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  1. Captain's Corner: Look for the warm spots to fish


    With the air temperatures still in the upper 70s and low 80s during the day, look for warmer places and times to fish such as midmorning, late in the afternoon or in the evening around bay area bridges and dock lights. With the midmorning water temperature still around 80, the snook bite has been great on bay area flats. Redfish are moving in 1-2 feet of water on the flats, laying in the potholes. As the tide slows down I head to bridges such as the Skyway or Gandy, anchor up, change gear and fish the bridge pilings or the rock piles under the bridges. I fish for mango snapper, sheepshead, pompano and other types of fish available under the bridges. In the late afternoon I fish the mangrove shoreline with jerk baits and suspending baits. The fish move under the mangroves to get in the shade to ambush baits. Use your flats rods to do it all, just change hooks and leader size depending on where you want to fish. …

  2. Breitbart's Milo Yiannopoulos resigns after outrage over his past comments about pedophilia


    Milo Yiannopoulos, the incendiary writer who helped make Breitbart News a leading organ of the alt-right, resigned from the news organization Tuesday after a video of him endorsing pedophilia resurfaced online over the weekend. …

     Milo Yiannopoulos speaks during a news conference Tuesday in New York City. [Getty Images]
  3. Annual Florida manatee count breaks record for third year in a row


    For the third year in a row, the annual attempt to count the manatees swimming in Florida's waterways has broken the previous year's record. Scientists reported finding 6,620 manatees this year, up from the 6,250 last year and 6,063 the year before. …

    Samantha Staley and her daugher, Sierra, enountered a group on mating manatees while strolling along the beach at Fort De Soto Park last year. 

Photo by Samantha Staley
  4. Captain's Corner: Trout bite remains stellar


    Trout are still the main target for inshore fishing in North Pinellas. The bite has remained strong even with a few days of higher winds and cold overnight temperatures. The chilly nights have made it difficult to find sardines to net, so live shrimp and lures have been the baits of choice for trout. The islands along St. Joseph Sound have held good numbers. If I don't see them while using the trolling motor to move slowly along the shallow edges of the island I'm working, I like to fan cast a small paddle-tail jig until I get a strike. I then anchor and put out live shrimp under a float. Usually the fish react quickly to the shrimp. If pinfish and other small predatory fish become too much of a nuisance, I'll continue to use artificial baits. Redfish have started to show up in good numbers. Docks have produced good fish this past week. On medium tides, reds have been congregating on large potholes just outside of oyster bars normally covered by higher tides. Winter tides are generally lower than summer tides so targeting the deep roots of mangroves isn't always possible. …

  5. Captain's Corner: Keep your well full of live bait for trips into bay


    Afternoon incoming tides have been producing solid catches of snook and trout. Live bait has been key in some areas, while in others the plastics fool the fish just fine. Live bait has never left our reach all winter, and now the fish are settling into a springtime pattern. Keep this in mind if you're planning a trip into the bay. Live sardines are on many of the markers and bridges. Taking the time to secure a wellful can be to your advantage as snook can't resist the bit raining from the heavens. Dropping hooked bait will fool some of the larger, wiser female snook. If artificials are your thing, black and gold shad tails have been hot on some shallow water artificial trips. A simple swim retrieve is all you need, just fast enough to get the tail swimming. Smaller walk-the-dog baits have been producing nice trout and some small snook. Look for baitfish schools near the trees, cast and walk the bait back toward you. If a fish strikes and misses, work it faster for a second then slow back to an erratic but normal retrieve. …

  6. Review: Mullen's 'Darktown' a compelling history-based crime novel


    Thomas Mullen's latest novel, Darktown, was snatched up by Jamie Foxx's production company to be made into a television series before it even hit shelves last fall. Just a few pages in and one can see why. …

    Darktown is inspired by the real-life story of the first black police officers hired, due to political pressure, by the Atlanta Police Department.
  7. Captain's Corner: Don't be discouraged by coming chill


    It's apparently going to be chilly in the morning the next few days, which is okay. The tides and bite have been better in the afternoon. Bait is all over the bridges throughout the bay, just make sure it's not your only bait. Shrimp is another great alternative. Sometimes with cooler water, fish don't want to chase down a scaled sardine. The trout bite remains hot on Cockroach Bay all the way down to Big Bend. Fish the sand holes in about 4 feet of water. Free-lined shrimp or scaled sardines work. Use light leader to ensure a consistent bite. Monster sheepshead are eating like crazy during their spawn. You can catch nice ones off docks, but if you're looking for the 5- to 8-pound class, move to the reefs and rocks in the bay. Most reds are being caught close to mangroves or in creeks. They like shrimp on a No. 1 hook with a split shot tossed tight against the shoreline or near oyster beds.  …

  8. Florida lawmakers in D.C. learn there are no easy fixes for red tide plague


    WASHINGTON — Red tide has become a vexing issue for many residents of Pinellas, Sarasota and Manatee counties over the past year, but lawmakers from Florida's 29-member congressional delegation learned Wednesday that the natural phenomenon is hard to stop. …

    Red tide led to fish kills along some Pinellas beaches this past September, coming ashore on Treasure Island. Red tide is caused by algal blooms when naturally occurring red tide phytoplankton form a dense cluster and release toxins, resulting in the death of aquatic animals, as well as a foul odor, along with coughing and watery eyes among some beachgoers. It has persisted long after its normal season from late summer to early fall in the state, dotting the coasts with dead fish.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  9. Fennelly: Jose Fernandez the heartbreak that hovers over Marlins


    JUPITER — Tampa attorney Ralph Fernandez, who represents the estate of the late Jose Fernandez, and who was Fernandez's friend, says Jose wasn't driving the boat that night and that the homicide report will bear that out. He mentioned Jose Fernandez's mother, Maritza Gomes Fernandez. They talk on the phone every day. Maritza sends Ralph Fernandez photos, usually from the same place. …

    Marlins players play tribute to their late teammate last September as they gather around the pitching mound.
  10. Captain's Corner: Warm rivers holding plenty of targets for fly fishermen


    Water temperatures in the 70s were a pleasant surprise during recent fly fishing river trips. Redfish, ladyfish, trout, snook, largemouth bass and a few baby tarpon were our reward for slow, deep presentations of baitfish patterns. Deep water with wood structure harbored the most quality fish. Arriving at the end of the outgoing tide allowed us to see trees and wood that would later be covered with a fast incoming tide. Full sinking fly lines matched with an 8 weight fly rod were used with a short 4-foot, 20-pound leader and a 30-pound hard monofilament shock tippet. Weighted synthetic baitfish patterns with a 30-pound hard monofilament weed or wood guard in sizes 1 and 2 can probe depths and not hang up. …

  11. Captain's Corner: Trout fishing remains reliable


    Trout fishing has been the most reliable target this last month. I have been targeting the larger "gator" trout in shallow water. The low tides have been occurring first thing in the morning. I watch the tidal level rise and use oyster beds as a reference. When the water gets halfway up the oyster bed, I work my way on the flat to the area where mullet are jumping. I like to use the largest bait possible to catch bigger fish. Trout cannot resist a large scaled sardine. When the large trout stop biting, I move and target numbers of fish. I look for deep grass in 3 to 4 feet of water. I start on the upwind edge of the flat and start my drift. Wind will help you work the area. If your drift is too fast, deploy a sea anchor, which is just a small parachute to provide resistance in the water. This will slow you down and allow you to work the area more effectively. If you have a productive drift, then use your GPS track to arrange another drift in the same area. I use my sonar to locate bait in deep, cooler water around eddies of bridge pilings. I throw my 12-foot cast net upcurrent and let it sink to the bottom to trap the bait in the net. The larger scaled sardines are usually found in deeper water. …

  12. For Valentine's Day: Can pomegranates, oysters and chocolate from Tampa Bay restaurants boost your sex life?


    Like so much of our language, we have the Greeks to thank for the term "aphrodisiac." Ancient Greeks celebrated Aphrodite, the goddess of love, with festivals called "aphrodisia." Somehow after that, food and drink thought to stimulate desire became known as "aphrodisiacs." …

    A Kumamoto Oyster and a Royal Miyagi Oyster are served at Sea Salt in St. Petersburg.
  13. A little Perspective: A skin-saving gecko, a cost-benefit analysis


    The costs and benefits  …

    President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Baton Rouge, La. He had brushed climate change off as a Chinese hoax, then called it the real deal and finally declared that “nobody really knows.” Cost-benefit analysis requires fair-minded and adaptable accounting of costs and benefits.
  14. After USC fall, sobriety a daily battle, says new Falcons coordinator Sarkisian


    ATLANTA — Since an embarrassing downfall at Southern Cal, Steve Sarkisian has caught plenty of breaks in his professional life. He called plays for Nick Saban and Alabama in this year's college football national championship game in Tampa.  …

    “It’s a piece of me, this disease of alcoholism,” Steve Sarkisian says.
  15. Iconic 'Airstream Ranch' display demolished to make room for new Airstream dealership


    DOVER Mike Hall climbed into his bright orange, 25-ton excavator at first light Thursday. He had a roadside icon to destroy. …

    Mike Hall of Magnum Demolition dismantles the “Airstream Ranch” Thursday along Interstate 4 in Dover. By lunchtime, all that remained was one toppled trailer and a few piles of debris. A new Airstream dealership will be built on the site.
  16. What's Eddy L. Harris reading?


    Nightstand Eddy L. Harris …

    Eddy L. Harris will be a featured speaker at the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs.
Courtesy of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
  17. Captain's Corner: Full moon will affect fishing for days


    The coming full moon promises to affect the fishing scene for the next few days, for better and worse. The popular belief is that many species feed at night during this phase and don't chew as well during the daylight hours. We have found it to be true when digging for grouper offshore and particularly while tarpon fishing. Our most productive hogfish trips last month were on days surrounding the full moon. The extreme tides during this phase can often ignite a lethargic bite. Fishing the edges of the ship channel at the mouth of the Sunshine Skyway bridge will be a good bet. But you must focus on the weaker flow during tide changes. The ripping current mid tides during this phase makes it extremely difficult to effectively get and keep baits on the bottom while grouper, mangrove snapper and sheepshead fishing. Silver trout won't be negatively affected.  …

  18. Captain's Corner: Full moon means good redfish action


    With a full moon approaching, this weekend's tides should provide good redfish action. Low incoming tides have been productive for reds the past few days and bigger high tides by the weekend should allow for plenty of time to pattern the fish. Targeting schools of mullet will put you in the right area, and as the tide moves in pay attention to how fast the mullet are making their way up to the mangroves. This will let you know when to it's time to move up a little. Extra caution is needed when approaching fish in some of the more popular no-motor zone areas. Set up to use the wind to assist moving into the desired spot and you cab use the trolling motor on a very low speed. If using live bait, consider using an outside bait pen when at anchor. Shut down your live well pump to stay within casting distance of wary fish. These fish will track down a weed-less spoon or soft-plastic jig bounced across the bottom, especially if there's cloud cover; however on those post-front blue bird days you'll definitely do better using cut pinfish or grunts on the bottom. Sheepshead are schooled up around area bridges, fresh pieces of shrimp, fiddler crabs or barnacles paired up with a small gap hook and little weight are all you'll need to catch a few. The legal size for a sheepshead is 12 inches; however the yield on them isn't very good so focus on those that are 14 inches and up.  …

  19. President Donald Trump arrives on Air Force One at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa on Monday. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  20. FWC officials rescue two manatees stranded in Oldsmar retention pond


    Volunteers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Monday relocated two manatees that had become stranded in Oldsmar. …

    Volunteers work to remove (and relocate) one of two manatees, a female and her calf, on Monday (2/6/17) led by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) from the southern pond at Bicentennial Park next to the Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve in Oldsmar. Officials said the manatees most likely entered the park's retention pond system during high tide. It is not known by the city or FWC how long the manatees have been in this area.

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