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  1. Captain's Corner: Fishing when it gets windy


    Blustery conditions are typical this time of year. The past next few days have been windy, allowing anglers to start shopping for the holiday season without missing out on great fishing. It has been a bit tough on hard-core fishermen or anyone seeking a deviation from turkey and/or planning a sea creature as an alternative for a traditional holiday meal. Strong cold fronts are a game-changer and an inevitable fact of early winter. Baitfish and other species are difficult to find after drastic weather changes in the winter. Reds are still on the flats. With stout winds, especially from the north, the bay can change dramatically. Check the tide chart before heading to an area with shallow water, even on summer tides. On extreme low tides, redfish have been bunching together in the "skinny" water. Finding potholes or depressions on the flats can be a potential scaly copper delight. It's difficult navigating the extreme shallows with conventional bay-style boats, therefore using kayaks or canoe-type crafts can be beneficial. A stealth approach can lead to numerous catches. The smaller crafts are ideal for feeder creeks and residential canals. Canals and tributaries to the bay can be fished even on gnarly, windy days. …

  2. Chill grips a U.S. haven for Syrian families


    BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — In late 2011, as killings, kidnappings and sectarian strife crept across the battle-scarred city of Homs, Syria, the family of four made a sorrowful decision: to flee. …

  3. Home sales in Tampa Bay and Florida slow down as inventory shrinks


    Tampa Bay fared better than Florida as a whole in October homes sales but the gains weren't as impressive as in some previous months.  …

  4. 2015 outdoorsman's holiday gift guide


    The next best thing to buying a new boat is shopping for all the gear and gadgets you'll use on the water. I can spend hours in a boating supply super store such as West Marine making lists of things I've just got to have. But I'll save you a little time and trouble and share a few things that caught my eye this Christmas season. …

    Garmin 78SC GPS is a handheld device that comes complete with U.S. and Bahamian coastal charts showing low tide depths. []
  5. Captain's Corner: November's end is not end to hot fishing


    November's end is near and the so-called winter­time fishing in the bay area is in full swing and on fire. But you can still catch plenty of redfish, trout, jacks, ladyfish and a lot of snook at the end November. How crazy is that? Winter offers great fishing action for kids and adults. It's one of my favorite times because you have so many options. Trout are all over every grass flat in 2-6 feet of water. It's better to fish high tide on the grass flats and low tide inside the creeks and channels. The best baits: whitebait, live shrimp free-lined or under a cork, or artificials such as paddle or curly tails in a natural color on a jighead from a 1/32-ounce to a quarter-ounce, depending on the depth. A slow retrieval with an occasional twitch produces the most hits. Redfish schools are still around the flats in 1-2 feet. When the water drops out, reds will move into the deeper potholes. I like to target redfish along the grass edges, potholes or oyster bars using shrimp, artificials or a fly. Even with the warmer weather, snook are in their winter haunts such as creeks and rivers. But the bite is still strong. It doesn't matter if you're fishing Little Manatee River or Weedon Island, the bite is on, though later in the day, after the water has warmed. …

  6. QB Kelly continues to step up for Ole Miss


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly was one of the team's biggest question marks three months ago. Now he has produced one of the best seasons in program history, passing stars like Eli Manning in the school record books in the process.  …

  7. Captain's Corner: Take advantage of stellar fishing weather


    Success this time of year is dependent on adapting to the weather. We're great fishing inshore and nearshore. Kingfish and Spanish mackerel have been outstanding the past few weeks. East winds have allowed us to fish 2-6 miles out. Look for birds attacking bait pods forced to the surface by marauding fish. Trolling live sardines or hardware will result in several hookups on Spanish and king mackerel. Setting on anchor and chumming over rock piles of artificial reefs will draw mackerel and mangrove snapper. Inshore species such as snook and redfish have been responding in areas usually targeted in warmer months. Snook have remained around the passes and yet in transition also, staging along the creek mouths near the backcountry. Redfish are eating cut bait cast near oyster bars and mangrove shorelines on higher tides. However, as temperatures begin to dip and winds increase behind fronts, offshore fish often get pushed deeper and southward. Inshore species will move to seawalls, canals, bays and other structures that offer protection. …

  8. Red tide likely cause of massive fish kill on Sanibel Island


    SANIBEL ISLAND — A massive fish kill on Sanibel Island could keep beachgoers out of the water and off of the sand. The News-Press reports that beachcombers this week are finding thousands of dead fish strewn across the normally picture-perfect beach. It's likely the result of red tide. …

  9. Pasco County real estate transactions for Nov. 20


    DADE CITY 37552 Sky Ridge Cir., to Rhonda Obermiller by Mae Fannie & Federal National Mortgage Association, $250,000, 10/23/2015. 34312 Perfect Dr., to Joan H. Davis & Robert M. Mckinney by Gary T. Taravella & Joanne Taravella, $196,000, 10/29/2015. …

  10. Despite heavy U.S. airstrikes, ISIS threat persists


    WASHINGTON — In measuring progress in the American-led air war against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, numbers tell one story but results tell another. …

    Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, Jr. testifies in October on Capitol Hill in Washington. [AP photo]
  11. Airbnb rooms to be taxed across Florida starting next month


    Renting on Airbnb in Florida will become more expensive next month as the popular lodging rental service plans to collect state and county taxes. …

    Jeff Schorr in the second floor of his historic airplane bungalow that serves as a rental apartment on Airbnb in the Kenwood neighborhood of St. Petersburg Wednesday afternoon (11/18/15). Renting on Airbnb in Florida will become more expensive next month as the popular lodging rental service plans to collect state and county taxes. Schorr's apartment is about a 500 square foot unit that is rented the majority of each month.
  12. Captain's Corner: Snook surging


    With recent temperature drops look for the snook bite to regain momentum. Snook were staging for their winter haunts before the warming trend, then scattered as the water temperature rose. Temps are now back to the mid 70s and snook will feed heavily before the next front, forecast for Thursday evening. Best baits are live sardines freelined on shallow flats close to a deep water refuge. Trout should also grind hard as cooler water congregates them together on flat edges and deep potholes. Redfish are also feeding well on low-water stages of tides. Tailing fish can be found on any healthy grassflat with mullet. They are also foraging on shrimp, baitfish, or anything that comes across their face. Lighten up on leader material and line class. This time of year 10-pound braid with a 15-pound leader works well, even on snook. The thinner diameter of the 15-pound fluorocarbon will increase strikes. …

  13. Captain's Corner: Weather gets tricky


    Warmer weather has migrations of fish all mixed up. Water temps around 80 degrees has slowed the migration of kingfish. There have been some hefty sized kings landed, just not in large numbers. Normally water at 73 degrees brings large numbers. The good news about this warmer weather is, you can catch kings all the way into December. At times in the past we had a large push of kings just before the holidays. Fishing has been lackluster on many rocks that normally produce fall migrations. If a cold front comes soon we'll get a few good trips before the season ends at the end of the month. It's hard to put seasons on fish, since the migration of many species is water-temperature relevant. These grouper probably will arrive in December. It simply didn't work out for recreational anglers this year. With red grouper season closed, there are few options for table fare until Jan. 1, when red grouper and amberjack season reopens. It looks like grunts, porgies and snapper are our targets in December. And of course, a kingfish or two if the weather stays mild. The warmer weather feels nice to many, but we need cooler conditions to keep gulf waters healthy. Red tide thrives in warm conditions. There have been some reports of it along our coast. …

  14. Captain's Corner: Cold front slows fishing


    Expect fishing to be a little slower during the first half of this week. A cold front over the weekend brought a strong north wind. The water will be pretty dirty. If you're able to get out, try fishing the leeward side of a protected area. The water clarity should be better. The best part of the quick cold fronts is they keep the water temperature around 80 degrees. We need this as it seems we will continue to have summer-like weather the rest of the week. Offshore and inside of 5 miles on the hard bottom have produced nonstop kingfish action. The fish have been anywhere from 15-40 pounds. Mix Spanish mackerel, bonita and sharks into the action and you will have a stellar day. With the cooler water, snook have become active, blowing up on chummers and chasing down live-scaled sardines. The negative tides have moved them out of the mangroves and into the sand holes on the flats. The upper bay is holding nice slot snook. If you're looking for a keeper before the season ends, fish north of the Howard Frankland. …

  15. Crimson Tide D brings the pain in romp over Bulldogs


    STARKVILLE, Miss. — It wasn't until the postgame news conference that Alabama's Nick Saban could explain why he was roaming the sideline with a prominent cut and bruise on his left cheek. Even the Crimson Tide's longtime coach couldn't avoid his team's tremendous pass rush.  …

  16. Captain's Corner: Lighted docks and bridges can be your fishing answer


    I was asked a great question recently: "There are tons of baitfish everywhere; where will they take my fly?" A good answer this time of year is to find concentrations of fish actively feeding. Lighted docks and bridges provide the answer. Take advantage of strong outgoing tides and hit the lighted areas before daylight. When you see snook, reds, trout and occasionally baby tarpon chasing baitfish, cast your white-baitfish pattern up-tide of the activity and eliminate any slack line as soon as it touches the surface. Long casts are an advantage to avoid spooking fish. Keep the rod tip close to the water. Use a strip set to hook the fish only when you feel the strike. If you react to the fish's movement, you often will pull the fly away. If this happens and you haven't lifted the rod, the fly is still in the strike zone and will entice another attempt by the missed fish or one of its buddies. Use 25-pound test shock tippet on an 8-weight rod to prevent broken leaders from snook and tarpon. As daylight approaches, lengthen or change your leader and use a 15-pound fluorocarbon tippet. Attach a crab pattern or Gurgler-style floater and look for tailing redfish as the water thins on your favorite redfish flat. Orient the fish's position and place the fly in front of its nose. …

  17. Captain's Corner: Redfish still plentiful inshore


    Redfish continue to be the top inshore species. Low tides in the fall have redfish holding on the edges of flats, waiting for the tide to flood. I have located three to four schools in the Pinellas Point area that I can target on a daily basis. I have been starting a little later in the morning, so I can locate the school before spooking them. The angle of the morning sun is so low that it makes it difficult to locate the school so take extreme caution in approaching the area. Low tides with clear water have redfish very wary. Once they're spooked, they're hard to get to take any bait. If I don't see any fish, or I end up spooking them, I move on to the next area where I think the next school may be. When the tide level floods enough to fill the flats, I move into the usual areas on the flats to find schools. Deep grass flats in the ranges of 4-5 feet also have been holding big numbers of redfish. Locate fish by constantly working the area. The south county area receives a heavy amount of pressure on redfish schools, which have these schools resorting to deeper water. The unseasonably warm weather this fall has allowed me to catch scaled sardines with ease. I start before sunrise and throw my quarter-inch cast net underneath the brightest streetlights on a bridge. The small mesh net prevents smaller baits from getting caught. If I don't get enough bait, I move to the next light. …

  18. Baker's Dozen: Breaking down the college football weekend


    Run for the record Dalvin Cook needs 12 yards today against North Carolina State to break Florida State's single-season rushing record. That might not be the only FSU mark the sophomore sets this season: Rushing yards Warrick Dunn (1995): 1,242 Cook: 1,231 Rushing touchdowns Greg Allen (1982): 20 Cook: 12 …

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  19. In or out? Playoff chances for eight college football contenders


    The College Football Playoff committee's first two sets of rankings have given little clarity while inciting plenty of debate about which four teams will make the national semifinals. …

    Deshaun Watson and Clemson have a spot in the ACC title game.
  20. Restaurant reviews: Ichicoro Ramen and others bring authentic ramen to Tampa Bay


    Last Wednesday we arrived a little before 8 p.m., finally nabbing a table at 9:57. Using my feeble math skills that means we waited two hours for a bowl of soup we ate in 10 minutes. Was it worth it? Yep. Ichicoro Ramen's debut is clearly the most anticipated restaurant opening we've seen in ages. I suppose I've contributed to the hype (in May I went to New York to preview Noel Cruz's version of "Tampa-style" ramen at a popup), but it really seems like everyone in Seminole Heights is ready and willing to devote hours to the acquisition of lovely ceramic bowls of spicy abura soba or shoyu with perfect swaths of smoky, fatty pork belly riding high. …

    Patrons at Ichicoro can indulge in a variety of ramen dishes in a sleek and stylish setting.

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