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  1. Captain's Corner: Migrating snook preparing for mating season


    Snook are starting to migrate toward the beaches and stacking up along the north Pinellas coast. Lots of smaller, eager males are surrounding large females in troughs and along rock jetties. Sardines, threadfins and pinfish have been the main baits I've used. Some fish near 40 inches have been landed, plus several in the upper 20-inch range. Larger trout have joined the snook in the same areas. Most are still hanging on grass flats near the passes from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs, eating smaller sardines freelined or under a cork. We are approaching the new moon, so the tides will be getting stronger. High tides should allow redfish to forage near mangrove roots, picking up cut baits skipped under the overhanging limbs. …

  2. Neighborhood Profile: Oakhurst Shores, near Seminole


    Move-in ready. No renovations needed. That was at the top of Lee Mancini's wish list when he and his wife, Christine, went looking for a house almost 20 years ago. …

    The backyard view of the Tides Golf Club makes it seem as if they have an endless yard — with occasional golfers. Boca Ciega Bay is just out of view in the back.
  3. Red Tide linked to pelican deaths, but St. Petersburg still denies any link to sewage dumps


    ST. PETERSBURG Earlier this spring, a city-funded study concluded that dozens of pelicans found dead in January had been exposed to botulism while feasting on tilapia carcasses. …

    Brown pelicans rest on dock pilings near Brightwaters Boulevard NE in St. Petersburg. When word of pelican deaths spread via social media, the city contacted the wildlife commission and hired a consulting firm to determine the cause.
  4. Captain's Corner: Tarpon migrating down west coast beaches


    Tarpon are migrating down the west coast beaches. Watch for silver flashes as fish roll to breathe air. Any beach in the bay area is a good place to start. I anchor right off the beach and wait. Have the anchor attached to an anchor ball to avoid wasting time pulling it in. Pods of fish will eventually move toward where I am anchored. Once a pod is located, I throw my anchor ball and get into position, careful not to disturb the fish. I like to use a 12-foot cast net to throw for bait; it fills the well quickly and allows throws into deeper water. I have a variety of bait; you never know what tarpon will eat. Scaled sardines (whitebait) are the top choice. Threadfin herring (greenbacks) are just as good but are very sensitive and die quickly once their scales fall off. Crabs can be found floating on grass lines on outgoing tides. Use a long dip net to scoop them up. Approach schools of fish with care. Use a push pole or a trolling motor on the lowest setting to get close. Running motors will spook fish and shut them down. Tarpon will head west to deeper water when spooked, making it difficult to sight-cast. …

  5. 'It takes up the whole river!' U.S. ports welcome giant ship (w/video)


    SAVANNAH, Ga. — The largest cargo ship ever to visit ports on the U.S. East Coast is so long the Statue of Liberty and Washington Monument could fit end-to-end along its deck and still leave room for Big Ben.  …

    A crowd of well-wishers along River Street welcome the container ship COSCO Development to Savannah, Ga., on Thursday. The ship is the largest vessel ever to call on the U.S. East Coast. [Steve Bisson | Savannah Morning News via AP]
  6. Captain's Corner: Get ready for a tarpon frenzy


    With our spring run of kingfish winding down, many will focus on the mighty silverking. The days surrounding Tuesday's full moon will likely jumpstart a tarpon frenzy that frankly doesn't need much help. There are already migrating schools along the gulf beaches and there have been tarpon ganged up in the bay for a couple weeks. The big afternoon outgoing tides of this moon phase will have crabs swept from the bay, and tarpon will instinctively bunch up to take advantage. The Sunshine Skyway bridge and the passes on either side of Egmont Key and Bean Point (the north end of Anna Maria) are a few traditional hot spots to ambush a few during this phase. Tarpon are creatures of habit and often return to the same areas year after year. Early arrivals will many times roam well up inside the bays and backwaters. Rocky Point, Lizard Flats, the "Bootleg" and Bayboro Harbor are worth a look. While "beach fishing" for tarpon is more glamorous, fishing the "mudholes" in the bays and backwaters is equally as productive. Over the years we've battled early season tarpon in Port Manatee, Bishops Harbor, Terra Ceia Bay and the Manatee River. Tarpon fishing's popularity is at an all-time high. Fishing in a crowd has become the norm. Be patient and considerate. Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.

  7. Another voice: Youthful optimistic president in France


    The decisive election of Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old political neophyte committed to the European Union, economic reform and traditional liberalism, as president of France offered powerful relief to everyone who had feared that France could become the next country to succumb to the wave of populism, nationalism and anti-globalism sweeping through Western democracies. …

  8. Grab a kayak to navigate tight fishing spots


    Robert Field took up fishing about five years ago. He fished lakes around the Dallas area without much success. With no boat, Field would stand on the shore and cast as far as he could. Then a friend gave him a kayak to use. He jumped on, paddled out in the lake and started catching fish. …

    Kayak fisherman Robert Field catches redfish in Cockroach Bay, one of his favorite spots. He prefers to stay inshore, and Cockroach Bay is a protected area with mangroves and calm waters.
  9. Emmanuel Macron's unlikely path to the French presidency


    PARIS — Three years ago, hardly anyone knew his name. …

    Emmanuel Macron speaks during a victory rally Sunday outside the Louvre in Paris. He said France faces an “immense task” regarding European unity, the economy and extremist threats.
  10. Captain's Corner: Flounder have returned to inshore locations


    Flounder, after the winter months offshore, have returned to inshore locations. It will not be difficult to catch them for the next eight months. But flounder are frustrating. You are going to lose a lot of them. Very light action rods are a bonus. I tempt flounder with a variety of soft plastic lures. Rigged on a 3/16-ounce jighead, the goal is to keep the lure right down on the bottom, which has to be sand. Flounder are always over sand. Move your lure along until it stops, which indicates that a flounder is eating your lure. You have a choice to set the hook hard or don't set the hook at all. I opt for the second choice. Flounder are one of our best eating fish. Legal size is 12 inches. Don't bother with them unless they're at least 13. The limit is 10 per angler. If you know where to go, you can find some close to 20 inches.  …

  11. Captain's Corner: Snook on the move, with more to come


    Snook are on the move in North Pinellas. Most of the springtime transition points have been vacated and the snook are staging around passes and along jetties and beach troughs. They are few in numbers so far, but once more of the larger females arrive, the smaller males will accompany them in greater numbers. Spawning takes place through the summer months creating a healthy appetite for the linesiders. It is also the reason for the season closure May 1 through Sept. 1 for the west coast of Florida. If holding a snook, always support it under the belly, horizontally. This puts less pressure on its sensitive jaw and helps to release it as healthy as possible. Several baits can entice a snook during summer — sardines, threadfin herring and pinfish. Grunts are a very attractive source of protein for large snook. Fish the dropoffs along the edges of the beach, especially in eddies and vortexes created by strong moving tides. Tarpon are making a slight showing from Clearwater Pass north to Three Rooker Bar. Mid to late May will see an increase in numbers of tarpon as they migrate from the south. Fishing with cut baits, also known as "dead sticking," in known migration paths along the beach is an effective way to get an early season hookup, especially if the fish aren't showing well. As they become more obvious, leading a group of fish with a bait under a cork is a very productive method to hook one of the strongest fish in Florida waters. …

  12. Column: Heroes, history and ourselves


    Many of us believe that history, in its ebbs and flows, could have been altered for the better by one strong person. And, quite often, we imagine that person is us. …

  13. Column: Climate of complete certainty


    When someone is honestly 55 percent right, that's very good and there's no use wrangling. And if someone is 60 percent right, it's wonderful, it's great luck, and let him thank God. …

    Demonstrators protest President Donald Trump’s environmental policies Saturday at the White House. On climate change, treating skeptics as imbeciles and deplorables wins few converts.
  14. Captain's Corner: Baitfish appear less abundant


    With the water temperature around 76 degrees, where are the hordes of schoolie kingfish that should be gorging on baitfish as they migrate north to the Panhandle? It may be that baitfish such as Spanish sardines and hardtails are less abundant this year. It has been rare to see the large schools of bait offshore with birds diving into them and fish crashing into them from below. We are catching kingfish by concentrating on artificial reefs and wrecks which seem to be the only places where bait is somewhat abundant. Spanish mackerel fishing has filled the gap left by the kingfish; the best places are the passes into the gulf on an outgoing tide. Light spinning or bait casting tackle provide more sporty action from the spotted cousins of the kingfish. Troll three rods, two with small trolling sinkers, 10 feet of 50 leader and small spoons, along with a spoon behind a No. 1 planer. Red grouper fishing has improved in the 70- to 90-foot depths, and targeting white grunts, Lane, vermilion and mangrove snapper with light tackle and knocker rigs has been very effective. Use the lightest sinker that will get the bait to the bottom and downsize hooks to 2/0 or 3/0. If the current is not moving, fast chum with slivers of sardine to bring the fish within range. Amberjack, triggerfish, gag grouper and red snapper are all closed in the gulf, but provide great catch, photo and release action. …

  15. Bucs take Alabama TE O.J. Howard in first round of draft


    TAMPA — He was still standing there, wide open and all alone. Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, at 6 feet 6 and 251 pounds, was very hard to miss when the Bucs scanned the field of players available with the 19th overall pick in the draft Thursday. …

    O.J. Howard wasn’t invited by the Bucs for a predraft interview because they didn’t think he’d be available at No. 19.
  16. Bucs love big-game performance of top draft pick O.J. Howard


    Bucs pick came up big in biggest games TAMPA — Alabama tight end O.J. Howard's final college game was in January at Raymond James Stadium, where he had 106 yards and a touchdown in the national championship game loss to Clemson. …

  17. Captain's Corner: Tarpon ready to take advantage of bait migration


    Warm water has triggered large schools of baitfish to enter Tampa Bay and move farther inland. Tarpon will take advantage of this annual spring migration and concentrate where baitfish are plentiful. Bridge structure fits the bill. If you fish for tarpon after dark, head for a bridge. Bridges with lights attract baitfish, and tarpon will feed aggressively within inches of bridge structure when the tide is moving. Make short casts to sighted fish that are large and acrobatic. Rather than tie or anchor your boat, use an electric motor to get in position and also to get you away from tackle-wrecking structure after hooking a large fish. Size 1 to 1/0 white flies with 40- to 60-pound shock tippet should be attached to a 20-pound class tippet. If you prefer day fishing, tarpon will roll and show themselves early and late. Their time spent on the surface is usually brief, so use a rod rigged with a full sinking line, leader as above and same-size weighted flies in darker colors. Flies that are black, purple and combinations of these colors are effective. Cast and allow the fly to sink before beginning a retrieve with short, tantalizing strips. Keep your offering close to the bottom using a countdown method popular with jig fishermen. …

  18. Pasco County real estate transactions for April 24, 2017


    DADE CITY 13135 Palmilla Cir., to Allan B. Stridiron & Karen K. Stridiron by Greg L. Anderson & Janet Anderson, $348,900, 3/23/2017. 21420 Lockhart Rd., to Barker Family Trust & Barker Laura E Trustee by Blessed Assurance Trust & Randae Marie Vandenover, $325,500, 3/31/2017. …

  19. Linebackers not a high priority this draft for Bucs


    TAMPA — In Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, the Bucs have two young linebackers who never come off the field when healthy, key parts of Tampa Bay's defense for the present and future. …

    Florida Gators linebacker Jarrad Davis (40) points to Florida Gators linebacker Alex Anzalone (34) in celebration of a defensive stop made in the first quarter during the game between the Florida Gators and the Missouri Tigers in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, in Gainesville, Fla. The Gators lead 20-0 at the half.
  20. Captain's Corner: Snook starting to move, action to pick up


    Fishing in North Pinellas is coming on strong. The water's starting to be consistently over 70 degrees at night and into the mid 70s during the day. That has snook moving from their transition locations out to the passes and beaches. Although they aren't voraciously eating yet, I expect next week's strong moon phase to set them off. Snook willing to bite have been eating large sardines and threadfins. Stay as far away from the fish as possible, allowing your bait to move with the current into the strike zone. Snook are known for avoiding baits not presented naturally. The larger trout usually staged in St. Joseph Sound for winter have begun to vacate the spoil islands and join snook along the inside shoreline and troughs near beaches. Several 5-pound trout have been caught this week while fishing for linesiders. Redfish schools are moving up to the mangroves on higher tides. Cut pinfish are getting struck by most reds, although chumming with sardines can also get them fired up. Tarpon are showing on shallow bars in low numbers. May will see an increase in their migration northward. Sitting quietly in the migration lane just a few yards offshore and leading them with a crab, sardine or threadfin is a great technique for hooking up. …

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