Thursday, March 22, 2018

Outdoors news and notes: Red snapper season dates, grouper open in Florida Keys

Making news

Red Snapper season set to open June 1

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set the 2012 red snapper season for June 1 through July 10, a total of 40 days. The move brings the state into compliance with federal regulations.

But last week in Crystal River, state officials also voted to keep a 40-day season, even if federal fishery managers decide to shut down fishing prematurely. State waters extend 9 miles offshore in the gulf. The bulk of the state's red snapper are caught in federal waters, especially here off Tampa Bay. But in the Panhandle, anglers can catch these tasty sport fish much closer to shore.For more information on red snapper, go to

Fishing for scholarships funds

Catch some big ones and help send a kid to college. That's the mission of Eta Rho Educational Services, the nonprofit arm of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. At 7:30 a.m. Saturday, anglers can board the Gulf Queen, docked at Slip No. 52 at Clearwater Marina (25 Causeway Blvd.) The $60 entry fee gets you a rod and tackle. Bring your own food and drink. All proceeds will benefit the fraternity scholarship program. For information, visit or call (727) 510-5051.

Grouper fishing opens in Keys

If you're heading to the Florida Keys, grouper are back on the menu as the season opened May 1 in the Atlantic Ocean and Monroe County. The species that are fair game include gag, black, red, yellowmouth, yellowfin, tiger, scamp, red hind, rock hind, coney, and graysby grouper. State waters on Florida's east coast run 3 miles offshore. The season will remain open through Jan. 1, 2013.

Solunar Chart


minor major minor major

5/11 11:20 5:10 11:55 5:40

5/12 0 6:05 12:15 6:30

5/13 12:45 6:50 1:00 7:10

5/14 1:25 7:30 1:40 7:55

5/15 2:10 8:10 2:20 8:35

5/16 2:50 8:50 3:00 9:10

5/17 3:25 9:30 3:40 9:50


Captainís Corner: Windy conditions limit fishing options

The weather and water temperature roller coaster continues. Finding consistent action has been difficult with windy conditions keeping us from fishing many open parts of the bay or out into the gulf. Hiding in secluded backwater areas or on leeward s...
Published: 03/20/18
Updated: 03/21/18

Captainís Corner: Grouper moving in as water temperatures rise

Red grouper have made their move inshore this past week as waters closer to shore have warmed up a bit. Concentrate your efforts on hard bottom areas in depths of 100-120 feet for the rest of the month, and remember that all shallow water grouper are...
Published: 03/18/18
Updated: 03/20/18

Captainís Corner: Cold causes spiny lobsters to go into hiding

The cold front that ended Wednesday drove the offshore bottom temperatures back down into the low 60s. On dives Friday, my dive computer read 62 degrees at the bottom in 54 feet of water. On the next dive it read 60 in 62 feet. We were looking for ho...
Published: 03/18/18

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...
Published: 03/16/18
Updated: 03/17/18

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