Punta Gorda Chamber Guide 2022

Punta Gorda Chamber Guide 2022

2022 Members and Visitors Guide for the Punta Gorda Area

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Page 45 of 143

Page 46 2022 Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce Members & Visitors Guide Jack crevalle: These guys are fun to catch, because they pull really hard. A 1-pound jack puts up a more impressive tussle than a 5-pound bass. Their disc-shaped bodies are the secret to their fighting ability. There are several re- lated fish with similar shapes. The most common is the pompano. Telling them apart is important, because while jacks are hardly worth eating, pompano are delicious. Look at the pectoral fins (on each side behind the gills). A jack's are long and sickle-shaped; a pompano has much shorter pec fins. Ladyfish: Also big fun to catch, but for a different reason. Ladyfish are very acrobatic, and usually make spectacular jumps when hooked, much like a tarpon. In fact, they're sometimes called the poor man's tarpon. You'll lose most of the fish you hook because their leaps are very effective at getting them loose. Although they're considered inedible, they do make great bait for some other fish, whole or cut into chunks. Also, when you get them in the boat, they usually evacuate their bowels. Spotted seatrout: Although they look a bit like freshwater trout, seatrout are not related. Their silvery sides and black spots are excellent camouflage in areas of mixed grass and sand, and that's where you're most likely to find them. The speckles and bright yellow mouth make these fish easy to identify. Trout are very good on the table, but often have a few white wormlike parasites in the muscles.They're harm- less to humans; some people remove them, while others just cook them in the fillet. Redfish: Most redfish are a bright coppery color, but fish caught on the beach or in the Gulf of Mexico are more silvery. Reds almost always have one or more distinctive dark blotches near the tail, though spot-free fish do exist. They are sought on the flats in Charlotte Harbor for their sporting qualities and fine flesh. They like to school, especially in the fall when the big ones move back in from the Gulf to mingle with the up-and-comers in the harbor. Snook: Of all our local salt- water fish, this is the one most like a freshwater bass: They're usually found alone or in loose congregations, they strongly orient to structure, and they are ambush predators that can be annoyed into striking by repeatedly casting the same lure to one. In the summer, they're more common on the beaches, where they move to spawn. In the winter, many of them move up the rivers seeking warmer water. In the fall and the spring, they might be anywhere. Snook are very sporting, with lots of strength, and they jump. They're easily identified by a single black strip running from the tail to the gill cover. Handle with care — these fish feed by suction, and if you dangle them by the lower jaw only, you can damage the muscles needed for slurping in prey. Always support the underside of the fish with your other hand, and watch the very sharp gill covers. Grouper: These often are caught on reefs and wrecks. Photos provided Capt. Austin Phelps knows that if you want a fish that fights, a little tunny is a pile of fun. A small backyard snook caught on a Live Target swimbait. David Fonder went way out in the Gulf for his 32-inch red grouper.

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