Monday, June 18, 2018
Outdoors

Outdoors news and notes: Air potatoes must go, grunt hunt, mammal camp

Making news

Park in need of Potato harvest

Ever come across funny-looking objects on the forest floor that look like potatoes? They are the perfect size and shape for throwing at a hiking companion, but please resist the urge. The invasive species, known as the "air potato," needs no help propagating.

In fact, the Tampa Bay Estuary Program and the Pinellas County Parks Department hopes to eradicate this exotic plant from Sawgrass Lake Park (7400 25th St. N) in St. Petersburg. Volunteers are needed to help collect air potatoes from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday from an area that has been recently treated under a habitat restoration project. Please wear closed-toe shoes and a long-sleeved shirt and pants, as well as a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and bug spray. For more information, go to tbep.org.

Fishing

Time nears for angling grunt work

People love to catch grouper and snapper, but the white grunt, sometimes called the Key West grunt, rivals either species as table fare, plus it can be caught just about any time of the year. This bottom dweller may be the most underappreciated fish in the Gulf of Mexico.

But now, after years of neglect, this fine Florida fish will have its day thanks to the Madeira Beach Marina, which will sponsor the first Great American Grunt Hunt on March 24. The event, which has a modest $25 entry fee, will pay out $250 for the biggest, fattest grunt caught in local waters.

The captains' meeting is 7 p.m. Thursday at the Madeira Beach Marina (503 150th Ave.). Call (727) 399-2631 for information or go to squidinkpro.com.

Things to Do

March 26-30: Mammalogy Camp, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center in Boyd Hill Nature Preserve (1101 Country Club Way S) in St. Petersburg. A science-based camp for children ages 7-11 focusing on mammals with an emphasis on diversity, ecology and conservation of Florida species. Students will learn about everything from skull and fur identification to reading tracks. Taught by wildlife biologist and environmental educator George L. Heinrich. Cost: $140. Information: (727) 893-7326.

Send your news and notes to Outdoors Editor Terry Tomalin at ttomalin @tampabay.com or call (727) 893-8808.

Solunar Chart

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3/16 1:30 7:40 1:50 8:05

3/17 2:20 8:25 2:35 8:50

3/18 3:05 9:15 3:25 9:35

3/19 3:50 9:55 4:05 10:20

3/20 4:35 10:35 4:45 11:00

3/21 5:15 11:15 5:25 11:35

3/22 5:50 11:55 6:05 0

Comments

Captainís Corner: Trout bite at its best

The trout bite has been the best Iíve seen all year. Fish up to 26 inches have been common recently. Fish are sitting on the flatsí deeper edges, where the water is deeper and cooler, and moves a little more swiftly. Live sardines and hard plastic ba...
Published: 06/16/18
Updated: 06/17/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing this month is all about diversity

This is the month of diverse opportunity. The choice of species is unlimited, as long as you have the bait. You can target snook and tarpon in the morning, then fish for Spanish mackerel, bluefish, snapper, sharks and cobia in the afternoon. The tarp...
Published: 06/15/18

Captainís Corner: When itís tarpon time, itís also shark time

Tarpon get most of the attention when talking about exciting fly action for large fish in our area. Baitfish are more prolific, and large tarpon follow their forage and populate most of our local waters. Following them are fish that consider tarpon t...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Captainís Corner: This is your best time for tarpon fishing

Now is the best time to target tarpon. Silver kings are cruising the beaches on their yearly migration up and down the stateís west coast. This weekís strong new moon tides and the strong full moon tides in two weeks provide some of the best action f...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Captainís Corner: Turn attention to gag grouper and red snapper

Attention has turned to gag grouper and red snapper for many offshore fishermen. Red snapper can be best targeted in waters 105 feet and deeper, with some available in water as shallow as 60 feet. Although the snapper will be found on high profile st...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18

Captainís Corner: Pompano popping up at passes, along beach

Over the past few weeks, pompano have started to appear around the passes and along the beach. These tasty members of the jack family are one of the most difficult fish to find and keep track of. Just when you think youíve figured out a reliable time...
Published: 06/10/18
Updated: 06/11/18

Captainís Corner: Many fish now in their deep summer areas

Many fish have moved into their deep summer areas. This has been the pattern the past week. Snook are in their spawning areas waiting for the tide and moon to align. Iíve been leaving them alone and opting for the more steady action trout have been p...
Published: 06/08/18
Updated: 06/10/18

Captainís Corner: Pompano in the spotlight

Pompano are arriving at the locations where they will be found for the next six months. The most underutilized species in Tampa Bay, pompano are not only among the best to have for dinner, they fight great. Targeting pompano is pretty easy. You have ...
Published: 06/05/18
Updated: 06/07/18

Captainís Corner: Donít give up on tarpon just because of wind

Onshore winds have made it difficult to do much, if any, beach tarpon fishing, let alone any other fishing outside of the pass. But tarpon are still a possibility on the west winds, especially as we get further away from last weekís full moon; you ju...
Published: 06/05/18
Updated: 06/06/18

Captainís Corner: Spearfishing tales as gag grouper season opens

Gag grouper season opened Friday. For more than a month, all the spearfishermen I spoke with echoed the same stories: "Gags are everywhere. I know where to find them when the season opens up." The truth is only about half of those divers speared thei...
Published: 06/05/18