Restoration
and Boating Trust Fund
grants. The grants total
over $1.1 billion across the
United States. Wisconsin
received a check for
$34,966,603 that will
be used to support state
fish and wildlife agencies
for fisheries research,
habitat improvement,
aquatic education, and
fishing and boating access
facilities. The Sport Fish
Restoration and Boating
Trust Fund, also known
as Dingell-Johnson
grants, is funded from
fishing licenses and
manufacturers’ excise
taxes on sport-fishing
equipment, import duties
on fishing tackle, yachts
and pleasure craft, and
a portion of the gasoline
fuel tax attributable
to small engines and
motorboats. The grants,
which are distributed to
states on a yearly basis
via a formula, must be
used by the receiving
states’ fish and game
departments, and require
a match of 25 percent
nonfederal sources.
Other similar grant
announcements were
also made in the states of
Florida, Colorado
and Ohio.
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TOD / Reader’s Catch
Mutton
Wrangling
READER’S
CATCH
Randy Goodwin was
bottomfishing the reefs off
Islamorada, Florida, with
Capt. Alex Adler aboard
Kalex out of Bud N’ Mary’s
Marina when he tied into
this tough-fighting 15-pound
mutton snapper.
YOUR CATCH
To send in your catch photo, email us at
catches@saltwatersportsman.com.
DROP US A LINE
Got a piece of good news to share? Want to gripe? Like to see your thoughts on the pages of Salt Water Sportsman? Send your letters, manuscripts and any relevant comments
to editor@saltwatersportsman.com or via U.S. mail: SWS Editor, 460 N. Orlando Ave., Suite 200, Winter Park, FL 32789. Unsolicited manuscripts are welcomed but will not be
acknowledged or returned unless accompanied by an SASE. We are not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. CUSTOMER SERVICE AND SUBSCRIPTION
INQUIRIES: saltwatersportsman.com/cs or 800-759-2127. Outside the United States: 800-979-6828; Back Issues: 800-464-2819; Bulk Reprints: 877-652-5295, ext. 117.
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22 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
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TOD / Salt Water Kids
1
Jack Moder
5, North Carolina
Jack caught this snook on his Zebco 808,
drifting the flats off MacDill Air Force Base
in Tampa, Florida, in a canoe. When he isn’t
fishing, Jack plays hockey, lacrosse, and reads
anything about fishing or the outdoors.
2
Anthony Butch
5, New Jersey
Anthony loves nothing better than being on the
water fishing and has been going on the boat
since before he could walk. He’s been his dad’s
first mate since then and has caught almost as
many species as his father.
3
Tori Horvath
7, Pennsylvania
Tori loves fishing with her dad. She especially
enjoys landing her catches unassisted and
providing the family dinner. On her first trip
for summer flounder, she caught this 23-inch,
4-pound beauty off Ocean City, New Jersey.
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24 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
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TOD / Conservation
Seeing Red
THE QUAGMIRE CONTINUES AROUND
GULF RED SNAPPER MANAGEMENT
OK, OK, I get it. here has to be a
subject other than fisheries
management.
28 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
happen
to think
that
managing
resources
is simply
a commonsense and
science-based
efort that has no
political affiliation. If
I suggest that someone
is making stupid decisions,
then I don’t care whose side they
are on. It is simply a stupid decision, at
least in my opinion.
I have written about the Secretary
of Commerce’s (SOC) decision on
summer flounder and the State of
New Jersey, where the secretary
reversed the decision of the Atlantic
States Marine Fisheries Commission. This was within the secretary’s
authority, but it was a bad decision
and precedent because it put the
SOC in a position of making fishery
management decisions rather than
policy decisions for fishery managers
to carry out. What’s worse, there was
strong indication that this decision
was made for political reasons.
About a year ago, the red snapper
issue was at a rolling boil, as usual. The
recreational fishing industry in the
GOM had made a concerted efort with
its state and federal representatives
SHORTSIGHTED:
Failure to take the long view in
fisheries management leads to
a diminished resource.
to get more than a three-day fishing
season in federal waters. Who could
blame them? That is a stunningly
short season. They were successful in
convincing a group of Congressmen to
go to bat for them with the SOC to see
if he would extend the season. Back
to making management decisions,
not policy.
In several memos from a commerce
stafer in charge of policy and strategic
planning for the SOC, the idea of extending the season was laid out. While
the basic logic for making a decision
continued
VALERIY KACHAEV / AL AMY STOCK VECTOR; MILENA GARCES
It is likely that other
subjects exist, but as I
sit here sufering from
a case of cabin fever,
fisheries management
issues keep rising
By Rip
Cunningham
up like the mythical
Phoenix. Since I spend
a lot of time on fisheries
management, I have
been asked several
times what I think might be a reasonable solution to the red snapper
issue in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). My
answer is pretty much the same every
time: I honestly do not know.
What I do know is that the more decisions are made on political grounds
rather than science, the more complicated the issue gets. I don’t believe that
red snapper in the GOM is the only
species being turned into a political football. So, if past results are an
indicator for the future, we should all
be concerned. I have lost track of the
number of years this resource fight has
been going on, but it has been a while,
and we don’t seem to be much closer
to a resolution. In fact, new dynamics
seem to get added all the time, with
federal versus states rights, states versus states, and user groups defending
territory left and right. Let me make
this as clear as I can because in the past
I have been accused of being a flaming
liberal and a radical-right proponent. I
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TOD / Conservation
Seeing Red
continued from page 28
seemed straightforward, one important piece of the puzzle was skipped.
There was also an efort to coordinate
the length of the recreational red snapper season for both federal and Gulf
state waters. It was and is a great idea,
but it is not legally doable under the
Magnuson Stevens Act. In the memo
to the SOC, this fact was pointed out. It
read: “An action to extend the summer
“... fishery
management
decisions in the U.S.
have become ‘notably
worse’ over the last
10 years ...”
season to 46 days would be very well
received and would reset the relationship with the states. It would result
in overfishing the stock by 6 million
pounds (40 percent), which will draw
criticism from environmental and
commercial fishermen.”
The memo continued on to say:
“Under the Magnuson Stevens Act, a
court can’t issue a temporary restraining order, so your action would remain
in efect for at least 45 days before
a court could act. This action would
demonstrate that the administration is serious about addressing this
long-standing problem.”
I say bravo in the efort to try to
resolve this problem, but I do wonder
about the idea of knowingly contravening fishery management law to
get to a resolution. This can go in the
cubbyhole labeled “good idea, poorly
executed.”
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30 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
Just prior to Congress’ Christmas
break, the House Committee on Natural
Resources acted favorably on the Red
Snapper Act H.R. 3588, which would
give the Gulf states more autonomy in
managing this fish. Can that work? I
think that it is possible, but since this is
being incorporated into the overhaul of
the Magnuson Stevens Act, where the
mantra is flexibility in rebuilding timelines and where the chair of the House
Committee on Natural Resources has
said that fishery management decisions in the U.S. have become “notably
worse” over the last 10 years, resulting
in too many restrictions on fishermen
(Greenwire, December 2013), I have my
concerns that the outcome will benefit
the resource.
Whatever the outcome, I maintain
that resource management and politics
make strange bedfellows, and the resource is the likely loser.
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Tactics +
Tackle
ON THE
FLY
ONLINE
BY
Flies to fool
tripletail and
the tactics to
catch them.
GEORGE POVEROMO
saltwatersportsman.com
/ONTHEFLY
LURE MODS:
Circle-hook swapouts often improve
the hookup rate
with a range of baits
and artificials.
JON WHITTLE
Circle Hooks
for Casting
Lures
TACKLE MODIFICATIONS
THAT BOOST YOUR HOOKUPS
George
Poveromo
Landing more
fish is as easy
as swapping
hooks on your
favorite lure.
It seemingly goes against the grain.
Can a circle hook affixed to a casting,
topwater or subsurface lure bolster
successful hookups? When fishing
with traditional casting lures, we
rear back during the strike to set
treble- or J-style hooks.
continued
MAY 2018 - SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM 33
Tactics + Tackle
Insert floss through lure eye
and lock with overhand knot
Match circle hook
to lure
Circle Hooks for
Casting Lures
continued from page 33
34 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
Hook bait
as usual (jig
adds weight)
JIG AND LIVE-CRAB VARIATION:
Fitting a circle-hooked crab with a jig
head provides extra weight and an
additional hook.
KUDOS TO MOLA
An earlier pioneer of replacing stock
hooks with circle hooks on lures is Rick
Mola of Fisherman’s World in Norwalk,
Connecticut. Nearly two decades ago,
seeking to minimize the throat- and
gut-hooking of striped bass and bluefish
on diamond jigs, Mola replaced the
stock treble hook with a single circle
hook. He experienced a nearly perfect
hookup-to-catch ratio on his first outing because the bass and blues couldn’t
shake the circle hooks, which, ironically, had set in their jaws and lips. I
witnessed this firsthand while shooting
a television episode with Mola soon
after, and we covered it in Salt Water
Sportsman. Since the Mola experiment,
numerous coastal anglers jumped on
this bandwagon and continue to enhance their hookup ratios with striped
bass, bluefish, mackerel and tuna by
using diamond- and flutter-style irons
rigged with circle hooks.
VARIATION OF THE CIRCLE JIG
Back down Miami way, Smith often
drifts live shrimp and crabs on circle
hooks for tarpon, permit and snook
in inlets and passes. If some weight
is desired to bring a bait deeper, he
piggybacks a jig to the circle hook. “I
have a circle hook sized to the bait,”
says Smith. “Now, if I want a bait to go
deeper, I’ll take a jig the likes of a Hank
Brown Hookup and secure it tightly to
the outside bend of the circle hook with
half hitches of 50 or 70 waxed thread.
The directions for securing (outlined
above) are the same as with a plug;
only diference here is that you’re first
securing the thread to the eye of the
jig, then using half hitches to fasten it
to the circle hook. The companion jig
serves no purpose other than to add
ballast. You can leave its hook intact or
cut it of.”
The circle-hook/jig combo for tarpon
has roots going way back to Louisiana,
ILLUSTRATIONS BY STEVE SANFORD
Therefore, it’s only logical
that a casting lure rigged with
a circle hook should come
flying back to us under the
same treatment. But, as you’re
about to discover, that’s not
necessarily so.
Capt. Bouncer Smith has
been catching Miami Beach
tarpon for more than 50
years. A strong conservation
advocate, Smith has refined
his methods and rigs to inflict
minimal harm to tarpon and
other game fish. And his latest
innovation is a head-turner.
Given the vast population
of tarpon wintering in Miami,
Smith promotes lure fishing
when conditions permit. To
make it less harmful to the
fish and less dangerous to the
person removing the lure,
he experimented with circle
hooks paired to surface plugs
and also jigs. With the former,
nearly all the fish were jaw- or
lip-hooked, and his clients’
catch ratios soared.
“The hookup ratios of plugs
went from between 10 and 30
percent with stock hooks to
80 percent with a circle hook,”
Smith says, “and a tarpon,
— or any other fish for that
matter — can’t shake a wellplanted circle hook.”
Make six half
hitches above
the lure eye
and six below
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Tactics + Tackle
Floss through lure eye; lock
in place with overhand knot
Attach a split
ring to circle
hook or swivel
Match circle-hook size
to target species
Remove original hooks,
or leave ’em for balance
and clip off points
TOPWATER-PLUG MODIFICATION
Original hook points may be clipped if the shanks
are needed to maintain proper lure action.
Otherwise, remove original hooks.
FLUTTER-JIG MODIFICATION:
Swapping hooks on a flutter or diamond jig is
easier. Use a split ring to affix a regular circle
hook, or one that comes with a swivel.
Circle Hooks for Casting Lures
with the fabled Coon Pop. Once a
tarpon was hooked, the heavy jig was
rigged to break away and not interfere
with the fight. Its negatives: another
heavy jig gone and more lead on the
ocean floor. Smith’s method is a bit
cleaner because his jig usually remains
attached to the hook.
of thread should be exposed on both
sides. Take one strand and tie six half
hitches around the bend of the circle
hook toward its hook eye. With the
remaining strand, tie six half hitches
around the bend of the hook toward its
point and trim the excess. That secures
the circle hook to the lure-eye ring.
BACK TO THE TOP
For topwater tarpon, Smith has refined
two lures: Rapala’s Skitter Walk and the
new Coastal Series Twitchin’ Mullet 8,
a slow-sinking, subsurface bait; though
he says just about any plug works with
proper tweaking.
The initial step is to match the size of
an in-line circle hook to the target fish.
In Smith’s case, it’s a 7/0 VMC lightwire circle. Next, he advises cutting
of around 16 inches of either 50 or 70
waxed thread, centering that strand
through the lure-eye ring and tying an
overhand knot to secure; about 8 inches
FINE-TUNING AND BALLAST
Some fine-tuning may be required to
maintain natural lure action. For example, Smith says every lure design has
its own issues, and some perform best
by leaving their stock hooks in place.
“The stock hooks sometime balance
out a lure after a circle hook is added to
the nose,” says Smith. “To keep such a
lure from nosediving and upsetting its
action, just leave the stock hooks alone.
They shouldn’t interfere with anything.
If you’re concerned over them, just clip
of the hook points and leave the shanks
for ballast.”
36 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
HOOK-SETS
Though there’s a marked diference
between casting lures and jigs, the one
constant is the proper hook-set. It’s
a discipline which must be mastered
with circle-hook modifications. On
the strike, whether with the iron or
topwater, do not rear back; the circle
hook will not likely set. Rather, hold the
rod in place during the strike, and wind
rapidly until you gain line and the fish
moves of. At this point, the circle hook
should be set, and a normal fighting
style can be resumed.
Smith says the circle-hook addition
works well on topwaters, swimming
plugs, spoons and bucktails, and it’s a
proven and popular modification for
diamond- and flutter-style jigs, and
even traditional deep jigs.
Want to increase hookup ratios while
posing less harm to fish? Try the circlehook modification. It’s a win-win for
both anglers and conservation.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY STEVE SANFORD
continued from page 34
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T+T / Rigger’s Notebook
DIY Trolling
Planer Boards
This clever alternative to outriggers enables you to
slow-troll live or rigged baits to port and starboard
off any boat. Materials are for two, but instructions
are for one; build a mirror image for a pair.
14 inches
BY SWS STAFF
Angled cut
Wood screws
21⁄2 inches
Locknuts
Drill hole
(all the way
through)
Eye bolt
Drill two holes
(through only one
two-by-four and
sheet aluminum)
14 inches
M AT E R I A L S
• Four 14-inch sections of
two-by-four lumber
12 inches
• Two 12-inch-by-14-inch
pieces of sheet aluminum
(smooth finish)
Sheet
aluminum
Drill two holes for 3⁄4-inch machine
screws and use locknuts to fasten
snap swivels
Flat-line
release clip
(with snap swivel)
• Four 3-inch stainless-steel
wood screws
• Two 1⁄4-inch-by-8-inch
stainless eye bolts
• Two 1⁄4-inch stainless-steel
locknuts (same thread as eye
bolts)
• Four No. 10 3⁄4-inch stainless-steel machine screws
• Four No. 10 stainless-steel
locknuts (same thread as
machine screws)
6-ounce cigar sinker
with snap swivels on
both ends
• Two 6-ounce cigar sinkers
Drill hole
• Two flat-line release clips
A S S E M B LY
2. Cut two 12-inch-by-14-inch
pieces of sheet aluminum
and sandwich each between
an angled and uncut section
of two-by-four.
3. With one angled two-by-four
facing right (for starboard
planer) and the other left (for
port), line up top edges and
drill pilot holes for screws
midway and rear (through
one board and sheet aluminum), then secure both sets
with wood screws.
4. Drill through each assembly
and secure eye bolt (facing
same side as angled board)
with locknuts.
5. Clip snap swivels to ends of
two 6-ounce cigar sinkers,
align with bottom edges
of aluminum, then drill
pilot holes to affix swivels
with machine screws and
locknuts.
6. Drill hole on bottom rear
corner of aluminum sheets
to attach flat-line release
clips.
NOTE: You will need two 20- to 30-foot lengths of paracord or similar small-diameter rope fastened
to the eye bolts on the planer boards to tie off gunwale cleats when deployed.
WIN
THIS
REEL!
Send us your original ideas, along with a sketch or photo. If we use your tip(s), we will send you a Shimano Baitrunner spinning reel,
featuring a fast-retrieve, front-dial drag adjustment and popular baitrunner system, valued at up to $189.99! Submit to Salt Water
Sportsman, Rigger’s Notebook, 460 N. Orlando Ave., Suite 200, Winter Park, FL 32789, or send via email to tips@saltwatersportsman.com.
38 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
ILLUSTRATIONS BY STEVE SANFORD
1. Cut an angle on two 14-inch
sections of two-by-four,
21⁄2 inches from one end.
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T+T / Angler’s Galley
Sesame-Crusted
Salmon
WITH ROASTED SWEET POTATOES
AND SPICY FISH-SAUCE VINAIGRETTE
By Brandon McGlamery
his combination of textures and
sweet and savory flavors results in a
palatable meal with a touch of spice
you can easily prepare in 45 minutes
or less.
Mixing in Flavor: Grated
ginger is one key ingredient of the sauce.
Stove-top First: Sauté
sweet potatoes slightly
before placing in the oven.
SAUCE
1. Combine the honey and warm
water in a bowl, add grated ginger,
garlic and fish sauce, and let sit for
10 to 30 minutes.
2. Strain the solids and emulsify the
remaining liquid with grapeseed oil.
3. Keeping all at room temperature,
stir in the lime juice to taste and add
the diced jalapeños.
SWEET POTATOES
1. Place halved sweet potatoes in a
preheated sauté pan with canola oil
(smoking slightly) and cook a couple
of minutes on each side.
2. Season with salt and pepper to
taste, transfer the sweet potatoes
to a baking sheet and place it in a
300-degree oven for 10 minutes,
then flip the sweet potatoes and
place back in the oven two more
minutes.
FISH
1. Pour equal parts water and sugar
in a saucepan and heat until the
sugar dissolves, then slightly poach
the kumquats in the simple syrup.
2. Whisk an egg in a shallow bowl,
dip the salmon fillets in the egg
wash, then coat one side with
sesame seeds and transfer — sesame-seed side down — to a warm
sauté pan with canola oil and bring
up to a light heat for a couple of
minutes, making sure you don’t burn
the seeds.
3. Place sauté pan with the fish in
a 300-degree oven for five to eight
minutes, then put it back on the
stove-top, melt 1 tablespoon butter,
and use it to baste the fish with the
sprigs of rosemary or thyme on top
for a couple of minutes.
4. Flip each fillet — sesame-seed
side up — onto a plate, next to a
portion of sweet potatoes, and spoon
some of the vinaigrette sauce around
the plate, not directly on the fish.
5. Place some of the poached kumquats on top of each fillet and around
the plate, then garnish with basil or
mint leaves.
Ingredients
SALMON: 4 salmon fillets (6 ounces per serving) • Black and white sesame seeds • Canola oil • 1 egg • 1⁄2 cup kumquats,
seeded and sliced • 1 cup sugar • 1 cup water • 1 tablespoon butter • 2 or 3 sprigs rosemary or thyme • Basil or mint leaves.
SAUCE: 1⁄4 cup fish sauce • Small knob of ginger, peeled and grated • 2 garlic cloves, chopped • 1⁄4 cup warm water
• 11⁄2 tablespoons honey • 1⁄4 cup lime juice • 1⁄2 cup grapeseed oil • 4 tablespoons jalapeños, seeded and finely diced.
SWEET POTATOES: 1⁄4 pound of small sweet potatoes, halved, per serving • Canola oil • Salt • Pepper
40 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
Brandon
McGlamery
Chef and partner
at Luma on Park
(lumaonpark
.com), Prato
(prato-wp.com)
and Luke’s
Kitchen & Bar
(eatatlukes
.com) in Orlando.
For video
instruction, go to:
saltwatersportsman.
com/sesame-crustedsalmon
Z AC H STOVA L L ( B OT TO M R I G H T ) ; C H R I STO P H E R BA LO G H ( 3 )
Recipe
The road to paradise Isn’t
Actually a Road.
Where you’re going there are no roads.
No stop lights. No traffic jams. Because paradise doesn’t have a street address.
It’s the water kissing the sky along the horizon. The sun on your face.
Paradise is out there for you to find.
You just have to pick a Cobia and go.
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Float Plan / Boat Talk
THIS POPULAR BOAT STYLE
HAS PLENTY TO OFFER FOR THE
COASTAL ANGLER.
Does the perfect coastal fishing
boat really exist? Judging by
meteoric sales figures of bay
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What makes a bay boat
such a versatile choice
for anglers is a combination of things: lots of
By Capt.
fishing room, a wealth
Dave Lear
of fishing features, and
Bay boats
the thoughtful design
are like
SUVs for
and rigging that aford
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anglers the flexibility to
go from the shallow grass
flats to blue water, when
the seas allow.
“You’re not going to pole a bay boat,
but it does function well in shallow water
with a trolling motor. And, in the right
conditions, you can go from 12 inches
of water to 1,200 feet because you have
the right tool to do both,” says Charlie
Johnson of Maverick Boat Group —
builder of Pathfinder’s 22- to 26-foot
bay boats — in Fort Pierce, Florida.
All bay boats are basically center
consoles, which makes casting and
following a hooked fish around the boat
a cinch, and they come in two basic
layouts: one includes an open bow and
cockpit, the other has an expansive forward casting deck and usually a smaller
deck in the rear. Pathfinder ofers both,
and models with the forward cockpit
incorporate raised
continued
42 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
Anchor
Locker
Trolling
Motor
In-Floor
Fish Box
Dry Storage
Console
Seat with
Cooler or
Livewell
Underneath
Console
Vertical
Rod Racks
Under-Gunwale
Horizontal
Rod Racks
LeaningPost-Style
Helm Seat
Tackle
Storage
and
Cooler
Foldaway
Bench or
Jump Seats
Backrest
Rocket
Launcher
Jack Plate
Feature-Rich
Livewells
Most bay boats offer a
wealth of fishing-related
features and options.
ILLUSTRATION BY STEVE SANFORD
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, DEFINING CHIRP TECHNOLOGY
OGY
Float Plan / Boat Talk
The Versatile Bay Boat
continued from page 42
44 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
anglers. The U-shaped transitional
step on the bow centerline houses an
insulated compartment. That lowered
space is a reassuring spot for those with
balance issues, and the 180-quart fish
box will keep three cobia or a four-man
limit of red snapper on ice.
According to Rutland, his boat has
vertical racks for up to 10 rods straddling the console, and undergunwale
racks where he keeps fly rods, plus a
gaf and deck brush. The leaning post
includes a 30-gallon livewell and holds
two more rods, typically rigged with
pitch baits for cobia. In addition, a
raw-water washdown system in the
stern comes with a quick disconnect to
keep the decks clean.
“The boat comes with one big well
and a smaller one for crustaceans on
the rear casting deck,” Rutland explains. “But I had both combined into
a single 52-gallon well, so I can keep
two redfish and five trout alive during
tournaments.” The wells are rigged with
recirculating capability, which helps
keep bait alive when he moves from salt
to brackish water, or vice versa.
Capt. Charles Ballard is another
guide who chose a bay boat for his
charter business. He chases cobia along
the beaches, fishes wrecks in hundreds
of feet, and even runs out to the Gulf
Stream, and he went with a Yellowfin
26 Hybrid rigged with a tower and a
NO BOUNDARIES: A seaworthy
hull with a shallow draft lets you
fish the flats or blue water.
second helm station to spot fish and
keep an eye on trolled baits. “It cuts
through the waves and rides like a
custom sport-fisher,” he says. “It has
enough room for three anglers and
a mate, and tall-enough gunwales so
clients can lock their knees in when
fighting fish.”
Ballard doesn’t go real skinny
often. “Most of my inshore trips are in
Pamlico Sound for bull reds,” he says.
A 36-volt Minn Kota Ulterra trolling
motor on the bow let’s him fish the
shallows or hold over wrecks using the
Spot-Lock anchor-mode feature.
Ballard claims he has enough rod
storage to stock a virtual tackle store;
a forward, oversize fish box that easily
stores the day’s catch; and no shortage
of bait capacity. “I have a 55-gallon
livewell in the leaning post where I
usually keep menhaden, and a 40-gallon one in the deck to hold bluefish
overnight when I’m fishing king mackerel tournaments.”
So, is it really possible for one boat to
handle all your coastal fishing needs?
Perhaps. With the evolution of bay and
hybrid models, many sure come pretty
darn close.
COURTESY CAPT. RICHARD RUTL AND
U-shaped seating with dry storage underneath, plus an insert that fills the gap
between the seats, converting the space
into a casting deck.
When it comes to hull designs, many
bay boats integrate a transom pocket or
tunnel, which facilitates takeofs and navigation in shallow water with the motor
raised, and the larger models have enough
cockpit freeboard to venture ofshore.
Stepped hulls are a more recent trend.
The steps help reduce friction from the
water by adding more ventilation under
the hull, resulting in better fuel efficiency
and improved performance.
Aside from ample storage, in-deck
or under the seats, the most desirable
features for anglers include leaning-poststyle helm seating with tackle storage
and a rocket launcher on the backrest to
keep rigged rods at arm’s length; at least
one large, insulated fish box (preferably
long enough for a couple of big pelagics);
horizontal rod storage under the covering boards; and one or more sizable livewells with water exchange and recirculation to keep a large supply of bait frisky.
Pathfinder boats, says Johnson, come
with all that as standard equipment,
as well as a hydraulic jack plate, which
allows the engine to be raised vertically
to reduce draft and fine-tune the ride
for optimum performance, either a
T-top or hardtop to provide protection
from the elements, and more.
Capt. Richard Rutland (coldblooded
fishing.com) is an avid tournament
competitor who also guides up to three
charter clients aboard his Contender 25
Bay throughout Alabama’s Mobile Bay
system. Although most of his charter
trips are within 20 miles from shore,
Rutland has been as far as 57 miles
out from Dauphin Island. “I’m really
impressed with the stepped hull on my
Contender,” Rutland says. “It has a soft,
cushioned ride, I’m getting up to 4.2
miles per gallon with the 300 hp Yamaha,
and my top-end is 60 miles per hour. I
also have an incredible range with the
96-gallon fuel tank.”
Rutland also says the large forward
casting deck easily accommodates three
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Float Plan / Electronics
BirdWatching
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ADVANCED
RADAR FEATURES TO FIND BIRDS
AND FEEDING FISH.
Whether chasing striped bass in
Long Island Sound, mahimahi
along the Gulf Stream, or tuna of
Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas, anglers
look for birds to find the action.
By Jim
Hendricks
Seabirds, such as frigates,
gannets, gulls, pelicans, shearwaters
and terns, at times all indicate fish
feeding below.
With a good pair of binoculars
and steady hands, you can eyeball
flittering, wheeling and diving birds
a mile or two away from a tower or
flybridge. But at greater distances,
flocks of birds prove difficult to spot.
That’s where radar saves the day.
46 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
TUNING IN
In earlier times, you needed
to manually tune the radar
by cranking up the gain and
dialing back the sea clutter to find birds, says Eric
Kunz, product development
manager for Furuno USA.
Once tuned correctly, flocks
of birds showed up as loosely
defined and shifting spatters
or faint clumps of radar returns on a screen filled with
light clutter.
Today, bird-mode functions perform the same,
tuning automatically and,
in some cases, without the
background clutter, at
the press of a key.
Yet the type of radar makes
a diference in the distance at
which you detect birds, and
there are features that improve your ability to find and
track flocks of birds while
maintaining radar navigation
and safety features.
LEARNING CURVE:
Birds appear in blue on the
radar return and can be
tracked as they follow fish.
SOLID STATE VS. MAGNETRON
At one time, all radars came with
magnetrons, utilizing vacuum tubes
to generate radar signals. However, an
increasing number of radar systems
use tube-free solid-state technology
with a number of advantages over
magnetrons.
For example, a solid-state system
doesn’t require a warm-up period, and
modern systems allow for integration
of Doppler technology that identifies
and highlights potentially dangerous
moving targets.
While solid-state systems are good
at finding birds, magnetron systems
hold the advantage, says Kunz. “A
Furuno magnetron X-band open-array
system such as the DRS25A (25 kW)
is 20 percent better in range detection
for birds than a Furuno continued
Float Plan / Electronics
Bird-Watching
continued from page 46
SEE ALL:
Auto Bird dials up
sensitivity. The big
red return is the
boat, on course to
intercept birds.
NXT-DRS6A solid-state radar with an
equivalent open array,” he says.
Both systems network with Furuno’s
NavNet TZtouch and TZtouch2 multifunction displays and are equipped with
bird modes, but the DRS25A reveals
more birds at greater ranges due to its
higher power and gain, Kunz says.
“A Furuno DRS25A, or even DRS12A,
realistically sees birds at 6 to 8 nautical
miles, while the maximum bird range
for a NXT-DRS6A is about 5 nautical
miles,” he adds.
The size of the vessel might also
influence the choice, says Mark Harnett,
product manager for Simrad. “A magnetron radar array is heavier than an
equivalent solid-state system, such as
the Simrad Halo,” Harnett points out.
“Magnetron systems are better suited
for larger sport-fishers.”
Some boaters hold the perception
that magnetron radars are more powerhungry than solid-state units. But that’s
not necessarily true, says Kunz. Power
consumption for a magnetron radar is
about the same as a solid-state model.
DOME VS. OPEN ARRAY
If you’re in the market for a bird-finding
radar, you need to choose between a
dome or open array. A number of factors
influence the efective range. Yet all
48 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
things being equal, open arrays — solid
state or magnetron — beat domes when
it comes to detecting flocks of birds
from afar.
Open arrays generate narrower,
more-focused beam angles than radar
domes. As an example, while a Furuno
open-array system has a practical bird
range of 5 miles, the dome reaches only
about 3 to 4 miles.
The width of an open array can also
afect bird-finding performance. The
Halo, for instance, comes in 3-, 4- and
6-foot-wide open arrays. “The wider arrays translate to better bird detection,”
says Harnett. “So, get the biggest one
that fits on your boat.”
That said, many boats under 30 feet
possess a limited amount of space on
the hardtop or T-top for a radar scanner,
and thus cannot accept even the smaller
open arrays. That’s OK, because domes
such as Furuno’s NXT-DRS4D also
detect birds with bird mode.
ADDITIONAL TOOLS
Many of the advanced features of solidstate radar also help while searching for
birds, giving you more information and
detail, particularly as you get closer, says
Kunz. This is where solid state has a leg
up over magnetron systems.
For example, once you see birds on
MAX REACH:
Open-array radar
offers extended
range when
searching for
birds, above.
the screen, you can flip on the Doppler
feature to determine if they are moving
toward you, Kunz says. “You can also
turn on echo trails to see in what direction the birds are heading and then
track them as you close in.” The need to
navigate safely does not evaporate just
because you’re on the hunt for birds.
That’s why some marine systems ofer
dual-range/split-screen modes.
With the Simrad Halo system, for instance, you can dedicate one radar panel
to bird mode and another to navigation,
or even a weather mode for tracking
ofshore storms while looking for birds
and fish, says Harnett.
CONDITIONS MATTER
Despite the advancements in birddetection systems, weather and sea
conditions may thwart the efort to find
flocks with radar. “Sea clutter and wave
returns can interfere with your ability
to see birds on radar,” Kunz explains.
The ideal conditions for finding birds
with radar are mild winds and smooth
seas. The calmer the ocean, the easier
it is to see birds close to the surface,
which is where they often head once
game fish start pushing bait upward.
Use the advanced features of marine
radar to watch for birds, and you will
find more fish.
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SWS
Planner:
Cape Hatteras,
North Carolina
WHAT:
Inshore and
offshore trophy
fishing
WHEN:
Year-round
WHO:
The following
Outer Banks
charter captains
know where and
when to find the
hot bite.
Oregon Inlet
Capt. David
Swain
High Return
fishhighreturn
.com
252-473-6268
Capt. Jason
Snead
Dream Girl
dreamgirl
charters.com
252-255-8037
Hatteras
Inlet
Capt. Jay
Daniels
Runaway
wefishobx.com
252-489-3646
Capt. Rom
Whitaker Jr.
hatterasharbor
.com
252-305-5229
Capt. Cameron
Whitaker
traditionfishing
.com
252-305-7755
ONE FOR
THE BOX:
Cobia is but
one of several
reliable species
off Hatteras.
F I S H T H E G R AV E YA R D O F T H E AT L A N T I C
AND LIVE TO TELL ABOUT IT
STORY AND PHOTOS BY RIC BURNLEY
HATTERAS
INSIDER
IT’S A SPRING
MORNING, AND
10 LINES ARE
HEAVY WITH
YELLOWFIN
TUNA. FAST
FORWARD FOUR
MONTHS AND
THREE ANGLERS
ARE TIGHT TO
BIG COBIA.
ANOTHER FOUR
MONTHS AND
ONE ANGLER
IS WORKING
ON A BIG WAHOO
WHEN ANOTHER
ONE STRIKES.
FOUR MORE
MONTHS AND
A FURIOUS
BLUEFIN TUNA
ATTACKS A
LARGE TOPWATER LURE.
This scenario is possible in only one place on
Earth: Hatteras Island, North Carolina, a 60-milelong strip of sand and scrub that juts out into the
mid-Atlantic, right at the conjunction of two major
currents: the Gulf Stream and Labrador.
SPRING KICKOFF
It’s early April, and I’m rolling around in the cockpit
of Tuna Fever 35 miles of Oregon Inlet, trolling a
dozen skirted ballyhoo.
54 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
Capt. Billy Maxwell yells against the wind, “There
they are!” I follow his pointing arm and spot a squadron of yellowfin tuna swimming along a pronounced
color change.
I return my attention to the ballyhoo skipping on
the surface when an explosion on the right side of the
boat causes the short rigger clip to pop and a reel to
scream. Maxwell doesn’t pull the throttles back until
10 rods are bent over with heavy tuna.
Yellowfin tuna first show up along the edge of
FALL REGULARS:
With cooling temperatures,
wahoo make a predictable
appearance, left.
the continental shelf, where the warm
Gulf Stream meets the cold Labrador
Current. The fish haunt the seamounts
and valleys along the 100-fathom drop,
favoring water temperatures from the
upper 60s to lower 70s.
Early in the season, the tuna are content to strike Sea Witches and ballyhoo.
As the water warms, the tuna menu
switches to flying fish. Then, crews
HOLIDAY TIME:
Summertime anglers
find dolphin abundant off
Hatteras.
dangle rubber fliers from a kite, and
always keep a heavy spinning rod rigged
with a large, cup-faced popper to cast at
airborne yellow birds.
When the bite is hot, crews limit out
on tuna and return to the dock early.
As soon as the boat hits the dock, I’m
driving south. An hour later, I pull up to
Cape Point on the tip of Hatteras Island
to surf-fish for monster redfish.
WINTER WARM-UP:
Fall and winter bring plenty
of opportunity for yellowfin,
blackfin and bluefin tuna.
I grab a 12-foot surf rod to join a
dozen other anglers lining a sandbar
20 yards of the beach.
I bait the hook with a chunk of menhaden and launch the rig 100 yards
into waves. The guy to my left sets
the hook as his rod bends over and
line pours of his reel. On my right, an
angler works a 40-pound redfish into
the shallows. As the sun dips below
MAY 2018 - SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM 55
Hatteras Insider
continued from page 55
the horizon, the wind picks up a notch,
and I hope it will be my turn next.
Hatteras Island hosts the largest red
drum in the world. The fish return from
their winter grounds in early April and
hang around until early summer.
Surf anglers focus on the south-facing
beach at Cape Point and Hatteras
Inlet, while boaters catch big drum by
anchoring along the edge of the shoals
in Hatteras Inlet and fishing a chunk of
menhaden or mullet on a fish-finder rig.
On clear, sunny days, it pays to slowly
motor along the beach or around the
inlet mouth, looking for huge schools
of redfish on the surface, then launch
a 3-ounce bucktail into the melee and
hold on tight; if you don’t spook the
school, you can follow the fish for miles.
Ou
te
rB
an
ks
As the anglers bring their fish to the
boat, Capt. Jason Snead spots more
dolphin swimming below the stern.
Every free hand grabs a medium-action
boat rod rigged with chunks of squid
SUMMER HEATS UP
and drops it to the gold-and-green
The early-morning sky flecks gold
fish dashing behind the boat. In short
of a glass-calm sea as we troll naked
order, mate Jimmy Hillsman controls
ballyhoo down a sargassum line. One of
the chaos, while anglers bail 20-pound
the outrigger clips pops, then another,
dolphin over the gunwale.
and in a few minutes, half a dozen rods
With the fish box writhing neon
bend over with big dolphin dancing in
gold, Snead looks at me and asks, “You
the distance.
want to go cobia fishing?” Never mind
we’re 30 miles from the inshore cobia
grounds, I shake my head yes.
Both Worlds
By the time the sun is high, we’re
slowly
chugging a mile of the beach,
The Outer Banks provides the gateway
searching the green water for brown
to great offshore fishing as well as
cobia swimming on the surface.
exciting shallow-water action on the
“Jason! Jason!” Hillsman screams
inside of expansive Pamlico Sound.
from the tuna tower.
“Stop the boat!” Hillsman rushes to the bow
VIRGINIA
VIRGINIA BEACH
and wings a bucktail
HATTERAS
d
n
that lands a few feet in
u
So
front of a cobia. The fish
o
CAPE
lic
turns, lunges and grabs
NORTH
m
POINT
Pa
NAGS HEAD
the bright orange buckCAROLINA
tail. Hillsman cranks
HATTERAS
INLET
tight, and line peels of
the reel.
d
Two words summaGREENVILLE
un
o
S
rize
summer on the
o
lic
Outer Banks: cobia and
m
a
P
dolphin. Cobia show up
HATTERAS
as soon as the inshore
water temperature hits
Atlantic Ocean
MOREHEAD CITY
70 degrees. About the
same time, dolphin
arrive to the long mats
56 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
SEASON OPENER:
Springtime ushers in
the annual migration
of cobia off Hatteras
Inlet.
of sargassum grass at the edge of the
Gulf Stream.
Fishing is better in early summer,
when the biggest cobia and dolphin
show up. By late summer, smaller dolphin swarm the weed lines, and packs
of cobia turn to singles searching the
surface for an easy meal.
FALL KICKS IT IN
On Saturday, I’m fishing 15 miles of
Hatteras Inlet with Capt. Rom Whitaker
IV aboard Release, his father’s 50-foot
charter boat. Five miles from the fishing
grounds, he slows the boat to 15 knots
and instructs us to drop a high-speed
trolling lure overboard. A few minutes
later, the heavy rod bucks heavily with
the weight of a big wahoo.
The next day, I’m fishing from a 20foot skif with Capt. Cameron Whitaker,
Rom’s brother, 4 miles behind Hatteras
Inlet. He drops the anchor on a shallow
flat and launches chunks of mullet in every direction. As the sun goes down, the
first rod goes of, and a redfish surges toward the horizon. Before I can pull the
rod from the holder, three other rods
bend and line screams from the reels.
Hatteras’ hottest fishing is in the
fall. As the water cools and the days get
shorter, summer fish migrate past the
island on their way to warmer climes.
The circus starts in early September
with the arrival of white marlin of
Oregon Inlet. The fish key in on schools
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FALL FAVORITE:
The waters around
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renowned for
oversize redfish.
Hatteras Insider
continued from page 56
of bait riding warm-water eddies that
spin down the edge of the continental
shelf. Crews pull dredges and teasers
to draw white marlin to naked ballyhoo
on circle hooks. When the action is on
fire and the crews are hot, double-digit
flags line the riggers of boats returning
to port.
By October, summer is finally over,
and yellowfin tuna return to their old
haunts of Oregon Inlet. Bigeye tuna are
also in the mix. Trolling ballyhoo on Sea
Witches and Ilanders at dawn or dusk
afords the best shot at being attacked
by a gang of bigeyes.
On the Hatteras Inlet side of the
island, warm Gulf Stream waters carry
big wahoo to the ofshore pinnacles and
valleys. The best game plan is to roll to
the fishing grounds pulling a high-speed
trolling lure at 15 knots. Then, at the
edge of the shelf, put out a spread of Sea
Witches and Ilanders skirted with select
ballyhoo rigged on single-strand wire.
At that same time of year, inshore anglers catch red drum and speckled trout
behind the island. Searching the grass
flats for reds armed with a gold spoon
on a medium-action spinning rod, or
anchoring up at the edge of a shallow to
fish chunks of cut bait on a double-hook
bottom rig does the job.
58 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
Speckled trout hang out in deep holes
in the backwater of the sound or the
deep sloughs along the surf line. You
catch them with suspending hard baits
or a jig rigged with a soft plastic.
Big drum return to the surf and shoals
in October, when anglers focus on the
north-facing beaches and piers, and the
surf at Cape Point and Hatteras Inlet.
WINTER TUNA
It’s late January, and I’ve found the best
way to stay warm on the Outer Banks:
tuna hunting.
We’re drifting over a rock pile in
50 fathoms as the wind blows the sea
into a gray froth. Despite the cold, sweat
drips down my forehead.
Capt. Jay Daniels calls, “Six colors!”
from the bridge of Runaway, a 45-foot
classic Carolina boat, and I drop my
7-ounce vertical jig until the color on my
depth-coded braid changes six times.
When my jig reaches the ordered
depth, I engage the reel and start cranking and jigging the rod tip. On the sixth
jerk, my rod stops violently, and the line
rips in the opposite direction. From the
bend in my rod and burn in my forearms, I can tell it’s a big one.
Blackfin tuna keep anglers warm
until the big bluefins show up east of
the 100-fathom drop. On a late-winter
morning, I’m riding on the bridge of
High Return with Capt. David Swain.
We’re 30 miles of Oregon Inlet, fishing
an area pocked with oily slicks crisscrossed by swirling seabirds.
When a ball of bait shows up on the
fish finder, Swain comes of the throttles. In the cockpit, three anglers take
turns launching big topwater plugs
behind the boat. A nervous silence consumes the crew until a huge explosion
breaks it.
The angler holds tight while the line
disappears from his spinning reel. The
next 40 minutes are a give-and-take
battle that brings a 200-pound bluefin
to the back of the boat. The angler is exhausted, but the fish still has some fight;
it makes a final violent surge, breaking
the line and the angler’s heart.
Big bluefins draw a lot of attention to
the Outer Banks, where the basic trolling setup of local crews is a 130-pound
rod and reel rigged with a horse ballyhoo
and heavy Hawaiian Eye.
But when the fish get finicky, nothing
fires them up like a big rubber squid
dangling from a green stick. Don’t have a
green stick? Don’t worry, the light touch
of a 12-inch stickbait on an extra-heavy
spinning outfit can be just the trick.
FAMILY LEGENDS
and fish tales
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distance for maneuvers, and respect others around you. Don’t drink and drive. FOR MORE INFORMATION,
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considerations in this year's rollout of new fishing boats.
Anglers have never had it so good when it comes to choosing a
new boat that makes substantial compromise a thing of the past.
LENGTH
21'4"
BEAM
8'6"
DRAFT
15"
FUEL
65 gal.
MAX HP
200
he introduction of the 210 Montauk
completes Boston Whaler’s redesign of the entire Montauk family. The
new design features increased storage
space throughout, with an integrated
forward fish box/storage area and a
covered locker, both with overboard
drainage. Enhanced seating includes
aft quarter seats and a reversible helm
seat with locking backrest and storage
T
below. The Fishing Package adds a 72or 94-quart cooler seat, tackle drawers,
and console-mounted rod holders, with
the choice of Raymarine electronics
packages. Also included are a galvanized
trailer with swing tongue, disc brakes
and LED lights. The boat is available
with Mercury power options up to a
200 hp XL L6 DTS Verado 210 with
hydraulic steering.
WEIGHT
2,650 lb.
PRICE
To be annnounced
bostonwhaler.com
GOT T H E FIS H ING C 0 VERED
COBIA 240 CC
ombining tournament
capability, family comfort
and style, the Cobia 240 CC
features a level floor from bow
to stern for ease in getting
around the console when
fighting fish. The proven hull
design provides superior fuel
efficiency and open-water
performance. Integrated fishing appointments include two
40-gallon in-floor fish boxes, a
28-gallon livewell, and an aft
tackle station. Comfort and
convenience features include a
full windshield, battery storage
C
LENGTH 23'7"
under the helm seat, USB ports
throughout, a walk-down head compartment, and hideaway rear-bench
seating. An optional cushion package adds double-bolstered helm
seats and forward-facing backrests
in the bow.
BEAM 8'10"
DRAFT 17"
FUEL 125 gal.
MAX HP 300
WEIGHT 3,500 lb.
PRICE $80,000 w/ Yamaha F300
cobiaboats.com
LARGER CENTER CONSOLES NOW HAVE THE FISHING FEATURES AND THE COMFORT, SPACE
AND STAY-ABOARD AMENITIES FORMERLY THE PROVINCE OF OFFSHORE SPORT BOATS.
FIRST TO THE FISHING
FOUNTAIN
39 NX
nown for high-speed performance, Fountain Boats builds for
that with the 39 NX, the latest addition
to the company’s Bluewater series.
The trademark double-stepped Positive Lift Hull gets you to the fishing
grounds fast, and the infused lamination, composite-cored, high-density
hull and bonded deck, stringer grid
and hull take the toughest conditions
K
in stride. The cockpit features
three fish boxes with overboard
drainage, a walk-through transom
door, and a rear-facing seat on the
flip-up helm-seating module, as
well as a freshwater washdown.
Below in the cabin, a full-size
double berth and various other appointments make for comfortable
overnighting.
FUEL 400 gal.
ith the Canyon 456, Grady-White raises the bar in terms of center console
fishing yachts. A battlewagon at heart, this
new model offers fishing and comfort features in abundance. Set up to carry 32 rigged
rods, the aft fishing station, served with both
heating and air conditioning, incorporates
twin livewells and a refrigerated fish box.
W
LENGTH
45'
BEAM
14'
DRAFT
30"
BIG AN D ABLE
GRADY-WHITE
CANYON 456
FUEL
616 gal.
MAX HP
1,400
WEIGHT
24,500 lb.
PRICE
$1,275,000
62 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
Equipped with a Seakeeper gyrostabilizer,
Yamaha Helm Master, Zipwake dynamic autoleveling trim-control system, and boasting a
top speed of over 55 mph, there’s nothing the
456 can’t take on. Port and starboard side
doors in the cockpit extend versatility, and
the cabin holds a full galley and dining area,
sleeping quarters, and head with shower.
A NEW CROP OF FISHING BOATS OFFERS THE PERFECT BLEND OF DEDICATED FISHING
THE NA ME SAYS IT A LL
INVINCIBLE
40 CAT
LENGTH
40'2"
BEAM
12'
DRAFT
29"
nvincible built its new 40 Catamaran to
tame rough seas and perform well in
any conditions. The wide array of angling
features starts with extensive rod storage
— more than three dozen on both sides of
the console, the forward coffin box, both
covering boards and the transom, plus
room for another five on the leaning-post
I
V ER SAT ILE R ID E
REGAL MARINE
33 SAV
There are also undergunwale rod and gaff
racks, power outlets on the gunwales for
electric reels, several sea-chest configurations to feed a 70-gallon in-floor livewell and a pair of transom baitwells with
clear lids, plus giant in-floor macerated
fish boxes, and more. With the optional
800-gallon fuel capacity, the cruising
FUEL
640 gal.
MAX HP
1,800
WEIGHT
16,000 lb.
PRICE
$520,000
invincibleboats.com
an aft bench affords extra seating
and folds away when fishing. Opt
for the Fish Package to add a
livewell, transom rod holders, and
raw-water washdown, and turn
forward dry storage into a large
macerated fish box. Other top
features include a cabin with head
and shower; convertible-queen
and California-queen beds; side
door; refreshment center with
fridge, sink and storage drawers;
plus optional grill and TV.
LENGTH 34'2"
BEAM 10'4"
DRAFT 21"
FUEL 225 gal.
MAX HP 700
WEIGHT 11,750 lb.
PRICE $347,875 w/ twin Yamaha F300s
regalboats.com
MAY 2018 - SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM 63
YACHT-GRADE CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES, QUALITY COMPONENTS AND
SOPHISTICATED DESIGN HAVE FILTERED DOWN TO EVEN THE SMALLEST MODELS.
he 29B, a revamped version of
SeaVee’s popular 29-foot center
console, is tailored for the hardcore
angler and includes ample dry storage
plus a lengthy list of standard features, like a cavernous insulated fish
box, 50-gallon livewell, dedicated pad
for flush-mounting large transducers,
hydraulic steering, trim tabs, AGM
batteries, and larger fuel tanks for
increased fuel capacity and range.
T
FISHING FIRST
SEAVEE
29B
The layout comprises numerous
comforts and conveniences, such
as an integrated forward-console
seat and door, retractable cooler,
and electrically operated forward
lounge-seat backrests. Available
options, from hardtops to a second
helm station, washdown systems,
additional livewells, and the latest
in marine electronics, make customizing this SeaVee a cinch.
OV ERN IG HTER
SOUTHPORT
33 DC
LENGTH
32'6"
BEAM
10'8"
DRAFT
21.5"
FUEL
300 gal.
MAX HP
700
WEIGHT
11,000 lb.
PRICE
$358,000 w/ Yamaha
F300
southportboats.com
wealth of amenities for family cruising and
entertainment while remaining true to the
brand’s fishing DNA. Fishing-related features
include a pair of 5-foot-long macerated fish
boxes, a 25-gallon transom livewell/cooler,
and an aft cockpit bait-prep/summer kitchen with refrigerator. An integrated hardtop
64 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
berths and hanging locker; head compartment
with electric toilet; large bow-seating area
with convertible sun pad and cooler; foldaway
L-shaped cockpit lounge area with removable
table; doublewide stern bench with storage;
side door; and an integrated swim platform are
among the many comforts and conveniences.
PURPOSE-DRIVEN DESIGN COVERS A BROAD RANGE OF MULTIPLE USES, FROM WEEKEND
JAUNTS TO EXTENDED CRUISES, AS WELL AS SERIOUS FISHING APPLICATIONS.
SPORT AND FUNCTION
STAMAS T33
LENGTH
33'
BEAM
11'2"
DRAFT
19"
FUEL
350 gal.
he T33 marks the evolution of the
popular Stamas Tarpon series, incorporating innovations in comfort, convenience and fishability along with the brand’s
renowned performance. The new 33-footer
pampers occupants with its soft ride and
provides an incredibly stable platform with
lots of fishing room. The 55-gallon clearview, aquarium-style livewell, part of a
T
cleverly designed bait-and-tackle station
in back of the sleek helm-seating module,
along with sporty bucket seats, an extended
hardtop with aft-corner indents for unrestricted hook-setting, and lighted, molded-in
step-outs with toe rails under both gunwales for solid footing when battling big fish
are among the many sophisticated features
aboard this potent fishing machine.
MAX HP
900
WEIGHT
9,700 lb.
PRICE
To be announced
stamas.com
EASY R IDER
WORLD CAT
280DC-X
he 280DC-X, World Cat’s latest
model, sports striking aesthetics and the X Series tumblehome
transom and sloping sheer line in
a dual-console configuration with
features for a wide range of water
activities. The fiberglass hardtop
with hand-finished surfboard edge is
matched to a frameless windshield.
Deluxe bow seating accommodates
six and includes massive, lighted stor-
T
age to starboard and a 180-quart insulated compartment with overboard
drain to port. The cockpit showcases
a doublewide seat that switches
from front- to rear-facing by pressing
a pedal, and offers ample fishing
room, coaming bolsters, four flushmounted rod holders, fold-down
transom seating for two, and a
transom door to access the swim
platform with boarding ladder.
MAY 2018 - SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM 65
NICK HONACHEFSKY (2)
66 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
SWS
Planner:
Northeast
Deepwater Fluke
WHAT:
Summer
flounder, aka
fluke
WHERE:
Massachusetts
to New Jersey
WHEN:
Summer
through fall
D E E P WAT E R S FROM M AS SAC HU S ETT S
THROUGH NEW JERSEY
BROOKLYN,
NEW YORK
Capt. Austin
Perilli
Bucktail
Charters
732-773-2756
H OLD TROPH Y-S IZ E F LU K E.
BY
NICK
WHO:
The following charter
captains know
where to find
trophy flatties.
HYANNIS,
MASSACHUSETTS
Capt. Matt
Sellito
Helen-H
helen-h.com
508-790-0660
HONAC H EFS KY
DEEPWATER
DOORMATS
hile most anglers think of fluke
fishing as a shallow-water
afair, fluke over the 10-pound
mark hunker down in the dark,
deep reaches of shipping channels, ofshore
reefs and submarine holes. Strategies used by
doormat hounds difer from the traditional
fluke tactics in order to match wits with flatfish
big enough to crack rods and snap lines. It all
starts by going deep.
W
FOLLOWING FLATTIES
Like most Northeast and mid-Atlantic saltwater species, summer flounder (aka fluke)
migrate, but they do it a little diferently. Fluke
spend winter along the continental shelf of the
Northeast coast, then start moving back inshore
in early spring, later stacking up in the bays and
nearshore waters throughout the summer before
returning once again to their ofshore wintering
grounds sometime in October.
XL FLUKE:
Going deep
yields specimens
of extra-large
proportions,
opposite.
MAY 2018 - SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM 67
THERE ARE FLUKE FISHERMEN, AND THERE ARE
DOORMAT HUNTERS. THERE’S A BIG DIFFERENCE.
68 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
GARY CAPUTI; ILLUSTRATION BY STEVE SANFORD
JIG-TRICKED:
Fluke can’t pass
up bucktail jigs
bounced in front
of their faces.
75-pound
barrel swivel
6 inches of
fluoro leader
SWS
Tackle
Box::
Northeast
Deepwater Fluke
3
⁄8-ounce
bucktail jig
18 inches of
25-pound
fluoro leader
5-inch
Gulp!
Swimmin’
Mullet
4-ounce
bucktail jig
50-pound TA clip
6-inch
Gulp! Grub
Tandem-Bucktail Rig
A large bucktail jig and a smaller one dangling a foot above it make an effective
combination for trophy-size fluke in deep water. Rigging both lures with scented,
swimming soft-plastic tails like the Swimmin’ Mullet and Grub by Berkley Gulp!
further add to the rig’s attractiveness.
Capt. Austin Perilli on Bucktail
out of Brooklyn, New York, targets
deepwater fluke in Sandy Hook
Channel, Raritan Reach and
Ambrose Channel of the New
Jersey-New York Bight, where
depths reach 60 to 100 feet. “Our
deepwater fluking usually starts
in July and lasts through September, when the fish hunker down
to beat the summer heat.” You
can’t always count on finding fluke
where they have been historically,
so the key to catching large ones
in deep water is understanding
what locations appeal most to the
fish. In 2017, fluke fishing of New
Jersey and New York was tough.
Nearshore action was a far cry
from what it should have been,
but Perilli believes he figured out
where the fish were then: deep
water, and not just in the channels
along the coast. “A commercial
fisherman I know stated that, last
spring, the big fluke stayed in 80
to 100 feet of water around wrecks
and rock piles in the Mud Hole,
some 10 to 20 miles ofshore.
Schools of sand eels and
squid provided ample forage,
keeping the fish out there
all summer.”
Capt. Matt Sellito of
Helen-H out of Hyannis,
Massachusetts, plies the
waters of Nantucket Shoals,
a 25- to 35-mile ride, fishing
depths down to 130 feet
to haul in doormats. “Our
grounds are mostly shifting
sandy-bottom shoals, but
we do have mussel beds that
act as structure piles where
fluke hang around. Generally,
we start out in deep water in
May, when the fish are following the squid run as they
move in.” Of Nantucket,
fluke root down in the deep
cuts and holes to feed on
squid and sand eels through
the summer months.
BOUNCING BUCKS
Perilli’s deepwater doormatfluke rig starts and ends with
a bucktail. He ties a 75-pound
Spro barrel swivel to one
end of an 18-inch section of
25-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon, then ties a 50-pound TA
clip on the other end, fixed
with a pink, chartreuse or
white 1- to 4-ounce bucktail
tipped with either a 6-inch
Berkley Gulp! Grub or a
strip of sea robin or bluefish.
Then he attaches a 3⁄8-ounce
white round-head bucktail
to a 6-inch piece of the same
fluorocarbon leader, ties it of
the bottom eye of the swivel,
and tips it with a 5-inch
Berkley Gulp! Swimmin’
Mullet to complete the killer
tandem-bucktail rig.
RODS:
Tsunami
6-foot-4-inch
Slim Wave
SWSPS641-MH
for spinning,
Tsunami
7-foot Airwave
TSAWIC-701H
for baitcasting,
Shimano 7-foot
Tallus Bluewater
TLC70XHBBL
conventional
REELS:
Shimano Stradic
3000 to 5000
spinning, Calcutta
400 baitcasting, Torium 20
conventional
LINE:
14- to 50-pound
braid, 25- to
30-pound fluorocarbon leader
LURES:
⁄8- to 4-ounce
Andrus Spro
bucktails, Berkley Gulp! 5-inch
Swimmin’ Mullet
and 6-inch Grub
3
TERMINAL
TACKLE:
Spro 75-pound
barrel swivel and
No. 1 three-way
swivel, 50-pound
TA clip, 6- to
24-ounce bank
sinker, 6/0 to
7/0 Gamakatsu
Octopus and 7/0
to 9/0 Baitholder
hooks
BAITS:
bluefish, mackerel or sea robin
belly strips
MAY 2018 - SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM 69
100-pound
barrel swivel
Artificial
Sweeteners
6-inch dropper loop
9/0 Baitholder hook
Fluke are ambush predators,
and the following artificials —
worked properly — appear like
easy meals and convince the
fish to pounce.
36 inches of
100-pound
fluoro leader
6-inch dropper loop,
18 inches below upper
dropper
9/0 Baitholder hook
The scent and vibration of a
Berkley Gulp! Swimmin’
Mullet draw strikes from big,
wary fluke
Slide-on
bucktail
teaser
6-inch
Gulp! Grub
Bank sinker
6 inches below
dropper
The realistic baitfish look of the
Spro bucktail jig accounts
for its success and popularity
among fluke hunters
Deepwater Doormats
continued from page 69
70 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
High-Low Rig
An upgraded, more durable version of the
classic chicken rig — popular with bottomfishing fans — replaces the natural strip
baits for scented soft plastics and a slide-on
teaser on the lower hook, and has proven
particularly effective for trophy fluke.
getting out at sunup or sundown but
about figuring out when slack tide is,”
says Perilli. “You want to hit it when
the water is at a dead stop or moving at
its slowest, so the peak action usually
happens from two hours before slack
tide until two hours after. The key is to
bang out mini drifts, or to power-drift
and fan-cast the bucktails to really pick
apart a spot. Bucktails should always
maintain contact with the seafloor, so
impart a slight bouncing motion and
keep tapping the bottom. If the current
starts to push hard and you start to drag
The enticing, undulating action
of a Berkley Gulp! Grub
is a great addition to any
reliable fluke rig
The bulk and flash of a
slide-on bucktail teaser turn
any strip bait or rigged soft
plastic into a substantial meal
ILLUSTRATION BY STEVE SANFORD
Perilli doesn’t just gravitate toward
deep water, he also looks for clues that’ll
point him to spots that hold fish. “Find
hard structure and obstructions such
as wrecks, rock piles, and the ballast of
buoy markers in the deep channels,”
says Perilli. “Anywhere you find a little
piece of structure in deep water is a
good place to start. But pick a structure pile and fish right on top to avoid
extended drifts over barren bottom.”
Fluke hang close to structure, and they
use it to hide and ambush prey, as well
as feed of its ecosystem, which includes
such forage as crabs, mussels and various baitfish. “Every fluke over
10 pounds I’ve caught had structureoriented creatures in its gullet — crabs,
mantis shrimp, bergall, porgies, sea bass
— proving the big fish are feeding in and
around deepwater structure,” adds the
fishing guide.
“Bucktailing for fluke is not about
MASSACHUSETTS
NEW YORK
CONNECTICUT
RHODE ISLAND
North
Atlantic
Ocean
NEW
JERSEY
RI
ƕ
CT
NANTUCKET
SHOALS
NY
AMBROSE CHANNELS
RARITAN REACH
SANDY HOOK CHANNEL
NJ
New York / New Jersey Bight
MUD HOLE
BARNEGAT NORTH RIDGE
Northeast Fluke Digs
A number of deep channels and ledges along the coasts of
New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts are home to thriving
populations of fluke, including many specimens of large proportions, precisely the kind sought after by doormat hunters.
GRIP AND GRIN:
A happy Northeast
angler gets his
hands on a husky
deepwater fluke.
Deepwater Doormats
the bucktail, it’s time to power-drift or
find another spot where the tide has yet
to catch up.”
WHAT A DRAG
“The majority of 10-plus-pounders we
get are caught dragging big bait strips,”
states Capt. Sellito. “Successful anglers
are dragging long strips of belly bait,
such as little tunny or Peruvian smelt,
cut 10 to 14 inches long.” Sellito states
the standard rig for trophy fluke aboard
Helen-H is a No. 1 three-way swivel
with a sinker snap, a 10- to 24-ounce
bank sinker, and a leader coming of the
second swivel eye with a tandem of 6/0
to 7/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hooks on the
end. Fast drifts require a 48-inch piece
of 30-pound fluorocarbon leader; for
slow drifts, a 24-inch section will do.
72 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
“To hook deepwater fluke on the drift
with strip baits, it’s essential to let ’em
eat,” explains Sellito. “When you feel the
weight of a flounder on the line, it has
mouthed the bait and is sitting on it. So
drop it back in free-spool, give it a standing five count, then set the hook. Lift the
rod slowly to feel for the weight of the
fish hanging on the bait. If you don’t feel
any weight, send the bait back down and
feed it to him.” One of Sellito’s top-secret
tactics is to catch live squid with a squid
jig of the bottom at Nantucket Shoals,
then live-line the squid on the described
two-hook tandem rig.
To battle currents down in the deep,
veteran big-fluke hunters aboard
Helen-H also use the chicken rig, better
known as a variant of the high-low rig.
Start with a 100-pound barrel swivel
tied to a 36-inch piece of 30-pound
fluorocarbon, make a dropper loop
12 inches down and attach a 9/0
Baitholder hook tipped with a 6-inch
Berkley Gulp! Grub. About 18 inches
down from the first dropper loop, make
a second one and add another 9/0 hook
to it with a small slide-on bucktail teaser and a Gulp! Grub. Finish the rig with
a double overhand knot 6 inches down,
forming a loop to connect a bank sinker.
Action with trophy flatties of
Nantucket has been legendary the past
five years and shows no sign of slowing.
For a good gauge on the quality of deepwater fluke there, Sellito says: “When
we see a 4- to 5-pound fluke come up, we
don’t even reach for the net. We’re here
for the 6- to 14-pounders; no sense in
wasting time with the little ones.”
GARY CAPUTI
continued from page 70
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BLUEWATER
YELLOWS
C A L I F O R N I A’ S O F F S H O R E S E A S O N S TA R T S
W I T H Y E L L O W TA I L S U N D E R F L OAT I N G K E L P.
he ofshore season started
for me last year in early June
as I steamed toward Santa
Catalina Island, 30 miles of the coast,
to target rockfish. Halfway there, we
spotted a patch of floating kelp about
the size of a garage door, so I altered
course to idle by and peer underneath.
“Hold on!” I barked as I caught sight
of a squadron of the big jacks. “Get a
bait out! Now!” We cast live sardines
toward the weeds, and the yellows
immediately launched an attack. We
found ourselves with a triple hookup,
passing bent rods over and under to
avoid tangles, and taking turns gaffing
each other’s fish. Soon a trio of 20- to
25-pounders lay on the deck.
T
FLOATING OASIS
It’s all about finding the right patch
of kelp. Torn loose from forests of
giant kelp by waves, clumps of these
weeds — called paddies — create
an oasis in a desert of blue. With
the onset of summer, schools of
California yellowtails haunt these
shadowy outposts, following the
baitfish seeking shelter in the kelp.
Food might not be the only factor
attracting yellowtails to paddies;
some believe they gather here to
spawn. Large aggregations have
been spotted under kelp, and while
only some are willing to bite, there
usually are enough takers to motivate anglers to go paddy-hopping.
JIM HENDRICKS
BY J IM HE NDRICKS
PADDY
DWELLERS:
Big yellowtails in
blue water seek
out floating kelp.
PREFERRED PADDY
Certain paddies tend to attract more fish than others. A
few stringers of kelp seldom
hold fish, but a paddy the
size of a trash-can lid may be
worth a stop, especially if it
has stringers draping below
the main canopy, which attract bait. A paddy the size of
76 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
JIM HENDRICKS; JASON CAPCAL (OPPOSITE)
SEARCH PARTY
Before you can fish for
yellows under a paddy, you
need to find a paddy. It’s
not always easy, especially
when overcast skies fade the
ocean’s surface to a monochromatic gray.
Astute anglers cruise at no
more than 15 mph, or troll at
about 8 mph, while searching
for a paddy. Having the whole
crew scanning the water
maximizes coverage, and a
tower also helps spot kelp at
a distance. Gyrostabilized
binoculars extend the search
radius out to a mile or more.
Other cues
can also lead
THE PRIZE:
you to proOversize yellowtails
ductive kelp.
kick off the season
Gulls and
for anglers willing
terns resting
to hunt for kelp.
atop the floating mass are
often visible
before you see the paddy
itself. This might be a sign
that there are fish underneath. Terns flitting above
the paddy are a sure sign that
predators lie below.
SWS
Planner:
Kelp-Paddy
Yellowtails
WHAT:
California
yellowtails
WHERE:
SoCal offshore
waters, from
Point Conception to below
the Mexican
border
WHEN:
Spring
through fall
a mattress or garage door promises a community of marine life.
This is the dream paddy. I’ve
found as many as 100 yellowtails
schooling below such patches.
Water color also plays a role.
A paddy in green water, close to
shore, doesn’t attract yellowtails as well as one in clear,
blue water. Due to upwellings,
which attract baitfish and
create the eddies that concentrate the kelp, paddies floating
above underwater ridges or
seamounts, such as the 14-mile
bank, 209, 277 and 182, produce
more fish than those found drifting over a featureless bottom.
APPROACH PATTERN
In the excitement of finding a
paddy, resist the urge to rush in
and start fishing. There are days
when yellowtails will rush out
to greet you. But a stealthy approach pays of, especially when
GAME OVER:
Another big openwater yellowtail
comes boatside for
landing.
the fish are more reclusive.
I like to shut down about
50 feet upwind, then drift by
about 25 feet from the kelp, on
the sunny side, to spot fish hanging underneath the paddy.
Aggressive yellowtails will
bite a lively sardine, Pacific
CAPT. BARRY
BRIGHTENBURG
Always an
Adventure
Charters
619-540-8944
alwaysan
adventure
charters.com
CAPT. DAVE
HANSEN
Your Saltwater
Guide
949-374-0786
yoursaltwater
guide.com
Heavy Metals
When the yellowtail are
hanging deep, well below the
floating kelp, dropping jigging
irons and cranking them back
to the top fast is often the
only way to coax any strikes.
WHO:
Anglers with
reliable craft
from 20 feet
up. A number
of Southern
California
charters and
guide services
can show you
secrets to
kelp-paddy
yellowtails.
irresistible to countless
California yellowtails.
An effective classic, the
Salas 6X Jr. remains
a favorite among
yellowtail hunters.
CAPT. JAIME
THINNES
Seasons
Sportfishing
714-206-6146
seasonssport
fishing.com
MAY 2018 - SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM 77
a
A Set up for a drift
upwind, starting a
safe distance from
the kelp to avoid
spooking fish.
Bluewater Yellows
DRIFT
continued from page 77
Be Aware of
Yellowtail Limits
California yellowtails vary
in size from 5-pound rats to
35-pound mossbacks. The limit
is 10 fish per angler per day, but
current regulations dictate a
five-fish daily limit on fish less
than 24 inches in fork length.
78 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
b
b A well-presented live
bait draws the attention
of yellowtails near the
surface or holding in
the kelp fronds.
D
c If the fish are
deep, drop a metal
jig down as far as
200 feet to garner
strikes.
C
d Yellowtails hang in
the kelp fronds, just
under the surface, for
cover and forage.
ILLUSTRATION BY STEVE SANFORD
mackerel or jack mackerel
readily; on weekends and
holidays, when boat pressure
is high, they play hard to get.
But there's a few tricks to get
them in the right mood.
Throwing out some live
baits as chum whets their appetite. Sometimes they show
little interest until a hookless
livey moving swiftly motivates them. That’s when you
want to get a hooked bait in
the water. Reeling a live bait
quickly back to the boat will
sometimes earn you a bite.
The same holds true of
yellowtails that retreat to the
depths as you approach. In
this case, dropping a heavy
metal jig (known as a yo-yo
iron) such as a Tady 9/0 or
Salas 6X Jr. (blue-and-white
patterns seem to work best)
200 feet down, then retrieving it as fast as you can might
trigger a strike. With this
technique, it’s important not
to swing the rod when you’re
bit. Instead, keep reeling
until the hooks set and line
pours of the reel, then raise
the rod to battle the fish.
– Shaw Grigsby, Host, “One More Cast”
Standup Paddlers
(Belt-pack inflatable)
Anglers & Open Motor Boats
(Suspender inflatable)
Personal Water Crafts & Water Sports
(Inherently buoyant)
Kids
(Adult life jackets don't fit kids)
Pets
(Harness with lift handles)
This message brought to you by
the National Safe Boating Council.
SAFEBOATINGCAMPAIGN.COM
facebook.com/safeboatcampaign
twitter.com/boatingcampaign
“
you’re not a fish,
“ Ifyou’ve
got to Wear It!
Bluewater Yellows
continued from page 78
SWS
Tackle
Box:
NEW OFFERING
Sometimes a yellowtail or two will
hover directly under the paddy, backs
brushing the fronds, refusing to budge
or bite. In this case, a change-up might
draw a strike. If you’re free-lining
live sardines, switch to a frisky
Pacific mackerel.
Cast the bait to the edge of the paddy
to get the otherwise disinterested yellow excited enough to strike, or cast the
mackerel on top of the paddy, then pull
it of like pulling a frog of a lily pad. This
often provokes an explosive strike.
If you don’t catch any yellows under a
paddy within 10 or 15 minutes, move on
and search for another. You might want
to circle back later in the day. Yellowtails
are known to roam, and it’s not unusual
to find fish in the afternoon under a
paddy that was dry in the morning.
Kelp-Paddy
Yellowtails
RODS:
7- to 8-foot
conventional,
rated for 25- to
40-pound line
REELS:
Small- and
medium-size
lever-drag reels
LINE:
50- to 65-pound
coated braid
with 1 to 2 feet of
25- to 40-pound
fluoro leader
TERMINAL
RIGS:
Free-lining: 3/0
to 5/0 Owner
Gorilla Light
hooks matched
to bait. Hook the
bait crosswise
through the nose
or through
the roof of the
mouth and out
the top. Yo-yo
fishing: Tady 9/0
or Salas 6X Jr. in
blue-and-white
patterns.
KELP-PADDY YELLOWS CALENDAR
MAY
JUNE
JULY
AUGUST
SEPTEMBER
OCTOBER
NOVEMBER
FEBRUARY - MARCH - APRIL
Manners Count
Too many anglers look for other boats
stopped on a paddy, then sidle in to fish it
too. This makes the offending skipper look
like a clueless hack and frustrates the crew
that hunted up its own paddy. It can also
result in ugly confrontations. Don’t poach
another boat’s paddy. Take pride in finding
your own.
80 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
FIGHT PLAN
California yellowtails know
kelp means safety, so a
hooked fish immediately
turns toward the paddy. A
big, powerful yellowtail is
difficult to stop on the first
run, and many are lost when
the fish plunges into the
weeds. Kelp looks soft, but
the fronds are studded with
sharp-shelled critters that
chafe and cut monofilament.
Opt for 50- to 65-pound
coated braid with a short
trace of fluoro leader. As the
yellowtail swims through the
kelp, the braid acts like a saw,
cutting through the fronds.
If you’re craving an earlyseason bluewater trip of the
coast of Southern California,
get out there and hunt up
some weeds. You just might
find a gang of bruiser yellowtails ready to bite.
STAGING:
Yellowtails
find cover and
forage beneath
kelp paddies
floating in
open, blue
water.
AUSTIN DERRY
DECEMBER - JANUARY
Losing access to a favorite fishing spot is an angler’s worst nightmare
– yet it’s happening all across the country.
Help put a stop to unfair legislative efforts that take away our right to fish.
It’s time we stand together.
To take action or donate, visit KeepAmericaFishing.org
Fishability / Blackfin 272 CC
Blackfin 272 CC
A STALWART FISHING MACHINE MARKS THE RETURN
OF A TIME-HONORED BRAND.
BY ALEX SUESCUN
B
LENGTH: 27'2"
WATER: 20 gal.
Building the right boat to lead the rebirth of a fabled brand is like first impressions: You get only one chance to make a good one. It makes sense that the longdormant Blackfin Boats announced its resurrection with the 272 CC, a center
console combining cutting-edge technology and -construction with the virtues that
originally earned the brand its stellar reputation and popularity.
BEAM: 9'4"
DRAFT: 24"
WEIGHT: 6,500 lb. plus power
82 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
FUEL: 275 gal.
DEADRISE: 22 degrees
PRICE: $217,583 w/ twin Yamaha F250s
MAX HP: 600
FUEL: 180 gal.
BLACKFIN BOATS: blackfinboats.com
TEST
CONDITIONS
WEATHER:
Partly sunny
LOCATION:
Key Biscayne, Florida
WIND:
Northeast 12 knots
SEA STATE:
1-foot chop
TEST LOAD:
Three adults,
180 gallons of fuel,
20 gallons of water
The console accommodates
dual MFDs, a slew of switches,
gauges, a stereo and more.
Flip-down bolsters and
armrests enable leaning or
sitting comfortably at the helm.
Bow seating includes storage
below, a removable table, and
twin backrests for lounging.
A bait-prep and tackle-storage
center behind the helm seats
houses a pullout cooler.
MAY 2018 - SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM 83
Fishability / Blackfin 272 CC
From the brawny looks and hull
design — with its lofty freeboard and
classic sloping sheer line — to the
spacious layout and fishing attributes,
this Blackfin battlewagon embodies
ofshore fishing without dismissing
the creature comforts that make the
27-footer suitable for the entire family.
With its composite stringer grid
and transom bonded into the hull, and
carbon-fiber reinforcement to ensure
superb structural integrity and rigidity,
the boat is built to take on rough seas
and reach far-from-shore fishing
grounds. Fit and finish stand out. All
hatches are finished inside and out,
incorporate custom hinges and latches,
and remain rattle- and creak-free in the
gnarliest conditions.
While the 272 CC exudes ruggedness,
a close examination reveals touches
of elegance like the two-tone
upholstery, and conveniences such as
the nine cup holders, two 12-volt and
three USB outlets to power marine
accessories and charge mobile devices,
a pressurized transom shower to keep
the crew cool, and raw- and freshwater
washdowns to rinse tackle and keep the
decks clean.
Substantial seating aboard the
Blackfin includes removable forwardfacing backrests on the U-shaped
bow seating with a drink cooler, and
two insulated storage compartments
underneath; a console seat with flip-up
armrests that accommodates two and
houses a cooler; a foldaway stern bench;
and at the helm, twin seats with flip-up
bolsters and armrests on a leaning-post
module with a bait-prep and tacklestorage station in back, complete with a
pullout faucet, storage drawers, tackle
trays on both sides, and a removable
cooler on a pullout slide.
Bow and cockpit coaming bolsters
and stainless-steel toe rails provide
added leverage for anglers locked
in battle.
Just forward of the center console,
a large, in-floor storage compartment
holds boat fenders and other wet or
cumbersome gear. In the cockpit, twin
hatches to port and starboard hide a
pair of 54-gallon fish boxes, which can
be upgraded to include macerated
84 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
pump-outs. On the port transom corner
sits a 30-gallon livewell with gasketed
lid and viewing window, fed by an
800 gph pump and a system of drains
and valves that enable precise water
flow, both in and out.
The fiberglass hardtop with powdercoated aluminum frame, a standard
feature on the 272 CC, includes
overhead storage, LED lighting, and
a tempered-glass windshield with
wiper and power-actuated vent, and
shades the forward-console seat and
the helm, where the expansive dash
provides ample room for dual 12-inch
multifunction displays, digital gauges,
two rocker-switch panels, a stereo
and more.
Rod storage includes four flushmounted holders on the covering
boards and five across the transom,
plus horizontal racks for two extra
rods under both gunwales. An optional
rocket launcher on the hardtop adds
another four rods to the arsenal.
A transom door ofers easy access
to the integral swim platform, where
a recessed, telescoping swim ladder
remains under a hatch, out of the way
until needed.
With the boat features surveyed, we
idled away from downtown Miami’s
skyline to the open waters of Biscayne
Bay, where we began the sea trial with a
series of shuttle runs, during which the
27-footer averaged 8 seconds to go from
zero to 30 mph, with minimal bow rise
at takeof.
We followed that by running at wideopen throttle, reaching a top speed of
56.7 mph.
Encountering a negligible 1-foot
chop, we sought out large, passing
vessels and took on their wakes at
various angles and speeds to see how
the Blackfin responded. Not only did
it slice through smoothly without
any pounding, but it also did so while
keeping us dry — commendable
considering the 12-knot breeze. The
boat also passed the slalom test with
flying colors, remaining responsive and
predictable throughout. And it excelled
on the turns, taking even the tight ones
at a fast clip without any slipping or
excessive leaning.
PERFORMANCE
It’s Baaaack:
The 272 CC brings Blackfin back
with a vengeance, and the ride and
performance don’t disappoint.
RPM
3,000
3,500
4,500
5,500
6,000
MPH
24.4
31.3
41.8
51.9
56.5
GPH
13.2
18.1
28.7
45.8
50.7
w/ twin Yamaha
F250s
Blackfin’s 272 CC upholds the storied
brand’s reputation and takes a solid
first step in bringing back a line of
capable fishing machines now based
on versatile, outboard-powered center
consoles designed and equipped for
more than ofshore angling.
Any avid fisherman who shares
quality time on the water with the
family should again think of Blackfin
when it comes time to shop for a new
boat, then find a nearby dealer and give
this particular model a good look.
NEW
SPECIES.
NEW
CHECK IT OUT ON
SPOTS.
NEW
SEASON.
PRESENTED BY
Fishability / Robalo R317
Robalo R317
A MULTIPURPOSE FAMILY MODEL THAT’S LONG
ON FISHABILITY
BY ALEX SUESCUN
R
LENGTH: 31'10"
Robalo, a brand synonymous with fishing, recently launched its largest
model ever, one the whole family is bound to fall in love with. The R317,
the latest addition to the builder’s dual-console series, is chock full of
conveniences and amenities for fun on the water, without forgetting
about the fishing essentials.
BEAM: 10'6"
WEIGHT: 7,982 lb. plus power
86 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
DRAFT: 21"
MAX HP: 700
DEADRISE: 21 degrees
FUEL: 260 gal.
PRICE: $183,595 w/ twin 300s
WATER: 25 gal.
ROBALO BOATS: robalo.com
TEST
CONDITIONS
WEATHER:
Partly sunny
LOCATION:
Key Biscayne, Florida
WIND:
Northeast 12 knots
SEA STATE:
1-foot chop
TEST LOAD:
Three adults, 260
gallons of fuel, 25 gallons of water
The helm sports a 12- or 16inch glass dash for an MFD,
bookended by switch panels.
Vista-View aft lounge seat
features backrests that lie flat
at the touch of a button.
A transom door to starboard
provides access to the
integrated swim platform.
An oval 25-gallon livewell with
clear lid sits strategically in the
port transom corner.
MAY 2018 - SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM 87
Fishability / Robalo R317
It all starts with the design and
layout, which place a premium on
stability and comfort, and include
a variety of seating arrangements
meant to promote interaction among
crewmembers and allow for serious
relaxation.
Bow seating includes flip-down
armrests and consists of a single starboard seat integrated in the door to
the step-down head compartment —
furnished with a sink, electric toilet,
storage shelf, vanity cabinet and
counter — and a portside L-shaped
seat with room for four, concealing ample insulated storage with
overboard drain.
Double helm seats sit behind each
console, in the shade of an oversize
fiberglass hardtop complete with LED
lights, rod holders and dry storage. An
optional retractable sunshade extends
over the cockpit, where the openconcept seating includes a 36-quart
88 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
removable cooler to port, augmented
by a removable table, perfect for
entertaining and sharing lunch with
a view. Replacing the usual rear
bulkhead/transom, Robalo’s patentpending Vista-View lounge seat lets
you adjust the dual backrests to your
preferred position — or lay them flat,
creating a sizable sun pad — at the
touch of a button.
The Robalo also incorporates a side
door in the cockpit, a full-beam integrated swim platform with aft-facing
seating, walk-through transom door,
telescoping boarding ladder, and a
transom freshwater pullout shower,
plus a cabin with lockable entry at the
portside helm, featuring a full fiberglass liner, LED lighting, a sleeping
area, carbon-monoxide detector, and
storage for four rods.
The R317 helm station, on the
starboard console, features a 12-inch
glass dash, which can be upgraded to
16 inches to accommodate a larger
multifunction display and is bookended by panels of backlit switches
with circuit breakers. There’s also
a stereo with remote and auxiliary
inputs, 12-volt and USB power stations, switches with indicator lights
for the Lenco trim tabs, and real estate
left for options like the Optimus 360
joystick for easy docking and maneuvering. A cockpit gas grill, and a wet
bar with fridge, cutting board, sink
and freshwater faucet — in lieu of the
starboard cockpit seating — are among
the other available options.
For the anglers in the family, the
31-footer is equipped with a 50-gallon
fish box beneath the aft seats, a
25-gallon oval livewell with LED
lighting and clear lid on the port
transom corner, raw-water washdown,
stainless-steel toe rail in the starboard
cockpit, four vertical rod tubes on the
hardtop frame, undergunwale rack
for two rods to starboard, and a pair
of flush-mounted combination drink/
rod holders on the covering boards,
with more easily added as an option.
The hull of the R317 utilizes a forward keel to slice through the waves,
and an extended running surface that
allows the V-plane to continue abaft
the transom for superior stability in
a range of sea conditions. The HydroLift hull design afords quick planing
and acceleration, as well as excellent
fuel efficiency. The extended running
surface coupled with the tight aft hull
corners deliver everything you need
when taking sharp turns.
The new Robalo is available with
a choice of power. Our test boat was
rigged with twin Yamaha F300s,
which pushed the boat from zero to
30 mph in 10 seconds and delivered a
top speed of 55.1 mph as we sprinted
across south Biscayne Bay in Miami.
Power-assisted hydraulic steering,
standard on the R317, made turning
efortless, and the boat felt limber
throughout all maneuvers. Prop
torque proved minimal, and even in
reverse, the 31-footer turned promptly
in both directions with no appreciable
lag time.
Despite some wind during our sea
trial, there was never a reason to close
the bow walk-through and its custom
windshield or to use the windshield
wiper on the starboard console. And
thanks to the high freeboard, which
provides a definite sense of security
in the cockpit, no sea spray made it
over the gunwales.
If your next boat is destined for
outings with family and friends that
include cruising and a mix of watersports as well as fishing, this Robalo
deserves serious consideration. Not
only does it do lots of things well, but
it is also reasonably priced, taking into
account all its bells and whistles.
PERFORMANCE
FAMILY
FUNCTION
With twin
Yamaha F300s,
the R317
handles heavy
loads well,
with plenty of
pep to spare.
RPM
3,500
4,000
4,500
5,500
6,000
MPH
30.8
36.6
42.0
50.4
54.4
GPH
16.1
23.5
29.5
48.0
51.5
w/ twin Yamaha
F300s
MAY 2018 - SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM 89
The Traveling Fisherman
1ST CHOICE
Hawaii
Dominican
Republic
Ecuador
Dominican
Republic
Florida
Guatemala
Mexico
Bermuda
Bermuda
Florida
90 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
2ND CHOICE
COMMENTS
Costa Rica
Pacific Blue Marlin: Some blues are available year-round off
Kona, Hawaii, but numbers begin to increase in May as summer,
peak blue marlin season in the area, approaches. In Costa Rica,
the action off Flamingo and Tamarindo remains reliable, but the
FADs down south are heating up and will yield 10 or more blue
marlin strikes on a good day.
Turks and
Caicos
Atlantic Blue Marlin: It’s finally peak time for blues in Dominican waters, so visiting anglers can expect half a dozen shots or
more per day at aggressive fish in the 150- to 250-pound range. In
theTurks and Caicos, the bite is on the upswing, and the fish there
are considerably larger. The North Wall, just a few miles from
Providenciales, and the humps to the east are known hot spots.
Costa Rica
Black Marlin: An influx of big blacks spurs the billfish action
along Ecuador’s Marlin Boulevard this time of year. The FADs
off Costa Rica’s south Pacific coast begin to heat up, and many
of the marlin that come to the party will be blacks in the 150- to
300-pound class. Several underwater pinnacles much closer to
shore will host their share of fish also.
Bermuda
White Marlin: The hot action continues off the northeast
coast of the D.R. as hungry whites pounce on trolled baits,
often competing with blue marlin. The FADs are particularly
good this time of year. In Bermuda waters, white marlin start
to make their entrance this month, and their numbers steadily
increase as summertime inches closer.
Mexico
Atlantic Sailfish: Florida sailfish prospects remain strong as
reliable fishing continues to reward anglers from the Keys to
Fort Pierce with multiple releases per day. Live-baiting and kitefishing are responsible for most of the catches. Sailfishing off
Isla Mujeres and Cancun wanes as fish migrate out of the area,
but enough linger to make the effort worthwhile.
Costa Rica
Pacific Sailfish: Anglers traveling to Guatemala find plenty
of aggressive and cooperative sailfish, and the bite most days
begins just 20 miles out, which translates into additional fishing
time. In Costa Rican waters, decent fishing spreads all along
the Pacific coast, but in May the bite is traditionally better to the
north, off Flamingo, Tamarindo and El Ocotal.
Ecuador
Striped Marlin: The Baja Peninsula, Cabo San Lucas in particular, boasts one of the world’s most prolific striped marlin fisheries, and the action kicks up a notch or two this time of year when
double- and triple-headers are common. In the Galapagos, folks
willing to put up with a few showers cash in on some spectacular
flurries, with as many as two- to four-dozen hookups.
Florida
Wahoo: Bermuda’s striped torpedoes are as plentiful as they’ll
be all year. This month, 20-fish days hardly raise any eyebrows.
Many locals prefer trolling live bait, but pulling dark-colored
Ilander lures rigged with horse ballyhoo also does the trick. Wahoo numbers off east central Florida jump up in May, becoming
the target of boats out of Port Canaveral and nearby inlets.
Hawaii
Yellowfin Tuna: The largest tuna of the year hunt Bermuda’s
offshore banks this month. Chumming while at anchor or drifting gets fish within range, but free-lining liveys often bags the
100-pounders. The yellowfin invasion in Hawaiian waters begins
in May, and the fishing gets steadily better throughout the summer. Come ready to tangle with 150- to 300-pound bruisers.
Bahamas
Blackfin Tuna: South Florida is still the best option for blackfins as the humps along the Atlantic side of the Keys remain
stacked with hungry tuna. With temperatures on the rise, going
deep will likely yield more bites, especially during midday
hours. In the Bahamas, packs of hungry blackfins continue their
raids along reef edges in depths of 100 to 150 feet.
© D I A N E R O M E P E E B L ES
SPECIES
B E S T W O R L D W I D E F I S H I N G : M AY 2 0 1 8
SPECIES
1ST CHOICE
2ND CHOICE
Bahamas
Florida
Florida
Belize
Louisiana
New Jersey
COMMENTS
Turks and
Caicos
Bonefish: Warm weather and gentler breezes increasingly
prevail in the Bahamas, and bonefishing turns as reliable and
productive as it can be, with lots of tailers to target this month.
In the Turks and Caicos, some 60 square miles of pristine flats
are home to vast bonefish schools. Many will be foraging in
skinny water here too, making wade-fishing a prime tactic.
Mexico
Snook: The bite in Florida is off the hook this month as snook
are both active and widespread. Live-baiting inlets, passes, and
nearby island troughs and docks will yield the biggest payoffs.
South of the border, the Yucatan’s mangrove-lagoon systems
also hold lots of snook on the prowl. Finding action won’t be
tough, but trophy fish will be harder to come by than in Florida.
Mexico
Tarpon: With the spring migration in full swing, tarpon fishing
along both Florida coasts is red-hot, especially in the southern
part of the state, where everything from live bait to flies will put
fish in the air. In the Yucatan, 5- to 15-pounders continue to feed
voraciously in brackish lagoons and the backcountry of major
bays. Big fish begin to migrate along the coast this month also.
Florida
Permit: In Belize, fishing for the unnerving sickle-tailed fish is
superb on the flats and shoals. Winds still average more than
15 knots, but rain diminishes, which bodes well for sight-fishing.
In South Florida, more permit find their way back to the
shallows, improving chances to hook up, especially in Miami’s
Biscayne Bay and the lower Keys.
Florida
Red Drum: Louisiana’s marshes teem with baitfish, and redfish
of all sizes are on their trail. Sight-fishing in ponds and bayous
is top-notch, but fishing for schooling bulls on the outside is not
yet at its peak. Redfishing in Florida is very productive in May. You
won’t find many schools, but there’ll be lots of singles and small
packs on the grass flats and mangrove shorelines.
New York
Striped Bass: Stripers again dominate inshore fishing
throughout the Northeast because fish have exited their winter
haunts by now and aggressively feed on juvenile bunker. To
find the fish, look for bait schooling in the inlets and major bays
along the coasts of New Jersey and New York, like Barnegat
Bay, Great South Bay, Shinnecock and others.
.
Florida
Louisiana
New Jersey
Florida
Texas
Swordfish: Drifting deep baits during daylight hours remains
effective off South Florida, but with better sea conditions and
warming temps, more broadbill hunters switch to fishing after
dark, when swords follow squid toward the surface. Off the coast
of the Lone Star State, deep-dropping rigged squid during the day
also yields multiple shots at broadbills.
Florida
King Mackerel: A resident population of 30-plus-pounders is
joined in the northern Gulf of Mexico by migrating schools of
varying sizes. Find the offshore oil rigs with clean water closest
to the Mississippi Delta, and troll or drift live bait around the
perimeters. Once you locate fish, toss out liveys to chum them
in. The Florida Panhandle is another good option for kings.
New York
Bluefish: With coastal waters warmer and baitfish abundant,
hordes of ravenous blues move northward, reaching New
Jersey and New York shores this month. Look for schooling
baitfish around the inlets and inside the major bays, paying special attention to boat basins and deep channels along extensive
flats. The blues won’t be far away.
Bahamas
Dolphin: With calmer seas and a southeast onshore breeze
becoming more prevalent, weed lines start forming off South
Florida just in time for the start of the dolphin run. Running and
gunning work well this month, but be sure to troll around any
weed lines you find. In the Bahamas, dolphin catches also increase
off the northern islands as more fish migrate through the region.
MAY 2018 - SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM 91
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Backcast
I L LU ST RAT I ON BY ST E VE H A E FE LE
Dues to Pay
BREAKING INTO SALTWATER FISHING
OFTEN COMES WITH UNFORESEEN COSTS
BY DOU G P I KE
An Alabama banker found out this past summer
that you can’t count on fishermen, even friends
who fish, to tell you everything they know.
Tommy, a bass angler for years, was
eager to try saltwater fishing after he
relocated to the Gulf Coast this past
summer, and two co-workers invited
him to do just that.
They caught good weather and good
fish. Especially Tommy, who’d never felt
anything fight as hard as each of the fish
he hooked ofshore.
Idling into the marina in the late
afternoon, they noticed a man walking
toward them.
“Game warden,” said the boat’s owner, turning to Tommy. “Real stickler.
Hope you brought your license.”
Tommy had his license.
The guy in the green shirt and khaki
98 SALTWATERSPORTSMAN.COM - MAY 2018
pants opened by asking if they’d caught
any fish.
“Some snappers, a few kings,” the
skipper ofered. “Our rookie got a nice
cobia too.”
Tommy knew they’d caught and iced
more fish, but he’d been assured by his
hosts that their catch was within state
bag limits.
The warden asked to see the men’s
licenses, which were in order, and then
to have a look at their haul.
The captain opened a large ice chest,
which held some but not all of the fish
the trio had boxed.
“Nice work,” the warden acknowledged, “and I’m glad you remembered
to clip those dorsals so we can identify
each of your fish.”
“Yep, these are our fish,” the third
angler assured. “Clip, clip. Second spine
on mine, and third on his.”
“How about your fish? Where are
they?” the warden asked, turning to
Tommy, who suddenly felt uneasy.
“I thought some of those were mine,”
he said, a little confused. “There are a
few more in this other box.”
The warden opened the second container, which held Tommy’s big cobia
and half a dozen more fish that Tommy
distinctly remembered being placed
there after the first box filled. They’d all
contributed to that box.
“I’m pretty sure those are his fish,”
the chatty co-worker ofered, pointing
at Tommy.
“The big one is mine for sure,”
Tommy said, now feeling betrayed, “but
I’m not claiming the rest.”
“You clipped your fish, right?” the
warden asked Tommy. “Catch, clip,
consume. Like they told you when you
bought your license.”
The other two fishermen repeated the
warden’s chant.
Tommy felt downright ill. He hadn’t
clipped any fins, and he didn’t recall
anyone telling him to do so.
“So, if all these unclipped fish are
yours, we got ourselves a problem,” the
warden said. “You’re looking at three …
four … about a dozen citations, and I’ll
have to confiscate your tackle.”
“This is … wrong!” Tommy exclaimed.
(He didn’t actually say “wrong,” but that
was the gist of his statement.)
The warden pried two new rigs,
bought just days prior to his first saltwater experience, from Tommy’s hands.
“Either of you want these?” the warden asked, then burst out laughing.
Then everyone was laughing, except
Tommy.
“He’s not a game warden,” the boat
owner confessed. “He lives next door.
We’re just messing with you.”
“That cobia meat’s like shoe leather,”
the neighbor said, “but my cats like it.
Mind if …”
“That’s enough,” the skipper interrupted. “Welcome aboard, Tommy.”
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