Monday, February 19, 2018
Outdoors

Outdoors news and notes: Ladies-only event features inshore and offshore species

Making news

Ladies-only event sends anglers afar

The Old Salt Fishing Club, the organization that runs the fall and spring King of the Beach kingfish series and the annual Grunt Hunt, continues its tournament for female anglers. More than 170 women have already signed up for the Ladies Inshore/Offshore tournament scheduled for Aug. 25.

The captains' meeting is 7 p.m. Thursday at the Madeira Beach Marina (503 150th Ave.), and fishing begins at midnight Aug. 25, with a weigh-in at 4 p.m. at the marina.

This year's event will again benefit the Celma Mastry Ovarian Cancer Foundation and All Children's Hospital. Celma Mastry, the matriarch of a well-known local fishing family, was a benefactor of dozens of charities.

The tournament, in which anglers can target trout, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel, flounder, redfish (photo release), snapper, red grouper and amberjack, is more like a festival, with live music, food and drink, as well as vendors of a variety of marine-related equipment. The cost is $55 for Old Salt members and $75 for nonmembers who register before Monday. After that it goes up to $65 and $85.

The Old Salt Fishing Foundation is also sponsoring a Ladies Fish-A-Thon in conjunction with the tournament, which hopes to raise $50,000 for the charities.

"We've purposely set ourselves an aggressive goal this year," said Tom Verdensky, the foundation's president. "We hope the local fishing community will step up and support these fine organizations."

To learn more, go to oldsalt fishing.org.

REgulations

Season reminders

• Amberjack season in the Gulf of Mexico opened Aug. 1 and closes June 1. The size limit is 30 inches, fork length.

• Spiny lobster season, except in designated South Florida areas, opened Aug. 6 and closes March 31. Lobster must have a carapace length of 3 inches and be measured in the water. The bag limit is six per person, per day statewide.

• Gag grouper is also open, except in the state waters (from shore to 9 nautical miles out) off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties. The season closes Nov. 1.

Looking ahead

• Snook season opens Sept. 1 in Atlantic waters. Anglers on the Gulf Coast must practice catch-and-release through Aug. 31, 2013.

• Sept. 1 is a free fishing day for saltwater anglers throughout the state. No license is needed.

• Scallop season closes Sept. 25.

Solunar chart

AM PM

Minor Major Minor Major

8/17 5:45 11:50 6:00 0

8/18 6:30 12:15 6:50 12:40

8/19 7:25 1:10 7:50 1:35

8/20 8:15 2:05 8:45 2:30

8/21 9:10 3:00 9:40 3:25

8/22 10:05 3:55 10:45 4:30

8/23 11:10 5:00 11:40 5:25

Comments

Captainís Corner: Flats coming to life in north Pinellas County

The flats are really coming to life in north Pinellas County. Our main focus this time of year is spotted sea trout, though redfish are cooperating and schooling a bit. Snook are also responding to the warm weather, occasionally eating on the falling...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Bait a challenge, but effort will pay off

Bait has made its way into the bay and is on nearly every marker. The problem: Bait is moving and showing up at different times daily. The time spent to get bait will pay off. Fish have been blasting pilchards. Snook and large trout have been communi...
Published: 02/16/18
Updated: 02/17/18

Captainís Corner: Springtime fishing patterns moving in

The first half of February has been hit or miss for inshore fishing. The consistent cold fronts and warmups seem to have the fish confused. The week ahead should be pretty good. The best bite has been midmorning into the afternoon. With temperatures ...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/15/18

Captainís Corner: Get an early start when chasing redfish

Redfish schools have started to invade the flats around Pinellas Point. On low tide in the morning, I look for a school on an outer sandbar. These fish are staged on the edge waiting for the tide to come in. Once the water level rises, the fish will ...
Published: 02/13/18

Captainís Corner: Baitfish in the shallows improves fly fishing

Seeing large groups of pelicans diving and catching baitfish in warmer, shallow water is a sure sign spring conditions are approaching. The appearance of quality baitfish will spark a feeding frenzy that should steadily improve flats fishing for fly ...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/16/18

Captainís Corner: Action picking up as temperature rises

The wind finally stopped blowing so hard that we couldnít go offshore. Water temperatures were still in the low 50s offshore at the beginning of the week, and this affected fish behavior. Because the water was calm, we ventured out to the 80- to 90-f...
Published: 02/11/18
Updated: 02/12/18

Captainís Corner: Topwater plugs a great option as warming trend continues

Warm weather for the past week has led to an increase in feeding activity for inshore fish species. Speckled trout have been venturing out of deep holes and channels and back into shallow water to feed. This has presented a great opportunity to fish ...
Published: 02/10/18
Updated: 02/11/18

Captainís Corner: Sardines make a great bait

Bait has made its way into the bay and the fish have been eating sardines with violent strikes. Look deep for bait, most of it has been in 20-plus feet of water. A little knowledge of how to read a bottom machine will help you secure the prized sardi...
Published: 02/08/18
Updated: 02/10/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing conditions have started to improve

The waters are still a bit cooler than the kind a bunch of fish like to aggressively chew in. Fishing conditions, however, have slowly but surely begun to improve. On a recon mission Tuesday, I visited both Sunshine Skyway bridge fishing piers and th...
Published: 02/08/18
Captainís Corner: Snook among species starting to flourish as water warms

Captainís Corner: Snook among species starting to flourish as water warms

This has been a cold year thus far as fronts have blasted the Tampa Bay area. Now things are beginning to warm up, and the transition from winter to spring begins. Every warm day takes us one step closer to some awesome fishing. As water temperatures...
Published: 02/06/18
Updated: 02/09/18