Sunday, December 17, 2017
Outdoors

Outdoors news and notes: Gulf gag grouper rules near approval, compass class, lake cleanup

Making news

Approval of GAG Grouper rules near

Gulf anglers will get the final word on the 2013 gag grouper season next month when the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meets in Orlando. If approved, gag grouper season would open July 1 in all state waters of the Gulf of Mexico except Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson, and Taylor counties. The state season will close when the federal season closes, but that date will not be determined until this spring. The federal season closes when the annual catch target is met, which will likely be mid November or early December. The proposed final rule would also set the season for gag grouper in Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson, and Taylor counties, including Indian Pass, Apalachicola Bay, and the Steinhatchee River, from April 1 through June 30.

Hiking

Read a compass

Remember, hikers, smartphones and GPS units can fail in the field, but a compass will always tell you which direction is north. Learn the basics of map and compass land navigation at a seminar from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Bill Jackson Shop for Adventure (9501 U.S. 19) in Pinellas Park. The cost is $25. Call (727) 576-4169 to reserve a spot in the class.

Conservation

Put shine on lake

The 9th annual Mirror Lake Cleanup needs volunteers from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. The city of St. Petersburg will provide trash bags, pickers, trucks, a boat and gloves. The Mirror Lake Lyceum (737 3rd Ave. N) will provide drinks and hot dogs on a first-come, first-serve basis until supplies run out. No registration required.

Looking ahead

RV show to arrive

The 28th annual Florida RV SuperShow will run from Wednesday to Jan. 20 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Admission is $10 for adults; children under 16 are free. The hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday to Jan. 19 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 20. For information, call (813) 741-0488 or visit frvta.org.

Send outdoors news to Terry Tomalin at [email protected] or call (727) 893-8808.

Solunar chart

AM PM

Minor Major Minor Major

1/18 10:55 4:45 11:25 5:10

1/19 11:40 5:30 0 5:50

1/20 12:05 6:10 12:20 6:35

1/21 12:50 6:55 1:05 7:20

1/22 1:35 7:40 1:50 8:05

1/23 2:20 8:25 2:35 8:50

1/24 3:05 9:10 3:20 9:35

Comments

Captainís Corner: Bottom fishing is good with dropping gulf water temperatures

The past few weeks have delivered lots of cold air, dropping water temperatures in the gulf. Thermometers are reading in the low 60s. This is going to change a few things closer to shore. Anglers will find an absence of kingfish on many of the spots ...
Published: 12/16/17

Captainís Corner: Look for that strong speckled trout bite on grass flats

The speckled trout bite has taken off nicely after the first good cold front last weekend. You will find a consistent bite along the grass flats from Apollo Beach down to Pinellas Point. The sweet spot seems to be 4-6 feet of water. If you can find s...
Published: 12/15/17

Captainís Corner: Drop in gulf water temperature means itís sea trout time

The gulf temperature has dropped significantly since our first real cold front last week. One day the water was in the mid 70s, then after the front, it fell to the low 60s. That caused speckled sea trout to become a reliable target. Redfish have bee...
Published: 12/14/17

Captainís Corner: Good time for shallow-water flats fishing

Shallow-water flats fishing can be very exciting this time of year. Trout and redfish are available in good numbers, and the opportunities to catch some gator trout have made recent trips very rewarding. Some of the largest trout have been in very sk...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/13/17

Captainís Corner: Seek clear water for bottom fishing as temperatures plummet

The great weather, calm seas and exceptional fishing we experienced at the end of November and beginning of December came to a screeching halt with the cold front that came through. Surface water temperatures plummeted from an unseasonable 71 degrees...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Captainís Corner: Sheepshead action lively in cooler weather

Conditions after the cold front are cool and are going to be for a while. That doesnít mean you canít or shouldnít fish. Many anglers get stuck on snook, reds and trout and forget how fun it is to catch sheepshead. Many reefs are already holding good...
Published: 12/09/17
Updated: 12/10/17

Captainís Corner: Fishing will return to normal, but when?

The severity of this cold front will determine the fishing forecast for the next several days. Bait that had been abundant inshore will scatter. Nearshore gulf waters will muddy, and water temperatures. at least temporarily. will plummet. How cold, h...
Published: 12/08/17
Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

I canít believe we are in the last month of the year. And while this is one of my favorite months to fish, it will be controlled by weather. As cold fronts become more frequent and harsh, planning your trips around them will make the biggest differen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Captainís Corner: Strong results for redfish, speckled trout

This is a great time for variety. Combined trips for speckled trout and redfish are achieving excellent results. With the correct approach, great catches of both species are a reality now. The best anglers use the lightest tackle. Light rods and reel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Captainís Corner: Take advantage of abundant gag grouper before season ends

Gag grouper fishing and spearing is hot. The season for these grouper in the Gulf of Mexico is winding down, with a slated closure at the end of this month. The cooler water has the gags moving closer, and they are happy when the bottom temperatures ...
Published: 12/05/17