Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Outdoors

Take It Outside planner: Cayo Coasta, sea turtle safety, grouper regulations

DESTINATION: CAYO COSTA

If you are looking for a good weekend getaway, Cayo Costa State Park, just across the pass from Boca Grande, has 9 miles of beautiful beach just waiting to be explored. This barrier island hasn't changed much since the Spanish explorers first sailed by its shores nearly 500 years ago. This island is heavily wooded — pine, oak and palm — and accessible only by private boat or ferry. With more than 2,000 acres of wilderness to explore, spend the day or stay in the night in a rustic cabin or your own tent. The sunsets are fabulous. Bring your snorkel gear and fishing rod for the beach and your hiking boots and mountain bike for the trails that crisscross the island. Captiva Cruises offers ferry service to the park from locations in Punta Gorda, Pine Island, Fort Myers, Sanibel Island and Captiva Island. Reservations are recommended. (239) 472-5100. cayocostaferry.com.

CREATURE FEATURE: Sea Turtles

May signals the start of sea turtle nesting in Florida. While most of the state's sea turtle nests are found on the east coast, Pinellas County's beaches, particularly Fort De Soto, also get their fair share of nesting sea turtles through the summer. While loggerheads do nest on local beaches, the odds of catching one in the act are slim.

Sea turtles spend the majority of their lives underwater but breathe air and must come up on dry land to lay their eggs. About 60 days after the turtles lay their eggs, the hatchlings will scramble from the nest and instinctively head toward the water. On their sprint to the sea, the young loggerheads are easy pickings for birds. Then they must contend with hungry fish. Even a full-grown loggerhead can become shark food.

Another enemy is man. Turtles are a traditional food source throughout the Caribbean. The eggs are prized in many cultures as an aphrodisiac. Thousands of the reptiles also are killed each year in commercial fishing nets. Some turtles die when they eat plastic bags they mistake for a favorite food, jellyfish. Human interference on nesting beaches also creates problems. Some turtles may be scared away if humans appear. And hatchlings have been known to become disoriented by the artificial lights of beachside developments and walk into roads. That is why it is important that beach residents keep lights out during the nesting season, May through October. myfwc.com.

CATCH THIS: Gag Grouper

Anglers fishing for gag grouper in the Gulf of Mexico will have to contend with a change in regulations when the season reopens. The minimum size limit will increase from 22 inches total length to 24 inches total length. But the season will open a month earlier (June 1) and close a month later (Dec. 31).

GREAT GEAR: Costas

Costa's new Rafael glasses with the 580 lenses provide a sleeker, tighter frame that helps keep the light so you can focus on fish. A great glass for water sports, they retail for $249.

   
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Captainís Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

Captainís Corner: Warming weather brings permit to wrecks, ledges

As water temperatures continue to climb, more and more permit are showing up on wrecks and ledges off the Suncoast area. These highly prized members of the jack family appear every spring and gather into large aggregations for spawning. Most of this ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Captainís Corner: Time nears for snook, tarpon out at the beaches

With summerlike air temperatures coming in the next couple of weeks, snook will be moving out to the beaches and tarpon will start cruising there. Itís my favorite time of year to fish. With snook on the beaches and passes, you would think their biol...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18

Captainís Corner: Variables are all that is constant when it comes to art of fishing

The unique variables and ever-changing conditions of fishing are what set it apart from most other sports. Basketball goals donít move, baseball diamonds are basically the same and tennis courts never change. Fishing, on the other hand, is constantly...
Published: 04/21/18

Captainís Corner: King mackerel the hot topic as gulf waters warm

King mackerel is always the hot topic this time of year, with tournaments every weekend for two months. Some believe that massive schools in the gulf migrate from their fall haunts in south Florida and the Keys to the north, with the larger females (...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

After significant winds from a front last week, things are calming down and fish are turning on again. Bait has gotten predictable and easier to chum on the flats after moving to deeper water during the front. Iíve been targeting trout at first light...
Published: 04/18/18
Updated: 04/19/18

Captainís Corner: Rush of warmer water in gulf heats up fishing on offshore reefs, wrecks

The rush of warmer water on our offshore reefs and wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico has brought with it a cadre of pelagic fish. Divers and anglers have enjoyed the influx of cobia, kingfish and more. The benthic (bottom) fish are splurging on the balls ...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Captainís Corner: Spring bite is solid despite wacky weather

Bipolar weather continues to confuse both fish and anglers. Fortunately the water temperature has gotten high enough that the effects donít last long and the spring bite continues to be solid. Snook are still the hot bite in many areas around the bay...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Captainís Corner: Kingfish, sharks provide aerial displays

Fishing was good this past Saturday, ahead of the cold front. We fished close to shore about 2 miles. Our approach was simple. We anchored the boat, fished with live baits and chummed heavily. Kingfish action was nonstop for the entire morning. We ca...
Published: 04/16/18

Captainís Corner: Trolling or anchoring up, kingfish bite is hot

Are you looking for line-screaming action? Head offshore. The kingfish bite has been good, though high winds may require a wait for the water to clear. The best numbers have been about 5 miles out on the hard bottom. Trolling for kingfish works well;...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/15/18

Captainís Corner: Spring run is the most wonderful time of the year

The full spring run of all species in our area is in full swing. Whatever species you would like to target, inshore or offshore, is as good as it gets this time of year. Redfish schools have shown up in the flats around Pinellas Point, but they are i...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18