Friday, February 23, 2018
Outdoors

Outdoors news and notes: Monster kingfish event this weekend, MacDill Air Force Base to open designated waters to registered anglers

Making news

Kingfish event remembers Local captain

Larry Hoffman, a.k.a. Captain Huffy, was a fixture on the west coast of Florida kingfish circuit. A former Green Beret, Col. Hoffman helped raise thousands of dollars for charity through kingfish tournaments at John's Pass before his death in 2009 at age 61. This weekend, anglers will gather again to fish for monster kings when the annual Suncoast Kingfish Classic is held in Hoffman's honor. Organizers are advertising a $10,000 first-place prize based on a 100-boat fleet ($350 entry fee). Fishing starts at 6:45 a.m. Saturday. The weigh-in starts at 4 p.m. at Gators Cafe and Saloon (12781 Kingfish Drive, Treasure Island). Registration begins at 5 p.m. today at Gators. Call (727) 367-2942 or go to gatorsonthepass.com.

MacDill waters open to guests

MacDill Air Force Base will open 2 miles of its south shores to boats for fishing from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 28 and 29 to registered guests. Registration can be completed by going to macdillfss.com and clicking on "MacDill AFB Open Fishing." The form must be submitted no later than Tuesday via fax to (813) 828-7507. For information, call (813) 828-4982.

Marathon swimmers hit bay

The annual Tampa Bay Marathon Swim, a 24-mile open-water race, features 16 individual competitors in Saturday's event, including Chris Burke, 50, St. Petersburg; Arnie Bellini, 53, Tampa; Mark Smitherman, 54, Clearwater; Bart Cobb, 57, Tampa, and Pat Marzulli, 63, Indian Rocks Beach. The longest race sanctioned by U.S. Masters Swimming starts at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and ends on the Courtney Campbell Parkway in Tampa. The event is held each year to celebrate Earth Day and mark the revitalization of Florida's largest estuary. For the first time, fans will be able to follow the swimmers online in real time by visiting distance matters.com.

Boating

Boat shoppers head to Sarasota

Now in its 30th year, the Suncoast Boat Show hits Sarasota this weekend at Marina Jack (2 Marina Plaza). The Gulf Coast's leading boat dealers will have hundreds of boats on display as well as the latest in marine electronics. The show is open today and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults; children under 15 are free. For information, call toll-free 1-800-940-7642 or visit showmanagement.com.

Solunar Chart

AM PM

minor major minor major

4/20 5:20 11:20 5:30 11:45

4/21 6:00 0 6:15 12:05

4/22 6:40 12:25 7:05 12:55

4/23 7:35 1:20 8:00 1:45

4/24 8:20 2:10 8:50 2:35

4/25 9:15 3:05 9:45 3:30

4/26 10:05 3:55 10:30 4:15

Send your outdoors news to Terry Tomalin at [email protected]

Comments

Captainís Corner: Rising temperatures fire up the bite

With no cold fronts rolling into the bay area soon, it also means water temperatures are on the rise to the mid 70s. That has the bite fired up inshore and nearshore. Snook fishing is on fire with these warmer temperatures at night. Weíve been findin...
Published: 02/22/18

Captainís Corner: Warming waters, better visibility are good signs

Scuba and freediving spearfishermen and women have enjoyed great underwater visibility over the past week. Some boaters going offshore can make out the bottom structure from the gunnel of the boat. Best depths for visibility have been in 30 to 40 fee...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/19/18

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...
Published: 02/18/18

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