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  1. Captain's Corner: Fish the best-moving tide


    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. …

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


    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]
  3. CentCom commander's videoconference reveals how new drones help turn tide in Afghanistan


    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. …

    The A-29 Super Tucano propeller aircraft is one technology boosting the efforts of the Afghan forces in Helmand province. Others include the Scan Eagle drone and a modified civilian helicopter called the MD-580, essentially a small flying gun platform. [Howard Altman   |    Times]
  4. Captain's Corner: Mackerel hot on moving tide


    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. …

  5. Several roads closed in Tarpon Springs due to high tide flooding


    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

  6. Bangladeshi surfer girls go against the cultural tide


    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. …

    Friends Aisha, 11, Sumi, 13, and Shoma Akthar, 14, are some of the girls surfing together in Cox's Bazar. [Los Angeles Times/TNS]
  7. Tide keeps Aggies slumping


    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.
  8. Red Tide found in water samples along Pinellas County beaches


    Times staff A bloom of Florida Red Tide remained Sunday along Pinellas County, killing fish and causing respiratory irritation, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. …

    Dead fish dot the sand Sunday north of John’s Pass in Madeira Beach. A Red Tide bloom can result in fish kills and cause respiratory irritation among beachgoers.   
  9. 'Prince of Tides' author Pat Conroy dies at 70


    Pat Conroy, whose tortured family life and the scenic marshlands of coastal South Carolina served as unending sources of inspiration for his fiction, notably the novels The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline and The Prince of Tides, died on Friday. He was 70. …

    Author Pat Conroy receives an honorary doctor of letters degree during a ceremony Oct. 20, 2000, on the parade grounds of  the Citadel in Charleston, S.C. Presenting the honorary degree is Leonard Fulghum, chairman of the college's governing board, left.  [Associated Press]
  10. Bernie Sanders seeks Midwest wins to turn tide against Hillary Clinton


    CHICAGO — Barnstorming through the Rust Belt, Bernie Sanders on Monday looked toward primary contests in five states as the linchpin of his strategy to turn the tide against Hillary Clinton and overcome her delegate edge in the Democratic primary. Clinton urged Democrats to unite behind her bid to focus on a far bigger threat: Republican front-runner Donald Trump.  …

    Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves after speaking at a campaign rally at the Akron Civic Theatre on Monday in Akron, Ohio. [Associated Press]
  11. Captain's Corner: Rain cools water, brings better bite


    Afternoon thunderstorms might just be the change our fishing world has been looking for. Blistering hot water temps the past couple of weeks have led to a slow inshore bite. This week we cooled a couple of degrees after rain. Targeting the morning low incoming tide, we have seen steady action from trout, Spanish mackerel, jacks and some nice redfish. Set up along the outside edge of the flats on low water, then live chum and bring the fish behind the boat. Cast-netting live bait has been easy this week. Look for schools of small to medium pilchards holding in the swash channel along the beach. A quarter-inch mesh cast net is necessary to prevent gilling the smaller baits. Schools of large snook are all along the beach. Live grass grunts have produced giant snook. Free-line your bait down tide and let the cruising fish swim to you. Mangrove snapper remain the most consistent target and can be targeted all day as long as the tide is moving. Bridges, jetties and nearshore rubble piles are holding snapper. Use a frozen chum block and fresh-cut pilchards. …

  12. Captain's Corner: Target the afternoon tides this weekend


    We'll likely see quite a bit more weather this second half of winter than we saw the first half. We'll get a little warmup this weekend, then another good-sized front midweek. The windows for productive fishing are much smaller. Typically it takes about three days for fish to become active after a front. This usually means another one is coming as we start to see a wind switch out of the south. Targeting the afternoon tides gives you the best shot at a good bite this weekend. Redfish numbers have increased after the most recent full moon, and we should see those fish gather in the shallows for the next couple of months. Artificial lures often are more productive now than live bait. Have the water column covered with a topwater plug, a gold spoon and soft plastics that can be rigged weed-less. Live shrimp can yield fish out of an area when pockets of fish are found. The trout bite should improve with cooler temperatures. Find the adult-sized trout schooled up around many of the spoil islands and flats with hard edges that might drop off into a channel. Fish the edges at lower tides. The spoil islands usually produce best midway through the incoming tide. …

  13. Elementary: Tide must stop Tigers' Watson


    numbers of the weekend …

    ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31:  Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Florida State Seminoles walks to the field before the game against the Houston Cougars during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) 595505931
  14. Red Tide bloom kills fish and leaves some Pinellas beachgoers coughing


    ST. PETERSBURG — A Red Tide algae bloom that has plagued Charlotte and Sarasota counties for months recently moved north into Manatee and Pinellas counties.  …

  15. Tide returns 3 INTs for TDs to rout Aggies


    COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Alabama kept scoring on passes — all thrown by Texas A&M. Crimson Tide quarterback Jake Coker was fine with that. "Three touchdowns defensively is hard to beat," he said. "I will take that any day."  …

    Alabama defensive back Eddie Jackson takes off on a 93-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first half.
  16. Captain's Corner: Floating weeds, grass impediments to fly fishing


    Besides oppressive heat, this time of year floating weeds and grass are things to contend with when fishing with a fly rod. If we don't make a fly look natural, fish will refuse it. Green stuff on the fly hook will always get a refusal. Flies that represent baitfish must be moved through the water to look natural. Select fly patterns that have the hook pointed up with relatively stiff hair extending past the hook bend, thus giving a weedless option. If weeds are on the surface, use a weighted fly and even a sink tip line that will get your offering deeper, thus avoiding the weeds. Clouser minnows and bendbacks are good examples. Floating flies can also have the hook point upward that are completely protected. Examples are mouse patterns tied with deer hair. If you tie your flies or have a fly tyer who keeps you supplied, use a strand of 20- or 30-pound hard monofilament tied in at the head to protect the hook point. Single strand wire is also an effective alternative, especially for darker flies. Flies that encourage strikes with little movement are also a great choice; crab, shrimp and sand flea imitations fit the bill. Before casting, wait for an opening in the grass and pay attention to wind and tide. Accuracy really is important. Your fly should hit an open spot that is weed free. Practice casting to targets in your back yard to improve your ability to hit a small spot. When fishing canals or channels, the windward side will frequently have all the debris, leaving the other side open. Catch and release beach fishing is another great option, targeting fish in the wash close to the sand, usually a weed-free zone.  …

  17. For Tide's Derrick Henry, Gators' Kelvin Taylor another chapter for SEC title


    YULEE Michael Franzese sits in the back of the Ford pickup truck parked in front of the nearly empty Yulee High School football stadium and says the unthinkable: There used to be doubts about Derrick Henry. …

    Alabama running back Derrick Henry (2) carries the ball against Auburn during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) ALBA121
  18. Nick Saban, Alabama rarely stray from top


    HOOVER, Ala. — The buzz began before the first chant of "Roll Tide Roll" echoed through the Wynfrey Hotel lobby and continued after the four-person police motorcade pulled away. Nick Saban was coming. …

    If Alabama can get settled at quarterback and running back, Nick Saban could have a shot at a sixth national title.
  19. Tide rolls all over Dawgs again


    ATHENS, Ga. — With its season in the balance, Alabama had quite a response Saturday. The Crimson Tide is still a force in the national race.  …

    Alabama’s Derrick Henry, who finishes with 148 yards rushing, takes off for a 30-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter against Georgia.
  20. Willie Taggart's USF Bulls need to turn tide


    TAMPA — October has barely dawned, yet the downward spirals seem to be outnumbering the downfield ones for USF. …

    “I could’ve done some things better for them to help them in that game,” USF coach Willie Taggart said of Friday’s defeat.

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