Monday, February 19, 2018
Outdoors

Outdoors news and notes: Stone crab season, marine cleanups

Making news

Stone crab season set to Open Monday

The folks north of us may have their fall foliage this time of year, but here in Florida we have stone crab season, which opens Monday. The stone crab has the distinction of being the only commercially harvested marine animal in the nation that doesn't have to die to provide food for humans.

When a scuba diver or recreational stone crab hunter grabs the tasty claw, the animal simply lets it go. Most people scuba dive for stone crabs around bridges and causeways. But one of the most popular ways to catch these crustaceans is to wade a rocky shoreline. Crabs hide in holes under rocks and other debris. They especially like rocky outcroppings near sea grass beds. Wait for low tide, then wade until you find a burrow; the entrance is often marked by discarded shells. Use the flat end of a crowbar to coax the crab out. Bring a dip net and a bucket or bag to carry claws.

The season runs through May 15. The bag limit is 1 gallon of claws per person or 2 gallons per vessel, whichever is less. The claw must measure 2 3/4 inches. For more stone crab regulations, visit myfwc.com.

Volunteers

Water cleanups set for Oct. 20

Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful needs help with two of its biggest events, the annual Hillsborough River Cleanup and the Coastal Cleanup, which have been combined into one day of community service on Oct. 20. Volunteers will remove litter and debris, and the data will be collected to help the Ocean Conservancy in an ongoing project. To preregister, go to keeptampabaybeautiful.org.

Solunar chart

AM PM

Minor Major Minor Major

10/12 3:10 9:20 3:30 9:40

10/13 3:55 10:05 4:15 10:30

10/14 4:45 10:50 5:00 11:15

10/15 5:30 11:40 5:50 0

10/16 6:25 12:10 6:50 12:40

10/17 7:30 1:15 8:00 1:45

10/18 8:30 2:20 9:05 2:50

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: 12 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