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  1. Florida lawmakers in D.C. learn there are no easy fixes for red tide plague

    Environment

    WASHINGTON — Red tide has become a vexing issue for many residents of Pinellas, Sarasota and Manatee counties over the past year, but lawmakers from Florida's 29-member congressional delegation learned Wednesday that the natural phenomenon is hard to stop. …

    Red tide led to fish kills along some Pinellas beaches this past September, coming ashore on Treasure Island. Red tide is caused by algal blooms when naturally occurring red tide phytoplankton form a dense cluster and release toxins, resulting in the death of aquatic animals, as well as a foul odor, along with coughing and watery eyes among some beachgoers. It has persisted long after its normal season from late summer to early fall in the state, dotting the coasts with dead fish.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. Another defensive score sparks Tide

    Sports

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — When Alabama couldn't shake Texas A&M in a battle of unbeaten Top 10 teams, it was Jonathan Allen's scoop-and-score defensive touchdown that effectively brushed aside the latest would-be challenger. What else?  …

    Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts gets out of bounds as Texas A&M defensive back Armani Watts gives chase in the second half.
  3. Worst of Red Tide seems over in Pinellas

    Environment

    It has been a busy time for Treasure Island city workers, who in the past few weeks have cleaned up 40,000 pounds of dead fish on the city's beachfront. But public works director Mike Helfrich thinks — and hopes — the worst is over. …

  4. Captain's Corner: Tactics for fly-fishing the tides

    Outdoors

    A strong outgoing tide before daylight is perfect for fishing lighted docks and bridges. Snook, trout, redfish and baby tarpon feed actively on baitfish attracted to the lights by plankton, their favorite food. Match the baitfish size exactly using white fly patterns. Use a shock tippet of 30-pound fluorocarbon for snook and small tarpon. Low and negative tides are perfect for tailing redfish on very shallow flats. Either wade or pole the boat into casting distance, but remove your previous fly and shock tippet. A long 15-pound tippet with a size 4 crab pattern that matches the bottom will produce. As the tide comes in, trout and snook will join the redfish, so change to your dock light setup with a size 1 chartreuse over white Clouser minnow. It lets you cover more water; the hook pointed up avoids weeds and grass. …

  5. Tide LB faces gun charge

    Colleges

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama linebacker Tim Williams has been charged with carrying a pistol without a permit. Campus police arrested Williams on the misdemeanor charge at about 1 a.m. Thursday in his vehicle in a grocery store parking lot two days before the game with Kentucky.  …

    Tim Williams, who has moved into the starting lineup this season, might face internal discipline.
  6. Tide unsure if backup QB is still with team

    Sports

    Alabama coach Nick Saban said he doesn't know if backup quarterback Blake Barnett is still with the team after the redshirt freshman saw him before Wednesday's practice "with some concerns about his future." Saban said he hasn't received a final decision on Barnett's plans.  …

  7. Down 21, Tide rises to top Ole Miss

    Sports

    OXFORD, Miss. — Alabama coach Nick Saban watched his top-ranked team fall behind by three touchdowns, then come roaring back Saturday. And when his Crimson Tide looked to be in control and leading No. 19 Mississippi by 18 points in the fourth quarter, it nearly blew it.  …

    Running back Bo Scarbrough dives into the end zone for a touchdown in the second half of Alabama’s 48-42 win.
  8. Florida's latest environmental headache: Red Tide hits Pinellas County

    Water

    Red Tide, the toxic algae that has plagued Florida's coasts since the days of the Spanish conquistadors, is making a big mess on Pinellas County's beaches this week. The sewage that was dumped into Tampa Bay could make it even worse. …

    Thousands of dead fish and other small marine life lined the beaches of Treasure Island on Tuesday.  [Les Neuhaus]
  9. News at Noon: Red Tide hits Pinellas; hotel a concern for MacDill's future; final farewell for Fernandez; Tropical Storm Matthew forms

    News

    Red Tide, the toxic algae that has plagued Florida's coasts since the days of the Spanish conquistadors, is making a big mess on Pinellas County's beaches this week. The sewage being dumped into Tampa Bay may make it worse.  …

    Thousands of dead fish and other small marine life lined the beaches of Treasure Island on Tuesday.  [Les Neuhaus]
  10. Captain's Corner: Fish the best-moving tide

    Outdoors

    At 10 a.m. the air is thick, hot and slippery and, recently, the morning tide sluggish. The general rule is fish the best-moving tide, if possible. The past week in the Gandy area the preferred tide has been incoming, and the time of day has proven to be a nonissue. The sluggish tide provided a sluggish bite on the morning trips. The afternoon trip I had on Thursday was set for a 1:30 start. As we arrived to the first spot, the tide was slowly trickling and the seabreeze produced showers around the bay and gave us a nice refreshing breeze. The tide began moving faster after about five minutes. Over the next hour or so we caught and released snook from 22 inches all the way up to 41 inches. Three fish were over 35 and two were at 30 inches, not a bad start. Don't be afraid of the bait fry, the big stuff is out there if you're looking for snook. If not, snapper are grinding hard on the fry baits. They can be found on just about any dock piling, rock pile or bridge piling around the bay. Mackerel have also been engulfing the fry and turning up their nose at the larger sardines. The terminal tackle for snook is a 40 series reel spooled with 15-pound braid attached to a 20-pound leader and a 1/0 or 2/0 circle hook. If the bait is smaller, I use a Nos. 1 or 2. Snapper same rig as above and add split shot. If the bite slows, try dropping to a 15-pound leader. For mackerel I prefer the same rig but add a 40-pound leader with a No. 1 long shank silver hook. If the toothy critters cut you off, go to 60 pound. …

  11. USF study: Water from deep in gulf may keep away red tide

    Water

    TAMPA — Beaches in the bay area may seem a little more pleasant next summer with fewer dead fish and more tourists lying on the shore. …

    Dead fish, the result of a toxic Red Tide bloom, washed up just north of Johns Pass in Madeira Beach in April.
  12. Captain's Corner: Trout bite remains stellar

    Outdoors

    Trout are still the main target for inshore fishing in North Pinellas. The bite has remained strong even with a few days of higher winds and cold overnight temperatures. The chilly nights have made it difficult to find sardines to net, so live shrimp and lures have been the baits of choice for trout. The islands along St. Joseph Sound have held good numbers. If I don't see them while using the trolling motor to move slowly along the shallow edges of the island I'm working, I like to fan cast a small paddle-tail jig until I get a strike. I then anchor and put out live shrimp under a float. Usually the fish react quickly to the shrimp. If pinfish and other small predatory fish become too much of a nuisance, I'll continue to use artificial baits. Redfish have started to show up in good numbers. Docks have produced good fish this past week. On medium tides, reds have been congregating on large potholes just outside of oyster bars normally covered by higher tides. Winter tides are generally lower than summer tides so targeting the deep roots of mangroves isn't always possible. …

  13. Captain's Corner: Mackerel hot on moving tide

    Outdoors

    Mackerel are chewing well on any moving tide, as long as it's moving. Some of these fierce, toothy fish are weighing between 4-6 pounds, and with every moon phase, bigger fish are funneling into the bay. Cobia are making an appearance on the markers south down near the bridge. I'm still seeing packs of three to five on the flats. They eat anything this time of year. Snook have been crushing greenbacks and threadfins on the beaches and the deep mangrove shorelines at the top of the tide an hour before and an hour after the switch of the tide. Clients have caught and released several slot and overslot snook. Snook seem to be doing well. There are lots of small fish in the 22- to 26-inch range. Redfish are feeding on the high outgoing tides and staging up around the creek mouths ambushing baits. Live greenbacks and pinfish have been excellent baits. Tarpon time is here, and there are plenty. Live and dead bait have been effective. The technique to fighting tarpon is to keep the pressure on and bow down to it the instant it jumps. The reason is the tarpon shakes its head so violently that you're trying to keep it from breaking the line. Long pumps up, then reeling down gives the fish a little breather. Long stokes should be avoided if at all possible. …

  14. Captain's Corner: Warm rivers holding plenty of targets for fly fishermen

    Outdoors

    Water temperatures in the 70s were a pleasant surprise during recent fly fishing river trips. Redfish, ladyfish, trout, snook, largemouth bass and a few baby tarpon were our reward for slow, deep presentations of baitfish patterns. Deep water with wood structure harbored the most quality fish. Arriving at the end of the outgoing tide allowed us to see trees and wood that would later be covered with a fast incoming tide. Full sinking fly lines matched with an 8 weight fly rod were used with a short 4-foot, 20-pound leader and a 30-pound hard monofilament shock tippet. Weighted synthetic baitfish patterns with a 30-pound hard monofilament weed or wood guard in sizes 1 and 2 can probe depths and not hang up. …

  15. Tide keeps Aggies slumping

    Sports

    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Avery Johnson has already brought big wins to Alabama's program even during an up-and-down season.  …

    Alabama’s Retin Obasohan scores two of his 16 in a 63-62 victory over No. 15 Texas A&M, which has lost three straight.
  16. Several roads closed in Tarpon Springs due to high tide flooding

    Weather

    TARPON SPRINGS — Several roads throughout the city have been closed following high tide Monday afternoon, according to city police. …

    From left: George Hondros, George Perez and Demetrios Salivaras, work to protect Dimitris on the Water (restaurant) from flooding on Dodecanese Boulevard in Tarpon Springs as squalls of wind and rain from Tropical Storm Colin move into the Tampa Bay area on Monda. The storm prompted warnings from emergency officials about street flooding and impassable roads. Officials also warned that higher-than-normal tides could lead to coastal flooding. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

  17. Across Tampa Bay, cities and counties enjoy rising tide of taxable property values

    Realestate

    After a debilitating illness and a prolonged recovery, Tampa Bay property values are finally healthy. Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties are projected to enjoy their fourth consecutive years of rising taxable property values in 2016. Hernando County expects a third straight year of growth. …

    New homes rise in the Shetland Ridge neighborhood in Valrico off Lithia Pinecrest Road in Hillsborough County. Property Appraisers' Offices across the Tampa Bay region report that taxable property values have returned to healthy levels after the boom-turned-bust of the past decade. [SKIP O'ROURKE  |   Times]
  18. CentCom commander's videoconference reveals how new drones help turn tide in Afghanistan

    Macdill

    KABUL, Afghanistan — News last week that the United States will keep more troops in Afghanistan longer than planned reiterates the challenge of stabilizing the war-torn country 15 years after America's first involvement here. …

    Army Gen. Joseph Votel, head of Tampa-based U.S. Central Command, listens as Army Gen. John Nicholson, new commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, discusses progress in efforts to stabilize the country during a roundtable at Nicholson's headquarters in Kabul. [Howard Altman   |   Times]
  19. Captain's Corner: Sheepshead a great winter target

    Outdoors

    Sheepshead have long been one of our favorite targets during the unsettled winter weather patterns. They are cold tolerant and don't mind if it's blowing. They stack up along the relatively protected jetties in areas passes, deep water marinas and most major bridges. They bunch up on artificial reefs and nearly everywhere there's an accumulation of underwater structure. The roe-laden females have staged in these areas in preparation to spawn and have ganged up along the rocky edges of the ships channel inside Tampa Bay. We've focused our attention there with mangrove snapper hanging with the sheepies. Many of the more productive edges of the channel are 30 to 40 feet deep. Getting and staying on the bottom is imperative. Be aware that Sunday's new moon will bring strong tides. We've done best when a 2-ounce weight or less holds bait on the bottom. We were catching sheepies, mangos and grunts until aggressive dolphin began helping themselves to our hooked fish, an increasing nuisance. …

  20. Bangladeshi surfer girls go against the cultural tide

    World

    COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh — The girls ply this endless stretch of beach every morning, weaving through flocks of tourists to sell snacks, the ocean breeze whipping the gossamer scarves of their traditional shalwar kameez. …

    Rashed Alam trains some of the girls in CPR and rescue, hoping to show their parents that the surfers could have a career as lifeguards. [Los Angeles Times/TNS]

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