Grouper season to reopen in Federal waters
The seasonal closure for gag, red and black grouper in federal waters (9 miles from shore and out) ends Saturday. The National Marine Fisheries Service closed the grouper season for one month hoping to replenish the stock. When the grouper season opens, the regulation for black and gag grouper is five per person, per day in the gulf and the fish must be a minimum of 22 inches long. Red grouper is one per person, per day in the gulf and the fish must be at least 20 inches long. For complete regulation information about grouper and other species, go to www.myfwc.com.
Cleanup focuses on Fort De Soto
Tampa Bay Watch and Keep Pinellas Beautiful are partnering to host a cleanup of Fort De Soto Park on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers will be stationed at two locations. Large groups should meet at the park's shelter No. 12 by the Bay Pier and dog park. Individuals and small groups should meet at Tampa Bay Watch headquarters on Cunningham Key, just before the Fort De Soto tollbooth. The cleanup is part of the Great American Cleanup, a national event that runs from March 1 through May 31.
Divers to scour Boca Grande Pass
With fishing about to heat up at Boca Grande Pass, a cleanup of the pass is planned for April 1. Advanced divers and boat captains are needed to help with the effort, which is being coordinated by longtime residents Nat Italiano and Walter Klingel. In the past, tons of debris have been cleared from the floor and ledges, including anchors, ropes, rods and reels and fishing line. To contribute or participate, call Italiano at (941) 964-0400.
CHECK IT OUT
Boat sale, fishing school at Trop
The Tampa Bay Boat Sale starts today and runs through Sunday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, featuring various boat manufacturers and other marine products. The doors open today and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $2, but children under 16 are free.
At the sale, St. Petersburg Times Outdoors Editor Terry Tomalin and many of our Captain's Corner guides will discuss various tactics during the Gulf and Bay Florida Fishing School on Saturday and Sunday. Visit www.tampabayboatsale.com for more information.
Aquarium opens to painter, bunnies
A couple of cool things are going on at the Florida Aquarium this month. On March 25 from 5:45 to 7 p.m., underwater artist Christopher Still will talk about his underwater landscape paintings, which he actually paints underwater. Randy Runnels, manager of Tampa Bay Aquatics Preserves, works with Still and will also be at the lecture.
And this weekend, as well as March 22, the aquarium will have diving Easter bunnies at the Coral Reef exhibit at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The aquarium is located at 701 Channelside Drive in Tampa. For more information, call the aquarium at (813) 273-4000.
Rodney Page,Times staff writer