Monday, January 22, 2018
Outdoors

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

HEAD SOUTH: BAHIA HONDA KEY

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. floridastateparks.org.

PHOTO STUDY: BACKPACKER TOUR

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.

ROLLING BOIL: X-POT

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. seatosummit.com.

SPOT IT: RED-SHOULDERED HAWK

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.

   
Comments

Captainís Corner: Bundle up and head out to the bay for bass, sheepshead

The water is cold, but that doesnít mean that fishing is over for the winter. There are still target species available that are fun to catch and will provide a fresh meal. Friday, we left the docks a little later than normal to give the sun a chance ...
Published: 01/20/18
Updated: 01/21/18

Captainís Corner: Live baits outperforming artificials

Amberjack have been the hot topic in the area since their season opened Jan. 1. Anglers have been targeting wrecks and other large structures in depths of 80-120 feet for these tackle-testing monsters. Although amberjack are caught on a wide variety ...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18

Captainís Corner: What to expect from fish coming out of the cold spell

Extreme cold has brought backcountry water temperatures down. As in years past, extreme dips have shocked many fish, especially snook, which take the biggest hit and become extremely lethargic and often near death. Luckily the cold wonít be long, and...
Published: 01/19/18

Captainís Corner: Divers, anglers going after amberjack

Over the past two weeks divers and anglers have been in search of amberjack. The season opened Jan. 1 and ends Jan. 27. The short season for gulf amberjack has pushed many divers and anglers to venture offshore, even in questionable weather. Donít fo...
Published: 01/18/18

Captainís Corner: Cold weather brings different but effective fishing styles

This past week has seen a variety of different fishing styles prove effective. Fishing for trout in deeper depressions with live shrimp has provided steady action. Rig as follows: Use a ?-ounce jighead, grab a shrimp from the well and pinch the tail ...
Published: 01/17/18

Captainís Corner: Devise a strategy before heading out into the cold

The quality of fishing this month depends on how many cold fronts are in our future. When the water creeps down below 60 degrees, many fish will slow their metabolism in order to survive. They require less food than in the warmer months, making some ...
Published: 01/16/18

Captainís Corner: Make sure the fly gets in front of a hungry fish

Back-to-back winter cold fronts not only confuse inshore fish but the fly fishers who pursue them. The most perfectly tied fly is not effective unless it is in front of a fish that is anxious to eat it. The best daytime tides, very low early and inco...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/14/18

Captainís Corner: Cold, windy days just fine for trout fishing

Trout have been my most productive target during the start of this new year. Winter cold fronts and cold water are making conditions difficult to target snook and reds. Strong winds from passing fronts make it hard to work the shallow-water flats. Th...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/13/18

Captainís Corner: Cold driving out kings, but there are alternatives

Mother Nature gives and she takes away. Nature gave us warm water and great king fishing until Dec. 31. She ushered in the new year with a severe cold front with high winds and rough seas that kept us in port every day. The cold air and overcast skie...
Published: 01/11/18
Updated: 01/12/18

Captainís Corner: Techniques for catching (and cooking) tasty sheepshead

Cold water has fishing in sort of slow motion. Middle bay temperatures (Gandy area) are holding in the 54-56 degree range. During this time of year the stalking of large snook and redfish take a back seat to finesse fishing and trying to figure out w...
Published: 01/10/18