Saturday, March 24, 2018

Take it Outside Planner: Bahia Honda Key, photography exhibit and Sea to Summit X-Pot


Decades before the Overseas Highway connected Key West to the mainland, Henry Flagler's railroad was the only way, other than a boat, to get to the Southernmost City. If you were lucky enough have a seat aboard the train, you would have stopped at Bahia Honda Key, which for many a northern traveler was a true tropical destination. Not much has changed in the hundred years since. There are still balmy breezes, sensational sunsets and most of all, fantastic fishing. You can camp at Bahia Honda State Park or stay in cabins, then snorkel out on one of the local reefs. Flagler's Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway made it to the island in 1908. The old Bahia Honda Bridge, one of 43 such structures, was the most difficult to build because of the deep, fast water in the channel. The railway ran until Sept. 2, 1935, when a 17-foot storm surge from a Category 5 hurricane destroyed the tracks. The old bridge is still there, one of the most photographed abandoned structures in the Florida Keys. Park visitors can soak up the sunshine and enjoy a bit of history from the state's Golden Age. The park has three camping areas with 80 sites, two boat ramps and a marina. The park concessionaire, the Coral Reef Park Company, offers great snorkel trips to the nearby reefs.


Most backpackers know to carry a tent, sleeping bag and mat, but maybe you should add a camera to the equipment list. Aidan Lynn-Klimenko and Madison Perrins are traveling to 30 national parks for the 100th anniversary of the national park system. The photographers met in the darkroom at the Montana State University School of Film and have previously traveled extensively through South America. America's national parks have been documented by photographers before, including Ansel Adams, who popularized the Grand Tetons' beauty. Backpacker Magazine has featured the work, which the two will share at Bill Jackson's Shop for Adventure in Pinellas Park at 1 p.m. Saturday. Call (727) 576-4169 for reservations.


Who says one pot can't do it all? The new Sea to Summit X-Pot combines the heat distribution of aluminum with the flexibility of silicone. The aluminum base makes for a fast boil time and the stainless steel ring embedded in the rim lends rigidity to the silicone walls for easy lifting. Top it off with a clear locking lid with an integrated strainer and you have a great backpacking pot that packs down to an inch-tall disk. $49.95.


This bird of prey is smaller than its cousin, the red-tailed hawk. The best way to tell the two hawks apart is the habitat where the bird is spotted. If you are hiking in the woods and see a bird of prey moving through the trees, chances are it is a red-shouldered hawk. These woodland raptors focus on small prey like mice, frogs and snakes. These forest hawks are also found along rivers and swamps.


Captainís Corner: Take advantage of this weekís favorable weather

Gusty winds and small craft advisories much of this past week hampered most of the offshore fishing. With lighter winds and warmer temperatures forecast, this might be the week to get out and take advantage. Water temperatures are cooler than we like...
Updated: 7 hours ago

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