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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Captain's Corner: Predawn low tides bring success


    Predawn low tides are the focus this week due partly to the cooler water temperature first thing in the morning. Also playing a big role is the massive amount of baitfish in the area. Juvenile threadfin herring and Spanish sardines are thick throughout the Intracoastal. During low tide, these baits are pressed along the outer edges of the grass flats where redfish, snook, trout, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel and jacks are able to cash in on the buffet. Fan cast top-water plugs until the fish stop responding, then switch to small subsurface twitch baits or spoons to prolong the action. Live baiters will find it easy to fill live wells with these small baits along bridge shadow lines before sunrise. Be careful to avoid overcrowding the well with these fickle baits. A 12-volt recirculating pump that infuses oxygen helps keep threadfins alive; it costs about $40 and can be found at most tackle shops. Fish are in a better feeding mood when the water is 85 degrees than when the tide comes in and the shallows begin to virtually boil. End an inshore fishing trip when there's more than 2 feet of water on the flats and it's later than 11 a.m. The fish are in no mood to eat at that time. …

  4. Alabama Racing turns tide at Derby Lane


    ST. PETERSBURG — Just when Alabama Racing kennel gets on a bit of a roll, the telephone rings. Kennel owner Patty Byers is aware of who might be calling — someone requesting to move one of her successful greyhounds from Derby Lane to another track that offers higher purses. "Money talks," she said. …

  5. Captain's Corner: Red fish action is hot


    Redfish have been all over Pinellas Point and Mullet Key, holding a number of different schools. The buzz from guides is this is the most reds they've seen in years. I have spots to fish on low tide and spots on high tide. Low-tide spots can be difficult to find. When water gets too low for fish on the flats, you have to figure out where fish will move. I watch the schools' movements when I'm on the water and watch which direction they fall off the flat. I've put together a theory of their movements and where they're going, whatever the tide is doing. Figure that out and you have your "secret" spot. The past two times I've hit my low-tide spots have yielded big numbers. Water level is critical on what bait to use. On low tides, reds spook easily, so I like to use shrimp so it will land softly on the water. High tides, reds eat just about anything. If I'm on a school that will not eat, I switch to cut bait. …

  6. Captain's Corner: Strong tides increase fish action


    Strong tides this week have turned on the fish in north Pinellas. Incoming water flooding area passes has influenced snook to stage in troughs, cuts and sandy dropoffs. Usually facing into the tide, snook often wait for food to be forced in their direction. Always cast uptide and allow your offering to drift naturally. When fishing in swift current, try opening the bail on your reel to allow line to be pulled off by the tidal flow. This method can make your bait look more natural than a tight line. Once a fish grabs the bait, the line will pay out quickly. Flip the bait over and reel to get a positive hook set. Tarpon are slowly making their way up the coast. Single tarpon are being sight-fished by fly fishermen over the shallow bars from Caladesi Island to Anclote Island. A few pods have been spotted yards off the beaches. Casting baits floated 4-6 feet under a cork in front of migrating fish is an effective way to hook a tarpon. Once spotted, use a trolling motor or quietly drift into the zone. Long casts with the wind at your back will give you the best chance to get a bite. Trout are jumping on greenbacks freelined over shallow grass flats. Target flats with clear water and thick turtle grasses. Large sandy holes in the middle of these areas can be 2-3 feet deeper and will often hold the larger trout ambushing baits exposed in the sand. Place a small split shot a couple of feet above the hook and cast around the edges of the sand holes. Wait for the line to get tight and reel. …

  7. Captain's Corner: Inshore update


    Despite patches of rough weather over the past several days, inshore fishing remains good. The good action is due largely to the amount of bait in the area combined with still strong tides from last week's super moon. As we get closer to the weekend, look for the early morning low tide to present some good opportunities. Though we won't see the dramatic negative tide scenario of a week ago coming off the super moon, the water should be low and the fish on the outer edges of the flats. On these edges, they'll take advantage of the masses of baitfish that have also been pulled out to deeper water. Concentrate on key locations, corners, bends and small troughs that cut into the flat; all offer the fish holding structure that mullet, redfish, snook and trout use during this particular tidal phase. Capturing bait for the day can be as easy as you make it. Hordes of medium-sized threadfins are along bridge shadow lines at night as well as the uptide edge of just about any grass flat near the passes. The fickle threadfins won't last nearly as long as the much hardier scaled sardine, but if you don't overcrowd your live well you can get a few hours out of them and time is of the essence when you're trying to capitalize on a specific tidal phase. …

  8. Captain's Corner: Fall weather bringing great results


    If it swims and you want to catch it, there is no better time. The slide into fall weather means that all the fish are reacting positively and the opportunities are basically endless. This is the best fishing of the year. You do not have to get out at 7 a.m. anymore, you will catch fish all day long if the tide is right. Redfish will be king and there is awesome action for big speckled trout. For tackle and techniques, go light all the time: Rod, reel, leader and lures. Finesse fishing, throw the lures long distances and if you are in feeding fish, they will attack the lures. Medium light outfits with light line and light leaders are all that you need. Redfish will be in very shallow water, trout will be everywhere where there is baitfish. Quietly approach the fish and present lures near the bottom. We have had great numbers of trout and redfish. Concentrate on areas with seagrass bottom: trout will be in about 3 feet in depth and redfish about a foot and a half.  …

  9. Tide silences skeptics in rout


    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama looked every bit the part of a national title contender, with a point-a-minute attack and a defense that planted a goose egg on one of the nation's most prolific offenses.  …

    Running back Derrick Henry, front left, celebrates one of his two touchdowns during Alabama’s dominating first half.
  10. Keeping up with the Tide

    Gator Report

    As the Gators prepare to play No. 3 Alabama on Saturday afternoon, here are some links from writers who cover Alabama to give you more insight on the Tide. Senior Writer Aaron Suttles writes about the expanded role for freshman CB Tony Brown in the Gators' game. …

  11. Fishing with jigs comes down to technique


    When it comes to catching fish, small changes can have big results. Twenty-five years on the fishing beat have taught me to keep my eyes and ears open and my mouth shut. So when my boss suggested I write a story about soft-plastic artificial baits, a.k.a. "jigs," I thought I would get a second opinion. • "A story? You could write a whole book," declared Joe Georgia of Seminole's Dogfish Tackle Company. "Where do you start?" …

    Joe Georgia, assistant manager of Dogfish Tackle and Marine, Seminole, shows off a Gulp Peeler Crab on a drop shot rig using a quarter-ounce weight, right. According to Georgia, the setup holds the crab just above the bottom weeds for a more natural presentation when fishing for redfish and trout.
  12. Captain's Corner: Extreme tides


    What's hot: Thanks to the super moon last week we saw extreme low and high tides. The low tides made it hard to get on the flats and the high tides pushed the fish tight up into the mangrove tree line. The normal pattern should return this week. The summer of the bull redfish continues. Big schools continue to dominate Pinellas and Tampa Bay. Most of the fish have been over slot but make for great fun on light tackle. The flats are covered with scaled sardines so they have plenty to eat. The trick is to throw something different at them like cutbait. Cast in front of the school and not in the middle, which spooks them. …

  13. Rising economic tide lifts MarineMax, boating industry


    After a perfect economic storm nearly swamped Clearwater's MarineMax, the nation's largest boat retailer is on the rebound — good news for a struggling recreational boat industry and a big thumbs-up for Florida's improving business climate. …

    Executives and guests of Clearwater-based MarineMax Inc. (NYSE:HZO) visited the New York Stock Exchange to highlight the 2015 New York Boat Show, which took place Jan. 21-25, at the Javits Center. To mark the occasion William McGill, chairman, president and CEO, rings the Opening Bell. After several years of rough sailing, MarineMax is doing well again.
  14. Miami Beach vs. King Tide


    Reuters' Zachary Fagenson and David Adams: Construction crews are wading into chest high pools of muck in a race against time to install pumps Miami Beach officials hope will help control an annual super-high tide threatening to flood south Florida's popular seaside city next week. …

  15. Captain's Corner: Cool brings hots fishing action


    We finally have a beautiful weekend in store. Air and water temperatures will be lower, and no humidity. Fishing should be on fire coming off the super moon. The cooler water temperatures make fish really want to eat. Schooling redfish continue to be all over. Fort De Soto, Joe's Island, Weedon Island and the upper bay around the Courtney Campbell have numerous schools. They've been easy to find on lower tides. Their tails are up in the air while forging through the grass. Chumming heavily with scaled sardines gets their attention. Free-line a scaled sardine into the school and hold on. Each school is different; one might be over the slot limit, another will have all slot redfish. The best part of cooler water temperatures is it makes snook want to eat. A lot of the slot fish have been caught on the flats in sand holes. If looking for snook, fish near the mangrove lines. Chum the water with scaled sardines to get them active. Spanish mackerel, bonita and a few king mackerel can be had just off the beaches. Not a fan of trolling? Anchor up and saturate the water with scaled sardines. This brings fish to you. It also allows for smaller tackle. …

  16. Downstream South Carolina towns brace for flooding


    GEORGETOWN, S.C. — Along South Carolina's coast, residents were preparing for a second round of flooding as rivers swollen from days of devastating rains make their way toward the Atlantic. …

    Sean Nance walks through floodwaters carrying some work clothes as he evacuates from his apartment in the Ashborough subdivision near Summerville, S.C., on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. Residents are concerned that the Ashley River will continue to rise as floodwaters come down from Columbia.
  17. Captain's Corner: Warm water, high tides aid trout fishing


    Trout fishing has been excellent, and rising water temperatures and full moon tides are the reason. Spoil Islands in the northern part of the county are holding good concentrations of trout; target peak tidal movement for best action. Soft-plastic jigs in natural shrimp colors work well, as do free-lined select shrimp. For an alternative, try setting out a pinfish trap over shell bottom. Baited with frozen sardines, your trap should load up with small pinfish and grunts, both of which work great for trout. The full moon period has also been good for redfish. Early low tides have pushed them to the edge of the flats, where they can often be seen tailing as they root for crabs. Look for them to be mixed in with mullet schools. When redfish tails are spotted, a long cast with a tail-hooked select shrimp will do the job. No-motor zone flats are the obvious locales, but many of the spoil islands and the grass flats along the east side of the ICW in North Pinellas are holding good numbers. Light-tackle bottom fishing remains a good option. Depths of 25 to 35 feet are producing nice hogfish, good-sized grunts and the occasional keeper red grouper. …

    Tyson Wallerstein
  18. Captain's Corner: Wait until midday to start fishing


    The first cold front of the year provided one pleasant morning of fishing before the heat and humidity returned. There will be extremely low morning tides this week. Your best bet to catch fish will start about midday, unless you have low-water deep holes. The best part of the cold front was that is lowered the water temperature a few degrees, which can change everything. Snook are piled up all over and they barely would go after bait. That has changed. Monday and Tuesday, snook were blowing up every bait that hit the water. The bite was good in the morning at deep-water docks and as the tide came in they ate very well on the flats. The redfish bite was phenomenal the past three weeks but the numerous schools around Fort De Soto have disappeared this week. I expect the schools to get back together as the weekend approaches, around barrier islands that have water movement. Live or cutbait will work. The trout and Spanish mackerel bite is really good on the outgoing tide. Look for them in about 6-8 feet of water. Chum with a lot of bait to get the bite going. …

  19. Captain's Corner: Be careful of red tide


    Do your homework: Before heading offshore, find out where the red tide is. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission ( gives regular updates. Lately, red tide has moved to about 2 miles west of northern Clearwater Beach. We traveled home from 38 miles northwest of the Clearwater bell buoy, finding floating fish by the thousands from outside of the Veterans Reef to 1 mile north of the Clearwater bell buoy. Most were small: pinfish, grunts, hogfish, cowfish, puffers and eels.  …

    Dave Mistretta
  20. Anglers wary about Red Tide


    ST. PETERSBURG Nothing creates more confusion and anguish among anglers than the words "Red Tide." …

    Researchers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Mote Marine Laboratory of Sarasota and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sample for red tide during a recent research cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. High levels of the harmful algae have been found off the Pinellas Coast. [Brandon Basino | FWC]

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