Bought a boat? Let’s avoid this feeling of shipwreck. here’s how


So, Popeye, you bought yourself a boat.

Stock up on fishing tackle, Yeti’s latest knockoff, and even gear up in all colors of Columbia shirts, clearance Tommy Bahama shorts, and . . . What is that? A Tilley hat on top and Hey Dude briefs on the bottom?

Styling and profiling.

Well, at least you’ll look good when Sea Tow frees you from Disappearing Island. Or when you enter dozens of cell phone photo files after your fourth attempt to have your boat towed to the too-public boat launch.

But wait, you might be able to avoid the potential embarrassment that comes with boat ownership.

“You should probably go ahead and take a boater safety course in Florida,” says Captain Charlie Beardsley. “It will make you a better boater. Every time on the water, it’s a different situation.

Or, for starters, you can take advantage of the Halifax Sport Fishing Club’s upcoming monthly seminar next Thursday (June 16) at its Port Orange headquarters (3431 S. Ridgewood).

Beardsley, a New Smyrna Beach Auxiliary Coast Guard staff member for 12 years, will provide advice and answer questions regarding the operation of boats in our local waters, as well as safety issues to keep in mind.

Captain Charlie Beardsley

First, the problem that makes men like Beardsley so necessary: ​​If you were born before January 1, 1988, you don’t have to take a boating safety course in Florida. So if you’re 34 (like Captain Beardsley, by the way) but you’re basically a newbie at the helm (unlike Beardsley, by the way), you can tow your boat from the dealership to the ramp and accelerate faster than you can shout mayday.

But, it goes without saying, you might want to slow your wake. In terms of potentially bad results, boating probably ranks behind flying, but still. . .

“No rules of the road, just drop your boat off,” says Beardsley. “But we try to help people avoid big mistakes.”

Such as?

“New boaters often underestimate the wind,” he says. “They don’t take the wind into account when steering the boat. Wind and current are important factors, especially when bringing the boat to dock.

“Also, just knowing the rules of the road, which side of the canal to be on, how to pass another boat, be careful of paddle boats – you see a ton of paddle boards out there, and you need to know how react around them.”

STAY OR LEAVE? Casting doubt on a fishing hole? Maybe it’s time to weigh anchor

FISHING TIPS:Went fishing but didn’t get any bites? These local anglers have some tips for you

It’s also a good idea to double-check, or even triple-check, your vests, fire extinguishers, and other safety items to make sure you’re up to code and, by the way, safe.

Beardsley has recently started working with local boat dealers with the aim of setting up instruction courses with new boat owners. But if you’ve been there and done it, or just want to learn some things you thought you knew, you don’t need to buy a new boat.

You can register for a free visit and/or a lesson. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission offers free online courses at

And you can drop by the Coast Guard Auxiliary to find out about upcoming courses or schedule a free examination of your boat and accessories (

Or just start by attending Captain Charlie’s seminar next Thursday evening, starting at 7:30 p.m. More info:

Art Mowery with a 5-pound trout caught Thursday morning in Oak Hill.

Halifax/Indian River

Whether it’s the popular relief bridge on the Port Orange Causeway, the feeder creeks throughout the Intracoastal, or those ever-popular wharf lights at night, Speckled Sea Trout have captured the attention of local fishermen.

“They’re buzzing,” says Craig Patterson (Donald’s Bait & Tackle in Port Orange). When buzzing, virtually any live bait will work: “Pigfish, pinfish, croakers, or shrimp,” adds Patterson.

Some of the usual are also taken out during favorable fishing hours – redfish, plaice and mangrove snappers. Some tarpon reports continue to enter the conversation.

Local fisherman Art Mowery with a nice redfish.

At Ormond Beach on Granada Pier, Ike Leary says the shrimp are starting to make their way into the river, and you know what that means.

“Where there’s bait, there’s fish,” says Ike.

Flagler County

Captain Mike Vickers (Hammock Bait & Tackle) says the plaice sting is present from High Bridge to Matanzas Inlet. There’s also luck with the wide range of riverside offerings – mangrove snapper, trevally, ladybug, drum, trout, redhead and, yes, sharks.

Captain Mike says you can find snook there, but remember they recently became banned and will remain caught and released until September 1. Don’t tear that tender mouth and watch out for those sharp gill plates.

Meanwhile, regarding last week’s talk about increasing your bait (and hook) size as the warm months arrive, Captain Mike takes a different approach with the precious redfish. He compares them to the overfed American male who gorges himself as he’s huddled in the den watching a football game.

“We don’t sit on the couch eating a 10-pound bag of baked potatoes,” he says. “We’re tearing up crisp packs!” Fish do the same thing; they take huge bites of glass minnows, mud minnows, small crabs and small white river prawns – these are their bags of chips.

For artificials, he suggests small Z-man lures, as well as smaller surface and suspension baits.

“In short, reduce the size of your bait,” he says.


You still hear about the strange pompano catching a hook, but it’s mostly whiting. And catfish, of course. Oh, and the sharks.

BJ Taylor (Southern Bred Charters) says he also sees croakers and a few red bulls. Fresh shrimp and sand fleas, if you can find them, are favorite baits, he says.

“For sharks and rockfish,” Taylor says, “look for birds that work mullets and bait pods along the beach. Live mullet and fresh cut bait being the bait of choice.

A blacktip shark is tagged by a member of BJ Taylor's Southern Bred charter team.


The Halifax Sport Fishing Club’s 34th annual Lady Angler Tournament takes place on Saturday, with mahi the target. The weigh-in takes place from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the pavilion near the Dunlawton Bridge fishing pier. Always a good time.

Judging by the variety of catches reported on recent Sea Spirit voyages, anglers will wade through many competing fish while searching for mahi.

Up north in Flagler County, Captain Vickers says his store has weighed in on some big mahi in recent days, while also hearing talk of cobia and trevally.

St. John’s

The St. Johns River, with its many lakes, is a wonderful place to spend all or part of a day boating. So much untouched and unspoiled beauty, you’ll think you’re a nature photographer at the end of the day.

But, if you’re looking to catch fish, you might want to set the alarm.

“With the weather warming up, it’s so important to make the most of the first few hours of daylight,” says Capt. Bryn Adams (Highland Park Fish Camp in DeLand).

During those early morning hours, she says, bass are always looking for her in the main river.

“Now is a great time to use your artificial lures, like swim baits or a classic Whopper Plopper,” she says. “But after the water temperature warms up, it makes the bass less aggressive.”

Same story with bluegill, says Bryn: “Always loud, throwing worms, crickets or artificial jigs against the bank or structure. We see strong limits coming.

Daniel Freer got himself a bass in Middleburg.

Several miles north in Astor, Kerry McPherson (South Moon Fish Camp) says the early morning and around sunset times are productive these days.

“If some guys had luck with the bream last weekend,” he said. “Strippers hit just about anything silver, from silver spoons to silver water caps. When they hit like that, it doesn’t matter much.

Hook, line and clicker

We want to see your most recent catch. Email your fish photos to [email protected]

Please include the first and last name of the angler(s), as well as the type of fish (sometimes we are confused). All are included in our online fishing report, and some occasionally make the print edition.


Comments are closed.