Saturday, March 17, 2018

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.


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.


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

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

Solunar chart


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


Captainís Corner: Snook are the hot bite

Surface water temperatures have dipped into the low 60s, but the fish donít seem to mind. The longer days get the temperature up and helps keep it from getting into the danger zone at night. Snook have been the hot bite this past week and, believe it...
Updated: 7 minutes ago

It has been a crazy month regarding all the drastic weather changes. We experienced a record-breaking warming trend in February, followed by an endless amount of cold weather this month. The arrival times for many spring migrations of fish has been i...
Published: 03/16/18

Captainís Corner: Big trout moving out of the shallows

February seemed like March with record-breaking heat, but now March seems like February with below-average temperatures. This is a good thing. Spring fishing has started way too early in the past few years. The cold-water temperature we have now will...
Published: 03/14/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Captainís Corner: Temperature changes affect fly fishing

Having a fantastic river trip one day where we caught a lot of snook in shallow water on a fly and going back to the same location three days later and not finding any cooperative fish can be very puzzling. What happened? Recent warm weather was repl...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/14/18

Captainís Corner: Warming trend increasing activity over grass flats

Water temperatures have finally started to climb into the low 70s on the flats. The temperatures have been fluctuating with the past few cold fronts moving through. Large schools of reds should start showing up on the flats in the Pinellas Point area...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/13/18
Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

We traditionally look at two holidays to signal the start of trolling season for kingfish and Spanish mackerel along with their attendant migratory companions, blackfin tuna, cobia and barracuda. These are St. Patrickís Day (March 17) and Columbus Da...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/12/18

Captainís Corner: Spring fishing is getting close

When the weather settles down in the bay area, spring fishing should shift quickly into high gear. Just before the recent heavy winds arrived and churned the nearshore gulf into a muddy mess, seasonal migratory fish were showing up all over town. For...
Published: 03/10/18
Updated: 03/11/18

Captainís Corner: Trout return to their early spring areas

Cool air has filtered down, giving us hopefully the last cold blow for awhile. Recent fronts have shaken things up. But fishing has been good considering the weather. Trout have pushed into their early spring areas, basically where they were five wee...
Published: 03/10/18
Captainís Corner: Snook, trout out in abundance as spring approaches

Captainís Corner: Snook, trout out in abundance as spring approaches

March is here, and the weather is great. This month is when we make that change toward spring fishing. Snook really ramps up, and trophy trout mixed with good redfish are not far behind. Snook has to be the most targeted fish for March. Just about ev...
Published: 03/09/18

Captainís Corner: Cold fronts might be a blessing for fishing

So much for getting too hot too fast. It was a concern a couple of weeks ago when water temperatures were flirting with 80 degrees in some areas. We worried that the masses of kingfish might blow right by us as they sought that 70-75 temperatures the...
Published: 03/07/18
Updated: 03/08/18