Saturday, February 24, 2018
Outdoors

Outdoors news and notes

Making news

Some grouper can be caught starting Monday

After a two-month closure, the season for shallow-water grouper — which includes black, red, yellowfin, scamp and yellowmouth but not gag — reopens in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday.

Gag grouper remains closed until July 1 in most areas off our coast except for state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties. That includes all waters of the Steinhatchee River, Apalachicola Bay and Indian Pass. This area closes June 30.

The local gag season lasts until the recreational quota has been met. Federal fishery managers expect that to be between Nov. 11 and Dec. 3. State waters off Monroe County are included with the Atlantic seasons and are currently closed to harvest through April 30.

National Hospice Regatta to be held in St. Petersburg

The National Hospice Regatta Championship, hosted by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, returns to Tampa Bay on April 12-14.

Seventeen teams from the United States and Canada will compete off the Pier in St. Petersburg in Sonars and Ideal 18s.

Fans also can check out the miniregatta April 12 when members of the Yacht Club's Salty Sisters take on the Junior Sailing Class. Each team features its top five sailors, who will square off in the Vinoy Basin.

The National Hospice Championship was founded in 1982 in Annapolis, Md., and sailed on the Chesapeake Bay for several years. In 2009, the competition moved to the Great Lakes off Rochester, N.Y., then moved to Tampa Bay in 2012.

Send news to Terry Tomalin at [email protected]ay.com or call (727) 893-8808.

Solunar chart

AM PM

Minor Major Minor Major

3/29 7:45 1:35 8:15 2:00

3/30 8:50 2:40 9:15 3:00

3/31 9:45 3:35 10:20 4:05

4/1 10:50 4:40 11:25 5:10

4/2 11:55 5:45 0 6:15

4/3 12:30 6:45 12:55 7:10

4/4 1:25 7:35 1:45 8:00

Comments

Captainís Corner: Cobia moving into bay ahead of schedule

Rapidly increasing water temperatures have migratory fish moving toward the bay area. Typically, schools of coastal pelagic fish such as cobia and mackerel do not return until late March. This year, they are way ahead of schedule. Cobia are one of th...
Published: 02/23/18

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