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  1. 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.
  2. 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]
  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. Pasco sheriff: Holiday man spends thousands at strip club after swindling disabled woman

    Crime

    HOLIDAY — First he cajoled her to move in with him from out of state. Then, William Bradley Tide, 48, of Holiday stole nearly $150,000 from Maryanne Andersen, a woman in her 60s with a mental disability, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and Tarpon Springs Police Department. …

    William Tide spent more than $9,000 of Maryanne Andersen’s money at a strip club, officials say.
  10. Captain's Corner: Snook action should resume with warmer weather

    Outdoors

    Last week's cool-down changed inshore patterns dramatically. Snook fishing had been phenomenal during a warm-weather stretch, but when water temperatures dropped into the low 60s, many snook exited the chilly flats and shot back up the creeks. This week's warm weather and good tidal flow should get the bite back on track. Redfishing has been improving as the new moon approaches. Redfish have been pushing onto the flats on the incoming tide and can be skittish until the tide comes up a bit. Mixed in with the mullet schools these fish have been biting well on the middle part of the incoming tide. Fan-cast gold spoons throughout the mullet to pick up bites from aggressive feeders, then slow it down with soft plastics bounced across the bottom. These fish will also eat whitebaits. For big trout, a free-lined live pilchard along the edges is hard to resist. Trout will also pounce a topwater plug early in the morning. Scaled sardines are a bit easier to come by and can be chummed up around channel edges and bridge pilings.  …

  11. 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]
  12. 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. …

  13. Captain's Corner: Remain flexible until warmer weather arrives for good

    Outdoors

    High winds have subsided and the weather is warming. Cold fronts are possible even into early April so be ready to adjust to find and catch fish. Extremely clear water forced us to downsize tackle to 20 pounds and 15-pound leader. Smaller hooks like No. 1 or 2 can be hidden easier in live baits. On a recent trip, two rods I hadn't switched over to lighter leaders were not getting bites, although we were surrounded by trout in 3-4 feet of water. As soon as 20-pound leader was tied on, bites started. Tides have affected the bite. Moving tides are a stimulant for fish. If you are in an area with a stagnant tide, consider moving where the tide moves around a point, closer to a pass. Redfish have been eating through all phases of the tides but higher waters allow them to reach mangrove shorelines and oyster bars where they forage on bait. Hundreds of snook in north Pinellas are staging along the spoil islands and mouths of creeks, rivers and bays. The water temp dipped into the upper 50s this past week, shutting the snook bite down for a while. Mackerel and kingfish are being reported 8-15 miles out. …

  14. Captain's Corner: Make adjustments as cold front passes through

    Outdoors

    The last cold front set spring back a tad, or maybe it's just buffering. Either way, fishing should be good this weekend. Snook, redfish and trout were around in great numbers before the front. The bay temperature has dipped as low as 61 in some areas. This has pushed the bait off the flats, out deep, and back into transition mode. Look for the predators to do the same. If possible, fish in the afternoon. The mid/late morning low tides will heat up the shallows quickly, as the water begins pouring in the fish will warm up and the bite should fire off. Look for this around the middle of the incoming tide. Snook have pushed back to their early spring areas near dark and deeper water. Think creeks and rivers, the dark water heats faster and will keep the fish comfortable enough to eat as the day wears on. Redfish should begin feed well. Once the warm incoming water gets over their backs by mid tide they should be getting comfortable and hungry. Starting out at the beginning of the tide trout should be a good pick, while the reds and snook will chew well during the middle to end of the tide; trout are more likely to feed well as it begins coming in. They have a higher tolerance for the cool water. If fishing artificials, use slow sinking plugs and soft plastics, they will stay in the strike zone longer.  …

  15. 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.
  16. 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. …

  17. 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.
  18. Captain's Corner: For inshore fishing, target redfish and speckled trout

    Outdoors

    Redfish and speckled trout continue to be the top inshore species. Low tides in the morning have redfish holding on the edges of flats, waiting for the tide to flood. I'm starting a little later in the morning, so the angle of the sun can help locate the school before it is spooked. Take extreme caution in approaching the area. Low tides with clear water have redfish very wary. If I don't see any fish, or I spook them, I move on to the next area. When the tide level floods enough to fill the flats, I move into the usual areas on the flats to find schools. Speckled trout have provided the most consistent action this past week. Deep grass flats in the 4- to 5-foot ranges have been holding big numbers of fish. Locate fish using a quarter ounce jig rigged with a soft plastic tail. Use super glue to keep the tail on the jig to get a few more uses. When trout are hooked, they come to the surface and violently shake their head, trying to throw the jig. When the bite stops, start another drift watching the GPS track to set up a drift in the same area where fish were caught. It helps having large scaled sardines in the well — larger "gator" trout find them tempting. …

  19. 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. …

    Mail carrier Tracy Halesworth, of Tarpon Springs, navigates flooding on Dodecanese Boulevard in Tarpon Springs as squalls of wind and rain from Tropical Storm Colin move into the Tampa Bay area on Monday. 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
  20. Captain's Corner: Cold front, wind help keep water at perfect fishing temperature

    Outdoors

    Fishing continues to be hot. While this cold front and wind come at a bad time when many are on spring break, it helps keep the water at a perfect temperature. Bait continues to stay deep and can found at the bridges and on most of markers in Tampa Bay. For snook, March is usually the turning point where fish make their way out of their winter holes, but this happened early this year. Snook are everywhere, and if you're lucky enough to have greenbacks, they're easy to catch. While we catch redfish year-round, they tend to perk up as the water gets warmer. Like snook, they become more active as the influx of bait schools start to show up. Work the flats on low tide looking for tailing redfish foraging through the grass seeking a meal. As the tide rises, work the oyster beds. Early in the morning, I work a topwater lure to locate the fish. Once I find them, I switch to a soft plastic on a ⅛-ounce jig head. This tactic almost always initiates a strike. Trout fishing might hit its peak this month. The bigger size, usually females, are in spawn and will eat anything in sight. …

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