Monday, December 11, 2017
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: Sheepshead action lively in cooler weather

Conditions after the cold front are cool and are going to be for a while. That doesnít mean you canít or shouldnít fish. Many anglers get stuck on snook, reds and trout and forget how fun it is to catch sheepshead. Many reefs are already holding good...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Fishing will return to normal, but when?

The severity of this cold front will determine the fishing forecast for the next several days. Bait that had been abundant inshore will scatter. Nearshore gulf waters will muddy, and water temperatures. at least temporarily. will plummet. How cold, h...
Published: 12/08/17
Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

I canít believe we are in the last month of the year. And while this is one of my favorite months to fish, it will be controlled by weather. As cold fronts become more frequent and harsh, planning your trips around them will make the biggest differen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Captainís Corner: Strong results for redfish, speckled trout

This is a great time for variety. Combined trips for speckled trout and redfish are achieving excellent results. With the correct approach, great catches of both species are a reality now. The best anglers use the lightest tackle. Light rods and reel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Captainís Corner: Take advantage of abundant gag grouper before season ends

Gag grouper fishing and spearing is hot. The season for these grouper in the Gulf of Mexico is winding down, with a slated closure at the end of this month. The cooler water has the gags moving closer, and they are happy when the bottom temperatures ...
Published: 12/05/17

Captainís Corner: Bait schools near shore drawing kings, mackerel, bonito

Nearshore fishing is still going strong in north Pinellas. Bait schools are roaming just a couple of miles offshore, attracting kingfish, Spanish mackerel and bonito. The beaches are still holding sardines for cast netting at sunrise. I like to have ...
Published: 12/03/17
Updated: 12/05/17

Captainís Corner: This is the month to target gag grouper

With our current regulations in the Gulf, this is the best month to target gag grouper. Although the gag grouper season opens in June they are hard to come by for most months unless anglers travel to depths of 240 feet or more. With each passing cold...
Published: 12/03/17
Updated: 12/04/17

Captainís Corner: Speckled sea trout can be easily caught on artificial lures

Speckled sea trout are one of the most reliable targets this time of year. Grass flats are usually empty because of extreme low tides. That causes higher concentrations of fish on the edges and in the deeper grass flats. No live bait is needed. A red...
Published: 12/01/17

Captainís Corner: Cooler weather lures decent gag grouper

Mild temperatures have allowed anglers to get out and explore many areas. Cooler weather has lured decent gag grouper. We expected them to arrive in the past month, and they havenít disappointed. Numerous rocks in 20- to 120-foot depths seem to be ho...
Published: 11/30/17

Captainís Corner: Donít have to go far offshore for grouper

When most anglers think of bottom fishing for grouper, they usually think that means taking a long run offshore. During late November and early December, grouper migrate close to shore, so a long run might not be necessary. There are times we target ...
Published: 11/28/17
Updated: 11/29/17