The wahoo, featured on this month’s cover, is extremely popular among Florida bluewater anglers. This relative of the king mackerel and tunas typically announces its presence with a sudden strike followed by a long, fast run. Wahoo may weigh up to 200 pounds, but the average size in Florida is 30 to 50 pounds. This month’s cover story by Editor Jeff Weakley spotlights a novel way of attracting wahoo and other ocean fish to a drifting boat, by using a long chain of flashy teaser lures suspended in the water column. Holding the wahoo on the cover is Florida Sportsman Reel Time TV host Capt. George Gozdz and Boca Raton angler Capt. Nick Cardella.
October begins commercial stone crab season, which means trappers will be deploying buoys and lines along choice hard bottom stretches all along Florida’s lower Gulf Coast. While the gear itself is strictly off-limits, recreational anglers might take the buoys as a sign of probable good fishing waters, as writer David Brown discusses in the page 28 feature. Closer to shore, there’s some good backwater how-to from Capt. Ron Kowalyk in the Inshore Seminar, revealing a Carolina-style bottom rig for redfish and other scent feeders. Also, don’t miss photographer Collin Ross’ tribute to father-and-daughter fishing days, with stunning images from Biscayne Bay.
Spanish mackerel and bonito are raging through minnows all around the Florida coasts this time of year. What better way to catch these hard-pulling fish than casting light fly tackle? Learn some tactics for easy, effective fly fishing from the pros in “Fall Fly Fishing Bonanza.” In tackle news, there’ve been some major advances in spinning technology, as explored by Publisher Blair Wickstrom on a trip to Costa Rica for big yellowfin tuna. Check out the Tropical Sportsman Roundup for an exclusive look at new gear and a classic fishery.
Florida hunters are blessed with millions of acres of public lands. But not all public lands are publicly owned, and the story behind this unique partnership is outlined in full by veteran reporter Chris Christian. Learn how the state is making available public access on private timber lands, military bases and other sites. And, learn why that relationship is beneficial to all sides. For local recommendations on game seasons and hunting areas in October, check out the Action Spotter reports for your region.
As summer turns to fall, bass tournaments resume on many of Florida’s rivers and lakes. The participants represent a wide cross section of Floridians, from all walks of life. Ever picture yourself taking the stage at a big event? You will, after reading the feature article by Tyler Brinks, “Casting Call.” Brinks interviews two of Florida’s up-and-coming bass pros, and delves into the scene, the hard work, and the motivation that drives anglers to make sacrifices to pursue the sport they love and the recognition they deserve.
Favoritism shown to commercial permit-holders is lingering byproduct of the federal saltwater management system, as Editor in Chief Karl Wickstrom points out in his Openers column. Some days, commercial fishermen load up on fish while recreational anglers must sit at home, due to season closures implemented to maximize market landings. Some mixed news on the South Atlantic side, as reported in On the Conservation Front: The federal council has moved away from wide restrictions on deepwater bottom fish in favor of targeted measures aimed at rebuilding Warsaw grouper and speckled hind.