Saturday, March 24, 2018

Outdoors news: Stone crab season continues, Marine Quest open for kids, adults

Making news

Cherished STone crab claws back on menu

The recreational season for stone crab, the only truly sustainable marine resource in the United States, opened Tuesday. Unlike other species of crustacean that must be killed to be eaten, the stone crab's tasty, meat-filled claw can be taken without injuring the animal. Most stone crabs have one claw that is larger than the other. The large crushing claw, the one most prized for the dinner table, is the animal's principal weapon. A fully developed crab is strong enough to crush clams and oysters, so imagine what it can do to an index finger. Most recreational crabbers scuba dive for crabs around local bridges. But low visibility and strong currents can be dangerous, making this advisable only for experienced divers. Florida law requires crabbers to have a saltwater fishing license. It is unlawful to take claws from females bearing eggs, which should be visible under the crab. The use of hooks, spears or other devices that crush or injure the crab's body also is prohibited. The recreational daily bag limit is 1 gallon of claws per person or 2 gallons per vessel, whichever is less. The season closes May 16, 2014. Go to for full details.

Marine life surfaces inside institute

Want to get up close to skates and rays? The Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (100 8th Ave. SE, St. Petersburg) will open its doors to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday for Marine Quest 2013. More than 60 exhibits and interactive displays will bring science to life for adults and kids. Visitors can touch sharks, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, spiny lobsters and other marine critters commonly found in Florida's waters.

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

Solunar chart


Minor Major Minor Major

10/18 5:15 11:20 5:30 11:45

10/19 6:00 0 6:20 12:10

10/20 6:50 12:35 7:15 1:05

10/21 7:45 1:35 8:10 2:00

10/22 8:40 2:30 9:05 2:50

10/23 9:25 3:15 10:00 3:45

10/24 10:20 4:10 10:50 4:35


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...
Published: 03/23/18

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