By Susan King
My sympathies go out to the family of John Jr.
He was such a good friend and always smiling.I’ve known him for many years.
I loved fishing with him, and helping him out in the shop. He was a great cook and he was the one to go to when you wanted to know just about anything. I miss him so much. I am glad I got to see him before he went to the big bay in the sky.
I haven’t been able to get over him being gone. And I just want to take this moment to say we lost a good man with a good heart. Not many in this world like him.
I miss you John Jr. I hope to see you again one day and we will fish the best places. You were one in a million.
By Michael Miller
July 29, 2015
So, the last few weeks I’ve committed to getting my kids off the XBox and outside. We’ve taken a few trips to places like Ginnie Springs. But, I also got my kids hooked on fishing!
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take my youngest fishing (he’s 9). We went to the pier and set up shop. after a few catfish, he started to get board and a storm that had went out over the water was drifting back our way.
Just as we were getting ready to pack up, my pole doubled over (it is a heavy action rod) and I heard my son yell with excitement “Fish on!” I looked around and my nine year old had grabbed my rod and was pulling back as hard as he could. His face was beet red! I ran up and coached him, telling him to walk the line to the end of the pier. He fought the monster on the other end for about 5 minutes but he says it felt like an hour! We got the fish up and to my surprise, it was a large bonnet-head shark; about 4 1/2 Ft. long! it was as tall as him!
His brother whom is 14 cam back later that week from a summer trip and saw the pictures. His first words when getting in the truck were “Man! Why do I always miss the good stuff!” this was coming from a kid who I couldn’t bribe to go fishing earlier in the year!
We made tentative plans to try to go fishing once a week. I fixed up my poles and bought my oldest a new heavy combo so he can fish. We’re going out tonight and I hope to make some memories. So, if you have kids with controllers glued to their hands, take them fishing! I’ll change your family!
By Bait N’ Wait Tackle
Alex had a terrible day fishing on the lake, sitting in the blazing sun all day without catching a single one. On his way home, he stopped at the fish market and ordered four rainbow trout. He told the clerk, ‘Pick four large ones out and throw them at me, will you?’
‘Why do you want me to throw them at you?’ Asked the salesman?’ So that I am able to tell my wife, in all honesty, that I caught them.’ said Alex.
‘Okay, but I suggest that you take the salmon.’ Why’s that? ‘Because your wife came in earlier today and said that if you came by, I should tell you to take salmon. That’s what she’d like for supper tonight’, replied the clerk with a grin
By Susan King
October 2, 2003
As I went thru the News Press here in Ft.Myers a couple of days ago,I saw the face I most hate in a column.
Yes. It is Byron Stout-the couch potato from Tallahassee who THINKS we consider him an expert in fishing knowledge.
Anyway,the subject was culling.
(for those of you who aren’t familiar with this word,it means you take like a 25 inch red and keep him in your livewell,and then catch a 26 and a half red,and release the smaller one)
Well, according to the fishing commission,this act is now illegal to all of us peon basic anglers, but TOURNAMENT anglers ARE allowed to do this!
As they state,”the redfish mortality would be higher if the general public was allowed to cull.rather than MORE EXPERINCED AND BETTER EQUIPPED tournament anglers.”
Is that not a KICK in thee ass to us?
Who do these people think they are??!
Because I cannot afford the highly expensive tournament fees and do not own a $200,000 damn boat,I am NOT trusted to cull???
I would give ANYTHING to get one of them loser tournament anglers up against me in a fishing contest and we will SEE who keeps our species alive to do the old switch and bait routine.
I, of course wrote numerous letters to the commission and to the news press editor section.
But I know I won’t get any responses.
I never do.
We,the everyday anglers ALWAYS get the shaft.
Whether there is a meeting somewhere in town,and they forget to notify the general public (see snook regs) or when they feel our lowly pathetic lives don’t need to know about any surveys going on.
Well, now they have a survey posted for you to take.
Not that is will matter in the long run.
Go to: http://myfwc.com and look to the right side of the page for the survey.
While you’re there, check out the survey about a $5 bass stamp!
God. Some losers are ACTUALLY voting for this!
Fishing in S.W.Florida is coming to an end,my friends…
The money and politics aspect has taken over…
Someone tell me why the regs for snook are different over on the east coast?
I still cannot understand that.
Bent Rods and Hot Nights……
P.S. Watch Out!
Pretty soon,you may find yourself in jail for SMOKING ON THE BEACH ALSO!
(If Wayne Daltry and Marge Ward have their way!)
By Prince Phillip
Just sitting here playing around.
Got on your website and found OUR story is still on there! Where has the time gone my friend. thinking about the days in Springlake and the cabin. I just hope you will never forget me.
Your friend forever: Prince Philip.
April 3, 2002
We were fishing off Fort Myers beach at about mid-night with some squid as bait. Me and my cousin were talking when the pole along with the beach chair that we attached it to was pulled right into the water. My cousin caught the pole and yanked the pole back to make sure what ever was on the pole was on good. When he pulled, the thing in the water was so strong that it took all the line and left the spool spinning like crazy. Then it started thrashing around in the water. Then it was gone. Never found out what it was.
By Prince Phillip
January 7, 2002
Those were the days John when you and I fished together on Potts Lake by the cabin. Also I won’t forget the spearing on Springlake where we speared the boat. And the whole day we spent in the HAMM’S CAN and never caught a fish on Lake Michigan. Those were the days my friend.
Your friend Phil.
P.S. I still miss you.
By Susan King
June 15, 2005
Another article that pisses me off to no end.
Remember:The ban is on ONLY till the tourist season starts up again!
ps.I have hated Byron Stout since moving here 12 years ago.
And IMO,the commission needs a huge overhaul to get rid of the pathetic
dead weight that continues to restrict fish on their whims.
If SW florida would STOP building and start restricting the throngs of humans from invading our cities,then we wouldn’t have so many damn restrictions.
We moved down here for the FISHING. Not the restrictions.
Anyone going to the Naples hearings so we can be ignored when we attempt to speak up and protest?
Grouper ban angers anglers
Fed plan would temporarily halt fishing
By Byron Stout
Published by news-press.com on May 11, 2005
Public hearings on recreational red grouper proposals will be held at
the following locations and dates. Specific times and places will be
announced on the Web at gulfcouncil.org.
• Thursday, June 16 — Destin
• Monday, June 27 — Key West
• Tuesday, June 28 — Naples
• Wednesday, June 29 — Madeira Beach
Interim rules to reduce recreational reg grouper catches are expected
to be in place sometime in July.
A federal plan to close recreational grouper fishing in the Gulf of
Mexico for as many as four months has local anglers upset.
Local businesses that depend on grouper fishing fear the worst.
Charter Capt. Roy Gottschalk has run grouper trips out of Fort Myers
Beach for 31 years.
He thinks a grouper closure could be career-ending.
”’We want to catch grouper, Cap.’ That’s what you hear every day,”
“They’ll just shut us down and put us all on welfare. They’ll have
unemployment lines with nothing but fishermen in them.”
Red grouper are classified as overfished. They have been regulated
under a rebuilding plan since July. Fishery managers say skyrocketing
sport-fishing catches are wrecking the plan.
Under the 10-year recovery plan, sport fishing interests are allowed
to take 19 percent of the red grouper harvest. Commercial boats take
The proposed rules will not affect the commercial availability of
In addition to creating a temporary closed season for red grouper,
fishery managers say it also is necessary to close gag grouper — an
even more important recreational fish — plus six other shallow-water
They include black grouper, because fishing for those fish could kill
red grouper caught by accident.
That would put sport and charter fishing boats out of the grouper
fishing business for prime fishing periods.
“There are guys who grouper are the only thing they target offshore,”
said Wayne Dutton, a partner at Cape Tool & Tackle on Pine Island
Road. “They’re going to destroy this fishery. There’s a trickle
effect. Nobody will buy any big boats, and the captains on (Fort
Myers) Beach are going to be put out of business for months.”
Federal fishery managers have not estimated the economic impact their
decisions could have on the economy of Florida, where 95 percent of
shallow-water groupers — mainly reds and gag — are landed.
The only number NOAA Fisheries economist Tony Lamberte could provide
was an estimate of $26 million in annual net profit from red grouper
fishing for the for-hire fishery — charter and party boats.
“We don’t have a value for gag,” Lamberte said. “For gag it should be
more, I would say.
“Gag is basically a recreational fishery; more than 70 percent of the
catch is made by the recreational sector. In the red grouper fishery,
only 20 percent is by the recreational sector, and 80 percent is
“If you shut down gag it will be a whole lot more than that.”
Those millions, however, are for for-hire boats only. The
recreational grouper catch is made primarily by private boats, for
which there is no estimate of economic value. Lamberte said those
estimates should be available by July.
Ted Forsgren, of the recreational fishing group Coastal Conservation
Association of Florida, said he will urge his 9,900 members to take
part in four public hearings the Gulf Council will hold in June,
including one in Naples on June 29.
Bokeelia angler Hank Littleton said he’ll be there.
Before Hurricane Charley slowed him down, he and friends used to fish
about once a week in his 29-foot, diesel-powered Stamas. They
targeted red grouper in about 100 feet of water off Boca Grande or
Captiva Pass, sharing about $60 in fuel costs.
Normally, Littleton said, four anglers would catch a limit of 20
grouper — mostly reds with one or two gag.
“They already killed it for someone like me. I can’t afford to go out
30 miles and catch two red grouper,” Littleton said of the current
bag limit, reduced from five red grouper to two last July.
Federal managers are considering reducing the red grouper bag limit
to one, plus two other shallow-water groupers, for a total of three.
Littleton said he might sell his boat.
Tom Nichols, owner of Bonita Boat Center, said the high-end boats
used for grouper fishing are key to his 24-year-old dealership’s
profitability. He estimated he could lose $700,000 to $1 million in
sales during the fall season closure alone.
Forsgren claims federal regulators are ignoring a better option. An
increase in the minimum size limit — now 20 inches for red grouper —
could achieve the same reduction in harvest by protecting more fish.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Web site reports an
increase in the minimum size for red grouper from 20 inches to 22
inches would result in a 32 percent decrease in harvest if 10 percent
of shorter grouper were accidentally killed when thrown back.
Roy Crabtree, director of federal fisheries management for the
Southeast, said he is not considering an increase in the minimum size
because the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has said it
didn’t like that method.
He noted the decision was his to make for any interim rule. It could
last for 180 days with a possible 180-day extension.
Crabtree said his goal is to have the interim rule in place in July.
He emphasized it will not be permanent. He also wanted to emphasize
that no decisions on the length of closures or reductions in bag
limits have been made.
Crabtree noted public hearings could impact his decision.
“We’ll take their comments into account, and I’m getting a lot of
comments now. I understand that people don’t like closures. And I
understand there are people who think it should only be reds.
“And I understand there are people who don’t believe the numbers,” he
said of the surveys that show the recreational red grouper catch
increased by 130 percent in 2004 — a year shortened by four
By Bait N’ Wait
January 10. 2013
CATCHING BAIT WITH SABIKI RIGS MAYBE SOME PEOPLE ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH SABIKIS IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEAL TO EXPLAIN THEM. A SABIKI RIG IS BASICALLY A LEADER WITH SEVERAL HOOKS ATTACHED THAT CAN HAVE A COMBINATION OF FEATHERS, BEADS, PLASTIC SHRIMP OR FISH SKIN ON THE HOOKS TO ATTRACT BAIT FISH TO STRIKE THE HOOKS RATHER THAN ADDING BAIT LIKE SQUID OR SHRIMP, ALTHOUGH ON OCCASION I DO SWEETEN THE HOOKS IF NECESSARY. WHEN THE BAITFISH GET HOOKED, AN ANGLER CAN CATCH FROM ONE TO 5 OR SO DEPENDING ON HOW MANY HOOKS THE SABIKI HAS ON IT. MOST OF MY CUSTOMERS ENJOY CATCHING BAIT IN THIS MANOR. USUALLY THE FIRST STOP ON THE WAY TO FISHING OFFSHORE IS TO GET SOME QUALITY BAIT AS YOUR SUCCESS USUALLY HINGES ON THE BAIT & THE AMOUNT THAT YOU HAVE. BAIT FISH THAT WORK VERY WELL FOR BOTTOM FISHING FOR GROUPER OR SNAPPER ARE PIN FISH, SARDINES, SQUIRREL FISH, THREADFINS & VARIOUS GRUNTS. BLUE RUNNERS WHICH ARE MUCH LARGER THAN THE OTHER BAIT I REFERRED TO, WORK ESPECIALLY WELL FOR KINGFISH AND SHARKS. SABIKI RIGS ARE MARKETED BY VARIOUS MANUFACTURES AND COME IN DIFFERENT SIZE HOOKS TO CATCH DIFFERENT SIZE BAIT FISH. (SEE PHOTO) GAMAKATSU HAS A RIG THAT THEY CALL A JIGGING RIG THAT I LIKE. A SABIKI RIG CAN BE USED ON ALMOST ANY ROD & REEL, BUT I PREFER A CUSTOM SABIKI ROD & REEL BAIT CATCHER THAT BAIT N WAIT TACKLE IN FT MYERS BEACH MANUFACTURES. IT IS A HOLLOW ROD ABOUT 6′ WHEN EXTENDED THAT ALLOWS THE RIG TO GO THROUGH THE INSIDE, THEREFORE PROTECTING THE ANGLER FROM ALL THE SMALL VERY SHARP HOOKS WHEN BEING USED OR WHEN STORING THE ROD. IT ALSO IS TELESCOPIC DOWN TO ABOUT 3′, SO THAT IT CAN BE STORED WITH EASE WITH THE HOOKS ALL UNEXPOSED. THE UNIT UTILIZES A ALVEY REEL WHICH IS SOMETHING LIKE A FLY REEL WITH A 1 TO 1 RETRIEVE SPEED & A SIMPLE TO SET DRAG SYSTEM, A VERY SIMPLE REEL SYSTEM. ALSO A BRAID LINE IS UTILIZED AS IT IS MUCH EASIER TO DETECT STRIKES DUE TO THE NON STRETCH OF THE LINE. A LEAD SINKER USED TO GET THE RIG TO THE BOTTOM ALSO DOUBLES AS A STOP AT THE END OF THE ROD WHEN RETRIEVING IT.
THE SABIKI IS AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT PART OF SUCCESSFUL ANGLING RESULTS AND I HOPE THAT THIS REPORT WILL BE HELPFUL TO YOUR SUCCESS.
December 15, 2004
I was at the matanzas pass fishing pier after a long week of work and school. The time had finally come to go fishing. I had just left Bait N’Wait with my live pinfish, and frozen mullet, and I was ready for anything. Taking Big Johns advice, I set up about an hour before high tide, and cast out my 3/0 Penn with a piece of cut mullet into the channel, and just let it sit with the drag set so I could hear it. I left the 3/0 to do its thing, and started working the peirs and structures with a live pinfish. After about ten mins of nothing happening, I decided to loosen my drag on my Penn 4500 SS, (don’t ask my why i did it, i don’t know why) but all of a sudden, pop, there goes my drag know. Needless to say, I was P.O’d. So I left my gear under the supervision of my friend, and drove down to Bait ‘N Wait as fast as I could, to get a new drag knob. John had it, of course, (he seems to have at least one of everything, and his shop is SPOTLESS!!!) and I was back on my way. I got back, and got set up again, and after about 15 mins of working the peirs with the pin, my 3/0 started SCREAMING. I leaped over to it, and hit the fish, and started cranking. It was a good fight, even on that crane, and eventually, a MONSTER REDFISH surfaced, and all the tourists on the pier were yelling “Its a nurse shark, It’s a nurse shark”, I just laughed. I didnt have a tape measure with me, so I took a picture with my camera phone of the fish next to my pole, so I could measure the pole later. I knew one thing for sure, this fish was way too big to keep, so I wished him good luck, and sent him on his way. The crazy thing about the whole story, is that just as I was landing the red, my other pole, which I forgot about, started being dragged into the water. I handed my pole to my fishing buddy jessica, and dived on my spinning rod. I started whaling on this huge snook ( he jumped and i saw him), and he just started trucking on my, and snapped me off right on a dock, I was furious! So thats when I released the red, and so on. All in all, it was a great night fishing, all thanks to Big John at Bait n’ Wait.