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  1. Captain's Corner: Full moon fever

    Outdoors

    A full moon today will provide a strong tide flow. High tide is around 1 p.m. in the John's Pass area. Tropical Storm Erika will influence local conditions, depending on its path. Expect a fairly good mangrove snapper bite. Grouper should also make a fair showing during the change of tides. A commercial frozen chum block and a healthy handful of live chum should stimulate some action. A free-lined sardine swimming behind the boat might also attract Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, cobia or possibly a shark. Close to shore there have been a fair amount of flounder on some of the hard-bottom and nearshore reefs. Flounder tend to like areas where sand can conceal their bodies. They are an ambush predator, though many anglers don't consider this and few are successful. Watch for floating debris offshore, but approach with caution. There has been an abundance of triple tail under the floating trash. Live or dead shrimp, as well as properly presented shrimp-like lures, should pull them out. …

  2. Tampa Bay Times 2015 college football Top 25

    College

    The Tampa Bay Times preseason ranking as selected by staff writer Joey Knight, a voter in the Associated Press poll. His AP ballot will be available each week during the season on his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bulls. 1. Ohio State …

     Ezekiel Elliott - a 1,800-yard rusher last season - returns for the defending national champions. [AP photo]
  3. With hurricane season heating up, take steps to secure your boat

    Outdoors

    Danny has disappeared. But Tropical Storm Erika is gaining strength. Maybe it is time to make sure your boat is prepared to weather a storm.  …

    Jeanne Follow up on damage and cleanup from Hurricane Jeanne in North Pinellas.--3) A sailboat sits on the northside of the Dunedin Causeway on Monday morning (9/27/04) after having washed ashore from the wind of Hurricane Jeanne.
  4. Captain's Corner: Predawn low tides bring success

    Outdoors

    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. …

  5. Dining Planner: Best smoked cocktails, a secret menu at Il Ritorno and a place for fresh bread

    Dining

    Ready your extinguisher. They're everywhere. Bartenders all over the Tampa Bay area are turning to new tools to up their game. One of those is smoke, which comes in many forms. …

    The smoked Old Fashioned, Craft Street Kitchen’s signature drink, begins with fire on cedar. Buffalo Trace bourbon, smoke essence, demerara and walnut bitters complete the cocktail.
  6. Captain's Corner: Return to normal

    Outdoors

    Now that monsoon season seems to be over, we have returned to typical Florida weather. Fishing is better than a few weeks ago. Tampa Bay is starting to look normal again and some species are on the prowl. Redfish have been fairly cooperative in upper Tampa Bay and areas to the south. A lot of tributaries and creeks that feed into the bay in that area create gathering points for reds. A good incoming tide and the start of the outgoing tide have been the best times. But most of that area is very shallow. The oyster bars that attract reds can be brutal on fiberglass hulls and outboards. Always navigate carefully, especially now that the water looks like iced tea. Obstacles can crop up quickly. Snapper are still nailing live offerings around area bridges, docks, artificial reefs, rock piles — basically, any area with structure. Mangrove snapper are delicious and have a reasonable bag limit. They are plentiful and clever. This year has been especially good for memorable catches. Cooler days ahead are a great time to fish our waters. Species like snook will chow down on just about anything in sight, preparing for winter. While it is still blistering hot, mend nets, fix reels, or do repairs before the fishing, not the weather, really heats up. …

  7. Wave of migrants trying to reach Europe

    World

    TISZASZIGET, Hungary — A wave of tens of thousands of migrants and refugees — many fleeing wars and poverty in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Africa — has worked its way up the length of the Balkans in recent days. …

    Migrants, detained by police, rest Sunday after crossing the Serbian border near Asotthalom, Hungary. The migrants are fleeing war and poverty in nations in the Middle East and in Africa.
  8. Captain's Corner: Pompano tips

    Outdoors

    The recent new moon fired up a pompano bite shared by many. It's a good bet the action will continue through Saturday's full moon phase. Strong tides get the fish chewing. Bunces and Pass-a-Grille are among the most popular passes. Land-based anglers get in on the action too. Both Skyway fishing piers and the two on Fort De Soto have long produced for those without boats. They'll often gang up at the Gandy and Howard Frankland bridges when tides roll and some are at a few of the tall range markers in the bay. The Dick Misener, Tierra Verde and Bunces Pass bridges are all worth a look for pompano. You can catch pompano on sand fleas and small crabs but the most popular method around here is jigging. Many jigs work but none I have found better than Doc's Jigs. They are 2-inch, banana-shaped chunks of lead painted various colors. Get pink and white or yellow and white. Dress your jig with the little add-on teaser that's sold along with the jigs. The flashy little feathered hook, attached to the jig, often gets the bite. They make them heavier but I've done best with the one-quarter, three-eighths or half-ounce sizes. …

  9. Captain's Corner: Snook season close to kicking off

    Outdoors

    Snook season is getting ready to reopen Sept. 1 in the Tampa Bay area. The good news is our snook stocks are doing much better. Anglers are doing more catch and release and keeping our stock on the increase. The season runs until Dec. 1, reopens March 1, then closes May 1 to Aug. 31. The size limit is 28-33 inches total length with a daily bag limit of one per person. The place to look for snook in the bay area is out on the flats, such as the south shore from Apollo Beach to Joe Island and from Fort De Soto area all the way up to the upper bay. This time of year, look for snook in the potholes on the lower tide. As the tide moves in, start moving up toward the mangroves. …

  10. Captain's Corner: Mullet can help you find redfish

    Outdoors

    When searching for redfish in the shallows, use mullet as an indicator. Mullet are easier to see than reds because of their jumping and the way they shake the water's surface when in tight schools. Reds tend to move with mullet on tide changes, and that gives you clues about whether to fish close under mangroves or staged out across an open flat. When large concentrations of mullet are found but reds can't be seen, blind fishing can still be effective. Cast a spread of cut bait on the perimeter of the mullet and place the rod in a holder. The reds will find the cut offering using scent and pick the bait up. When fishing with this method, it is necessary to check the bait every few minutes because pinfish and crabs will take advantage of the easy snack. When reds can be seen, casting precision becomes critical. Bait splashing down in the middle of the school will often spook them. Bait cast directly on top of them will surely spook them. Placing the bait well ahead of the reds allows them to find it on their own. …

  11. Jim McElwain tasked with restoring Fun 'n' Gun to Florida Gators' offense

    College

    GAINESVILLE — After quarterback struggles plagued Florida the past four years, new coach Jim McElwain picked an interesting analogy to reassure Gator fans that he understands the game's most important position. …

    Tom Brandstater led Fresno State to a 9-4 record in 2007 after Jim McElwain’s arrival as offensive coordinator and QB coach.
  12. USF Bulls' offensive line solidifying

    College

    TAMPA — While the USF quarterback derby rages, the unit protecting the eventual winner is solidifying, coach Willie Taggart said Thursday night. …

    ON THE JOB: Alabama fifth-year QB Jake Coker, a transfer from Florida State, is fighting four others for the starting job.
  13. East Bay Fishing Report for Aug. 21

    Outdoors

    East Bay fishing report Back to school. Most summer vacations have come to an end, and school starts soon for most area counties. Therefore, boat ramps or your favorite fishing spots just might a bit more uncrowded now. As the days get shorter, inshore fishing should steadily improve. …

  14. USF confirms transfer of linebacker from Texas

    Colleges

    TAMPA — USF on Wednesday confirmed the transfer of Texas freshman linebacker Cecil Cherry, who becomes the fifth player in less than a year to transfer from a Power Five school to USF. …

    The transfer of former Pasco High TE Bowman Archibald hasn’t been confirmed by USF.
  15. Pasco County real estate transactions for Aug. 21

    Realestate

    DADE CITY 35870 Clinton Ave., to Tammy Tabor by Debra Ann Westlotorn & Paul Kent Westlotorn, $395,000, 7/16/2015. 13029 Thoroughbred Dr., to Patrick J. Hatcher & Sherise A. Hatcher by Ellinore Booth Kral & Ellinore Booth Revocable Inter Vivos Kral, $341,500, 7/30/2015. …

  16. Women's sailing club open to variety of experiences

    Events

    DUNEDIN — Soon, the dolphins of St. Joseph Sound will have their racing pals back — the Windlasses, a women's sailing club that launches from the Dunedin Marina during the school year. …

    The Windlasses examine the prams in their Dunedin boathouse in preparation for their fall sailing season. The women’s club sails out of the Dunedin Marina on Thursday mornings during the school year. The female sailors sponsor races and cruises and compete.
  17. Captain's Corner: Redfish on a roll

    Outdoors

    The redfish bite remains strong across the bay. On high tides, redfish are grinding on live pinfish and sardines against the bushes. Look for a spot with good flow and jumping mullet. As the tide drops, follow the mullet. Redfish will eat spoons and any swimbait type of soft plastic. Craning in the spoons through the mullet schools, reds will often "knock it" with their nose to see what it is. If that keeps happening, try tossing a gold shad tail. Snook might also be found mixed in with redfish, but most are in small schools around deep mangrove points on a high tide and like to move off to potholes adjacent to the points. Also, with this weather, bait flats are loaded with big trout, and when the cool winds preceding a storm approach, the bite goes off. Recently we got 10 fish of more than 20 inches in the last 15 minutes before a storm ran us off. Be safe and be careful pushing the limit with storms; they can be dangerous. …

  18. Theme park wars: Disney strikes back at Harry Potter with Star Wars expansion

    Tourism

    "Never tell me the odds," says Star Wars character Han Solo in one of his more memorable movie lines. We're going to tell you anyway. …

    The Star Wars lands planned for both Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., is one of the largest expansions in Disney’s history.
  19. Sunray Venus clams could be Florida's next big aquaculture crop

    Consumer

    ANNA MARIA ISLAND — As labs go, it's not half bad. A blue heron tilts fixedly at the shoreline; dolphin splashes are a brief distraction. Bruce Barber, professor of marine science at Eckerd College, has to squat down to run a blunt knife through the soft, sandy bottom at low tide. …

    Sunray venus clams at the Sandbar Restaurant, 100 Spring Avenue, on Anna Maria Island Sunday afternoon
  20. East bay fishing report for Aug. 14

    Outdoors

    Beat the heat. Here we are again with the summer heat and humidity. The water on the flats is pushing 90 degrees by mid morning and the inshore bite starts to slow. You may be wondering what to do when your bait becomes unhappy. You need to get them in some moving water. The simple answer is you go mackerel, snapper and trout fishing. …

    PT_344935_CODD_REPORT PHOTO 1 OF 1 CAPTION: (10/05/2011, LAND O' LAKES) Photo of Mike Gore for the East Bay fishing report. SUMMARY: Headshot of Captain Mike Gore to go with East Bay fishing report. [STEPHEN J. CODDINGTON, Times]

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