Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida winter is the perfect time to get outdoors

Boaters, watch for manatees as they migrate to warmer waters during November.


Boaters, watch for manatees as they migrate to warmer waters during November.

For most of the country, November means hunkering down for another winter. It has a much different meaning around here. November means it's time to get outdoors. Fishing picks up, deer hunting seasons open, and manatees start making their way back to canals and rivers.

Red snapper extension

There's nothing much better than a nice piece of lightly grilled red snapper, except for maybe catching the snapper yourself.

Red snapper season would usually be closed by now. But fishermen get an extension in Gulf state waters (shore to 9 nautical miles).

Because Hurricane Hermine halted recreational fishing for several days, seven days were added to the season. The first two days were last weekend, and Friday and Saturday have been added. The last three days are Nov. 25-27.

There are recreational regulations. Red snapper must be at least 16 inches, and there is a daily bag limit of two per person.

That's more than enough for a nice dinner.

Time to hunt

General gun season opens in November throughout much of Florida. Deer is the main target, and wild hogs may also be taken.

The state is divided into four zones. In our area, Pinellas, Hernando, west Pasco, and west and south Hillsborough counties are in Zone C. The season opened Saturday and runs through Jan. 22.

The area east of I-75 in Pasco County and east of I-75, and north of Highway 60 in Hillsborough County is in Zone B. The season runs from Dec. 3 to Feb. 19.

Check your zone at

There are different bag limits for deer, depending on whether it's private land or a wildlife management area. There are rules on what guns and ammunition can be used and when a deer can be shot. (Did you know you can't shoot a deer while it's swimming?)

Check out the FWC website and look at the hunting manual.

Here come the manatees

November is Manatee Awareness Month. Makes sense, since the huge mammals migrate to warmer waters this time of year. They can be found in rivers, bays or Intracoastal waters. And when the manatees are around, it's time for boaters to be careful.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the manatee population is on the rise. During an aerial survey of Florida waters in 2016, 6,250 manatees were counted. There were 6,063 in 2015.

An FWC report also pointed out that there were 91 manatee fatalities due to boat strikes in 2016. These "sea cows," as they are sometimes called, have no natural enemy, except humans and their boats.

Despite being about 1,000 pounds, manatees are sometimes hard to spot because they hang out just below the water's surface.

Wearing polarized sunglasses helps, and look for the bubbles that manatees produce as they surface for air.

It is the boater's fault when speed is involved. Many seasonal manatee protection zones go into effect Nov. 15. But it is a good idea to slow down in shallow waters anywhere during winter.

To view manatees, you don't necessarily need a boat. Here are a few reliable places to check them out, along with canals and bays all over the area:

Tampa Electric Company Manatee Viewing Area, Apollo Beach: Open now until April 15. It's free and there is an observation tower and a trail. The best time to go is when the weather is cold. The warm water discharged by the Big Bend Power Station is a magnet not only for manatees, but for all kinds of other fish.

Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge: A great place to learn all about manatees and see them in the wild. Three Sisters Springs is a popular spot, especially from now until March. There is a boardwalk for viewing. Three Sisters Springs is the only spot where land access is available. There are also places to swim with the manatees.

Spring Bayou, Tarpon Springs: Craig and Coburn Parks are located on Spring Bayou. The sheltered waterway is a perfect place for manatees in the winter. It's free to park and view.

Tide adjustments

The charts show the rise and fall of tides measured in feet and plots the tides on a one-week timeline. Times and depth may vary depending on weather conditions. You can compute the tides from these adjustments:

North (Anclote River) High Low

Anclote Key (south end) -01:37 -00:47

Bayport +01:13 +01:39

Cedar Key +01:16 +01:03

Crystal River, Florida Power +01:13 +01:33

Hudson, Hudson Creek +00:06 +00:01

Indian Rocks Beach (inside) +00:19 +00:10

North (Anclote River) High Low

Mangrove Point, Crystal Bay +01:34 +01:54

Pithlachascotee River +00:18 +00:52

St. Joseph Sound -00:34 -00:42

Steinhatchee River entrance +01:33 +01:32

Suwannee River entrance +01:22 +01:21

Withlacoochee River entrance +01:23 +01:58

South (The Pier) High Low

Anna Maria, pier -02:10 -02:19

Egmont Key, Egmont channel -02:15 -03:20

Gandy Bridge +00:59 +00:57

Gulfport, Boca Ciega Bay -01:32 -01:05

John's Pass, Boca Ciega Bay -02:14 -02:04

Madeira Beach Causeway -01:32 -01:45

Mullet Key Channel (Skyway) -02:03 -02:01

South (The Pier) High Low

Pass-a-Grille Beach -01:34 -01:30

Pinellas Point -00:22 -00:29

Redfish Point, Manatee River -00:30 -00:14

Safety Harbor +01:32 +01:34

Sarasota Bay -01:38 -00:58

Corey Causeway -01:18 -00:44

Venice Inlet (inside) -02:02 -01:38

Solunar chart


Minor Major Minor Major

11/811:305:20 05:45

11/912:00 6:0512:156:30

11/1012:456:50 1:00 7:15



11/133:10 9:20 3:30 9:50


Florida winter is the perfect time to get outdoors 11/07/16 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2016 8:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. As NCAA investigation continues, Baylor dances around sex-assault scandal


    In 1996, Southern Baptist-affiliated Baylor University lifted its 151-year-old ban and allowed dancing on its Waco, Texas campus.

  2. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up


    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  5. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399