Friday, March 23, 2018

Outdoors news and notes: Tarpon, bonefish to become catch-and-release only on Sept. 1

Making news

Bonefish and Tarpon become release-only

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's new regulations making tarpon and bonefish catch-and-release-only go into effect Sunday, as state officials add another layer of protection for the prized sport fish. All harvest of tarpon will be eliminated, with the exception of the possession of a single tarpon when in pursuit of an International Game Fish Association record. Even then, anglers must still purchase a tarpon tag, which will be limited to one per person, per year. An angler can still shoot a photo of the fish as long as it remains in the water. In regard to bonefish, the tournament exemption permit that allowed tournament anglers with the proper permit to temporarily possess bonefish for transport to a tournament scale has been eliminated.

Free fishing day

Sunday is a free fishing day in saltwater, meaning Florida residents and visitors don't need a license to fish saltwater. There were three previous license-free fishing days, including freshwater days, and the FWC is considering adding four more days in 2013 when it meets Sept. 5. Two would be saltwater days and two would be freshwater days.

Solunar chart


Minor Major Minor Major

8/30 1:35 7:40 1:50 8:05

8/31 2:20 8:25 2:35 8:45

9/1 3:00 9:05 3:15 9:30

9/2 3:45 9:50 4:00 10:15

9/3 4:30 10:30 4:40 10:55

9/4 5:10 11:10 5:20 11:35

9/5 5:50 11:55 6:05 0


Captainís Corner: Erratic weather making offshore fishing unpredictable

Continued heavy winds have kept offshore fisheries from settling in to predictable patterns. When things have calmed, nearshore baitfish have bunched up and kingfish and Spanish mackerel settled in around them. Unfortunately, each cold front has chur...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Snook bite is best now in afternoon

So what happened to our spring weather in February? The weather has the fish moving back and forth between their winter and summer spots, and with April just a few weeks away, the air temperature is warming up and should be in the upper 70s and low 8...
Published: 03/21/18
Updated: 03/22/18

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