Friday, December 15, 2017
Outdoors

Take it Outside Planner: Everglades National Park, a seminar for saltwater fishers, the best camp chair

HIT THE GLADES: pARK centenNiAL

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service with a trip to Florida's best, Everglades National Park. January and February are great months for bird watching. Visitors can see large colonies of nesting birds from a respectful distance with binoculars and long-range camera lenses. This is the "dry season" in the park and wading birds gather at traditional and new nesting sites. If you time it right you might see hundreds, perhaps even thousands of birds as they prepare to build nests. Get out your notebook — roseate spoonbills are the first to show up, followed by storks, egrets, herons and ibis. If you are looking for a good place to see the rose-colored birds, check out Paurotis Pond, located approximately 24 miles from the main park entrance near Homestead. For more information, visit nps.gov/ever.

LEARN FROM THE BEST: SALT WATER SPORTSMAN

The Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series is the nation's longest-running — 29 years — and most popular educational tour for fishermen. If you are looking for a few tips on how to land the big ones, this show is for you. International angler George Poveromo, host of the World of Saltwater Fishing on NBC Sports and longtime editor at Salt Water Sportsman, will be joined by more than a dozen of Florida's top charter boat captains. Topics include light-tackle fishing for Spanish and king mackerel; kite fishing for cobia and blackfin tuna; how to make stubborn tarpon eat and more. The series runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at The Regent, 6437 Watson Road, Riverview. (800) 448-7360. nationalseminarseries.com.

SPOT IT: GRAY FOX

If you spend any time in the woods, sooner or later you will come across a gray fox, a notoriously secretive but sometimes curious animal. This creature is sometimes mistaken for its cousin the red fox, a non-native species introduced into the state for hunting purposes, because it can have a lot of red hair. An adult gray fox is small, weighing just 7 to 13 pounds. While found across most of the United States, except the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, here in Florida they tend to be spotted in the northern portion of the state. The gray fox is nocturnal. Old-timers might call it a "tree fox" because unlike most canines, it can scamper up a tree quickly. They eat mostly mice, rats and rabbits, although a gray fox won't pass up meat, including reptiles, amphibians and fish.

TAKE A LOAD OFF: CAMP CHAIR

There's an old adage: You can either be a happy hiker or a happy camper, not both. If you want to feel great on the trail, carry less stuff. If you want to be comfortable in camp, bring a chair. Now, thanks to the Helinox chair, you can have the best of both worlds. This is the ideal chair for the outdoor adventurer. It is super compact when folded, no bigger than the size of a man's shoe. And it is ultra-lightweight at just 890 grams, less than a liter of water. The Helinox chair is perfect for hiking, biking, trekking, bushwalking, fishing, sea kayaking and more. $99. Available locally at Bill Jackson's Shop for Adventure in Pinellas Park.

   
Comments

Captainís Corner: Drop in gulf water temperature means itís sea trout time

The gulf temperature has dropped significantly since our first real cold front last week. One day the water was in the mid 70s, then after the front, it fell to the low 60s. That caused speckled sea trout to become a reliable target. Redfish have bee...
Published: 12/14/17

Captainís Corner: Good time for shallow-water flats fishing

Shallow-water flats fishing can be very exciting this time of year. Trout and redfish are available in good numbers, and the opportunities to catch some gator trout have made recent trips very rewarding. Some of the largest trout have been in very sk...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/13/17

Captainís Corner: Seek clear water for bottom fishing as temperatures plummet

The great weather, calm seas and exceptional fishing we experienced at the end of November and beginning of December came to a screeching halt with the cold front that came through. Surface water temperatures plummeted from an unseasonable 71 degrees...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Captainís Corner: Sheepshead action lively in cooler weather

Conditions after the cold front are cool and are going to be for a while. That doesnít mean you canít or shouldnít fish. Many anglers get stuck on snook, reds and trout and forget how fun it is to catch sheepshead. Many reefs are already holding good...
Published: 12/09/17
Updated: 12/10/17

Captainís Corner: Fishing will return to normal, but when?

The severity of this cold front will determine the fishing forecast for the next several days. Bait that had been abundant inshore will scatter. Nearshore gulf waters will muddy, and water temperatures. at least temporarily. will plummet. How cold, h...
Published: 12/08/17
Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

I canít believe we are in the last month of the year. And while this is one of my favorite months to fish, it will be controlled by weather. As cold fronts become more frequent and harsh, planning your trips around them will make the biggest differen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Captainís Corner: Strong results for redfish, speckled trout

This is a great time for variety. Combined trips for speckled trout and redfish are achieving excellent results. With the correct approach, great catches of both species are a reality now. The best anglers use the lightest tackle. Light rods and reel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Captainís Corner: Take advantage of abundant gag grouper before season ends

Gag grouper fishing and spearing is hot. The season for these grouper in the Gulf of Mexico is winding down, with a slated closure at the end of this month. The cooler water has the gags moving closer, and they are happy when the bottom temperatures ...
Published: 12/05/17

Captainís Corner: Bait schools near shore drawing kings, mackerel, bonito

Nearshore fishing is still going strong in north Pinellas. Bait schools are roaming just a couple of miles offshore, attracting kingfish, Spanish mackerel and bonito. The beaches are still holding sardines for cast netting at sunrise. I like to have ...
Published: 12/03/17
Updated: 12/05/17

Captainís Corner: This is the month to target gag grouper

With our current regulations in the Gulf, this is the best month to target gag grouper. Although the gag grouper season opens in June they are hard to come by for most months unless anglers travel to depths of 240 feet or more. With each passing cold...
Published: 12/03/17
Updated: 12/04/17