Friday, July 20, 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.

   
Comments

Captainís Corner: Early morning or late-night fishing your best bets during summer

We are deep into the dog days of summer, and it shows. Fishing early mornings and late evenings are your best bet for solid action. Tossing artificials around bait schools as the sun rises has produced some nice trout catches. Some fish have been in ...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Finding fish on bottom structure of gulf

Finding fish on the bottom structure of the Gulf of Mexico this summer has been up and down for our spearfishermen. In late spring and early summer, the fish migrated to their normal areas, then they changed up. Grouper stayed in the shallow water lo...
Published: 07/18/18

Captainís Corner: Warm water brings algae blooms

Itís been a hot summer. This week water temps crept up to sweltering 90 degrees at the surface inshore. We saw 88 degrees on the surface temps offshore. The deeper the water, the cooler the water temps were found, especially toward the bottom. Wit...
Published: 07/16/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing docks and bridges at night is good way to beat summertime heat

The summertime heat and humidity are in full swing. Get out early to avoid the heat and the afternoon thunderstorms. Water temperatures are anywhere from 88 to 93 degrees. With water temperatures that high, youíll be able to spend only the first few ...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/15/18

Captainís Corner: Donít forget about the ponds for fishing

Saltwater gets all of our attention, but when driving to and from work or visiting a friend, keep an eye out for a pond that looks fishy. There are many productive ponds that have bass and panfish, some even have snook and baby tarpon, both of which ...
Published: 07/12/18
Updated: 07/14/18

Captainís Corner: Welcome to summertime kingfish season

We now have a summertime kingfish season. In the past weíve basically given up on kingfish at the end of May because the feeling was they had migrated to the northern gulf to spawn, not returning until mid-October. Weíve targeted kingfish this year i...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/12/18

Captainís Corner: Spanish mackerel push back into bay

Large Spanish mackerel have pushed into the bay as of the most recent full moon. Many of these pelagics are in the 6-pound range, and recent catches of 8-pound mackerel have not been uncommon. A medium action rod with a 4000 series reel spooled with ...
Published: 07/11/18

Captainís Corner: Pinellas south beaches strong for snook

Snook fishing along the south beaches of Pinellas County has been amazing. Large schools are hanging in the swash channels formed by wave motion right off the beach. The water clarity changes daily, depending on the wind direction. If the wind is out...
Published: 07/08/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Captainís Corner: Good tarpon action should last through August

For those who have not had their fill of tarpon fishing, thereís still plenty of it. A good flow of silverkings continues along our gulf beaches and in the bays and backwaters. Weíll be tugging on íem through next month. We battled tarpon last week j...
Published: 07/07/18
Updated: 07/08/18
Captainís Corner: Summer weather brings great bay fishing

Captainís Corner: Summer weather brings great bay fishing

We are right in the middle of the summer, which makes for some hot weather and rainy afternoons. With summer weather patterns come some great bay fishing. Sharks, cobia, snapper and grouper are plentiful inside Tampa Bay. Shark fishing is also a grea...
Published: 07/06/18
Updated: 07/09/18