Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Outdoors news and notes: Bass tour begins season on Lake Okeechobee

Making news

Bass tour kickS off season on Lake Okeechobee

The mild winter has pro anglers hoping for big bass and record catches as the Forrest L. Wood Tour's season-opening event on Lake Okeechobee continues this weekend. The bite usually doesn't get into full swing until March but things could start a little earlier this year.

The FLW season, under way Thursday at Roland Martin's Marina & Resort in Clewiston, features many of the world's top bass anglers competing for $125,000 first prize. Clewiston native Scott Martin is a fan favorite and is coming off a win worth $600,000 at the 2011 Forrest L. Wood Cup in August on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Ark. Martin caught a five-fish limit of 19 pounds, 4 ounces Thursday. Randall Tharp of Gardendale, Ala., leads Clewiston's Brandon McMillan by 2 ounces with a 33-pound, 7-ounce Day 1 limit. Fishing continues through Sunday. Follow the action at


Turkey time nears

In 2011, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission established a special Youth Turkey Hunt weekend on private lands. The hunt proved so popular, state officials plan to do it again this year on all private land and 78 wildlife management areas (49 of which require a quota permit).

Young hunters can hit the woods in Zone A (the southern part of the state) Feb. 25-26, and March 10-11 everywhere else. A youth hunter must be under 16 years old and supervised by an adult 18 years or older. No license or permit is required, except for a quota permit in the WMAs.

The Youth Spring Turkey Hunt takes place the weekend before the regular turkey season, which runs March 17 through April 22 in zones B, C and D except for Holmes County. (Zone A, the area south of Tampa Bay, typically has earlier hunting seasons.)


Remembering Mel

Mel Berman, the longtime local radio host and angler, died two years ago this month, but anglers can pay homage to this fishing icon by entering the Captain Mel Trout & Redfish Classic.

Last year's inaugural tournament drew more than 150 anglers, and organizers are expecting a bigger field this year. The captains' meeting is 5:30 p.m. March 9 at the Fat Cat Tavern in Clearwater with fishing the next day.

Tournament boundaries include all "Pinellas County waters," and fishing will be strictly photo and release. This is an "all lure" and "all amateur" event. To learn more, go to

Send your outdoor news to Outdoors Editor Terry Tomalin at [email protected], who can be reached at (727) 893-8808.

Captainís Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

Captainís Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

As water temperatures continue to climb, more and more permit are showing up on wrecks and ledges off the Suncoast area. These highly prized members of the jack family appear every spring and gather into large aggregations for spawning. Most of this ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Captainís Corner: Time nears for snook, tarpon out at the beaches

With summerlike air temperatures coming in the next couple of weeks, snook will be moving out to the beaches and tarpon will start cruising there. Itís my favorite time of year to fish. With snook on the beaches and passes, you would think their biol...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18

Captainís Corner: Variables are all that is constant when it comes to art of fishing

The unique variables and ever-changing conditions of fishing are what set it apart from most other sports. Basketball goals donít move, baseball diamonds are basically the same and tennis courts never change. Fishing, on the other hand, is constantly...
Published: 04/21/18

Captainís Corner: King mackerel the hot topic as gulf waters warm

King mackerel is always the hot topic this time of year, with tournaments every weekend for two months. Some believe that massive schools in the gulf migrate from their fall haunts in south Florida and the Keys to the north, with the larger females (...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

After significant winds from a front last week, things are calming down and fish are turning on again. Bait has gotten predictable and easier to chum on the flats after moving to deeper water during the front. Iíve been targeting trout at first light...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/19/18

Captainís Corner: Rush of warmer water in gulf heats up fishing on offshore reefs, wrecks

The rush of warmer water on our offshore reefs and wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico has brought with it a cadre of pelagic fish. Divers and anglers have enjoyed the influx of cobia, kingfish and more. The benthic (bottom) fish are splurging on the balls ...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Captainís Corner: Spring bite is solid despite wacky weather

Bipolar weather continues to confuse both fish and anglers. Fortunately the water temperature has gotten high enough that the effects donít last long and the spring bite continues to be solid. Snook are still the hot bite in many areas around the bay...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Captainís Corner: Kingfish, sharks provide aerial displays

Fishing was good this past Saturday, ahead of the cold front. We fished close to shore about 2 miles. Our approach was simple. We anchored the boat, fished with live baits and chummed heavily. Kingfish action was nonstop for the entire morning. We ca...
Published: 04/16/18

Captainís Corner: Trolling or anchoring up, kingfish bite is hot

Are you looking for line-screaming action? Head offshore. The kingfish bite has been good, though high winds may require a wait for the water to clear. The best numbers have been about 5 miles out on the hard bottom. Trolling for kingfish works well;...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/15/18

Captainís Corner: Spring run is the most wonderful time of the year

The full spring run of all species in our area is in full swing. Whatever species you would like to target, inshore or offshore, is as good as it gets this time of year. Redfish schools have shown up in the flats around Pinellas Point, but they are i...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18