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May 09, 2011

By Kris Thoemke

Make a Date With Jaws at Southwest Florida's Cape Romano.
Fish the eastern portion of this Caribbean island and experience mixed-bag heaven
Located about 1,000 miles southeast of Miami, the 100- by 35-mile island of Puerto Rico offers direct air service from Miami, Atlanta, New York and Boston. Choices of accommodations run the gamut from lavish oceanfront hotels with casinos to laid-back paradors (country inns set in scenic locations). Be sure to schedule a visit to the Caribbean National Forest -El Yunque -the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. national forest system.
With no commercial or recreational bag or size limits, fishing for game fish that are also considered food fish -dolphin, bottom-dwelling species, tuna and wahoo -can be a hit or miss proposition. Since the blue marlin fishery is usually dependable, every charter boat that ventures offshore sets up to fish for blues and the occasional white marlin or sailfish that pass through Blue Marlin Alley.Puerto Rico's Department of Natural and Environmental Resources is working to develop rules to protect some species, but the slow pace frustrates conservation-minded anglers.
Angler's AnswerNaples941-775-7336Lehr's Economy TackleNorth Fort Myers941-995-2280Master Bait and TackleBonita Beach941-992-2553
Capt. Bruce ClarkPuddle Jumper II941-992-0167Capt. Will GeraghtyGrand Slam Charters941-793-0969Capt. Mike LucasCuda941-775-7787Capt. Tom MarvelSea Marvel941-261-7159Capt. J.R. RossettiKay-De II941-394-4907Capt. Curt ThomasAmbush Charters941-775-4356Capt. Buddy TomeiPico941-262-7443
No gag - A southwest Florida favorite regroups.
Gags, reds and jewfish comprise the three grouper species most commonly hooked off Florida¿' southwest coast. Members of the seabass family, the chunky predators are protogynous hermaphrodites - the scientist¿' term for what anglers might call a severe midlife crisis. Beginning around the age of 8 years, some reds and gags change sex, switching from female to male.Reds, the most abundant grouper species in the Gulf of Mexico, average 10 pounds for keepers but can grow to more than 40 (the current IGFA all-tackle record is a 42-pound, 4-ounce fish caught off St.