Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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.

ACR AQUALINK VIEW PLB 2884: A must have for every boater, kayaker, paddleboarder and angler. Capable of transmitting a distress signal for up to 35 hours, this lifesaver will fix a position within 100 meters. The digital display is crisp. List price: $419.99, but if you buy it before the end of the year, you can take advantage of a $100 rebate.

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GARMIN 78SC GPS: This handheld GPS comes complete with U.S. and Bahamian coastal charts showing low tide depths, a must for boaters. You can also get your compass bearings and share wirelessly with compatible device users. Land maps available at extra charge. List price: $249.99

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PENN BATTLE II SALTWATER COMBOS: These light action rod & reel combos are great starter packages for inshore fishermen. Prices start at $109.99

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BLACKTIP FIVE-PIECE KNIFE SET WITH SHARPENER & CARRYING CASE: After you catch 'em you have to got clean 'em. With these Titanium bond knives you can cut bait, bone your catch and filet your meal all in one set. List price: $49.99

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YETI RAMBLER TUMBLER COLLECTION: Can't go wrong with anything from Yeti. For everything from coffee to cocktails, it will keep temperatures twice as long as other tumblers. Kitchen-grade 18/8 stainless steel. Starting at $24.99

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BOOMBOTTLE WEATHERPROOF WIRELESS SPEAKER: A day on the water is always more fun with tunes. This 3 watt 40 mm speaker and passive subwoofer wirelessly sends music in all directions. Works with all Bluetooth streaming audio devices and others using a 3.5 mm aux cable. Price: $49.99

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WEST MARINE SPOTLIGHT WATERPROOF 550 LUMEN: A good light on the water goes a long way. This rechargeable beam will travel 1,870 feet. The Lithium battery (included) lasts up to 7 hours on low, 5 hours on high. Price: $69.99.

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WEST MARINE INSHORE AUTOMATIC/MANUAL INFLATABLE LIFE VEST: With this comfortable vest, there is no excuse not to wear a personal floatation device. Fits chest size 30 inches to 52 inches. But be forewarned — it must be worn to count as PFD inventory on a boat. Price: $109.99

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WEST MARINE TRADITIONAL ANCHOR & ROAD PACKAGES: If you haven't lost an anchor, you just aren't boating enough. Even if you have an anchor, you can always use another. Includes anchor, chain, line, thimble & shackles. Prices start at $109.99

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Terry Tomalin can be reached at (727) 893-8808 or email [email protected]


Captainís Corner: Warming waters, better visibility are good signs

Scuba and freediving spearfishermen and women have enjoyed great underwater visibility over the past week. Some boaters going offshore can make out the bottom structure from the gunnel of the boat. Best depths for visibility have been in 30 to 40 fee...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/19/18

Captainís Corner: Flats coming to life in north Pinellas County

The flats are really coming to life in north Pinellas County. Our main focus this time of year is spotted sea trout, though redfish are cooperating and schooling a bit. Snook are also responding to the warm weather, occasionally eating on the falling...
Published: 02/18/18

Captainís Corner: Bait a challenge, but effort will pay off

Bait has made its way into the bay and is on nearly every marker. The problem: Bait is moving and showing up at different times daily. The time spent to get bait will pay off. Fish have been blasting pilchards. Snook and large trout have been communi...
Published: 02/16/18
Updated: 02/17/18

Captainís Corner: Springtime fishing patterns moving in

The first half of February has been hit or miss for inshore fishing. The consistent cold fronts and warmups seem to have the fish confused. The week ahead should be pretty good. The best bite has been midmorning into the afternoon. With temperatures ...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/15/18

Captainís Corner: Get an early start when chasing redfish

Redfish schools have started to invade the flats around Pinellas Point. On low tide in the morning, I look for a school on an outer sandbar. These fish are staged on the edge waiting for the tide to come in. Once the water level rises, the fish will ...
Published: 02/13/18

Captainís Corner: Baitfish in the shallows improves fly fishing

Seeing large groups of pelicans diving and catching baitfish in warmer, shallow water is a sure sign spring conditions are approaching. The appearance of quality baitfish will spark a feeding frenzy that should steadily improve flats fishing for fly ...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/16/18

Captainís Corner: Action picking up as temperature rises

The wind finally stopped blowing so hard that we couldnít go offshore. Water temperatures were still in the low 50s offshore at the beginning of the week, and this affected fish behavior. Because the water was calm, we ventured out to the 80- to 90-f...
Published: 02/11/18
Updated: 02/12/18

Captainís Corner: Topwater plugs a great option as warming trend continues

Warm weather for the past week has led to an increase in feeding activity for inshore fish species. Speckled trout have been venturing out of deep holes and channels and back into shallow water to feed. This has presented a great opportunity to fish ...
Published: 02/10/18
Updated: 02/11/18

Captainís Corner: Sardines make a great bait

Bait has made its way into the bay and the fish have been eating sardines with violent strikes. Look deep for bait, most of it has been in 20-plus feet of water. A little knowledge of how to read a bottom machine will help you secure the prized sardi...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/10/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing conditions have started to improve

The waters are still a bit cooler than the kind a bunch of fish like to aggressively chew in. Fishing conditions, however, have slowly but surely begun to improve. On a recon mission Tuesday, I visited both Sunshine Skyway bridge fishing piers and th...
Published: 02/08/18