Saturday, June 23, 2018
Outdoors

Take It Outside planner: Fort Zachary Taylor, Myakka airboating and fishing tourney

DESTINATION: FORT ZACHARY TAYLOR

Looking for the best sunset in Florida? Fort Zachary Taylor, Florida's southernmost state park, is as good as it gets. Built in the mid 1800s to defend the nation's southeastern coastline, Fort Zachary Taylor played important roles in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. You can sign up for one of the daily guided tours or just chill out on Key West's favorite beach, at the southern end of the park. There's good fishing and snorkeling too, a pleasant break from the bars and T-shirt shops of Duval Street. Interesting fact: Fort Taylor was originally built 1,200 feet offshore, but in the mid 1960s a U.S. Navy dredging project landlocked the fortress. floridastateparks.org.

Everglades stamp

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the U.S. Postal Service is issuing some "forever stamps" which pay tribute to the nation's most scenic places. A setting sun photograph of pinelands and grasses in the country's largest subtropical wilderness — Everglades National Park — is the sixth of 16 stamps in the series. The stamp image is a photograph by Paul Marcellini of Miami. The national park, which stretches from Miami to Naples and south to the Florida Keys, covers more than 1.5 million acres of sawgrass prairies, tropical hardwood hammocks and mangrove forests. Bring your binoculars and you'll see alligators, crocodiles, manatees and maybe a Florida panther. nps.gov/ever.

BREEZY: Myakka airboating

It's getting hot out there but that doesn't mean you have to stay off the water. Myakka River State Park, about an hour south of downtown St. Petersburg, has big reptiles and the world's largest airboats, the Myakka Maiden and the Gator Gal, both of which offer scenic cruises on Upper Myakka Lake. Like human-powered canoes, the slow-moving, air-powered watercraft can travel into shallow areas for optimum wildlife viewing. The tour schedule varies during the winter and summer months. You can also enjoy the park from the comfort of your own air-conditioned car when you take a tour on the 7-mile scenic drive that winds along the wetlands of the upper lake. floridastateparks.org.

GREAT GEAR: Danco Pliers

Whether you're fishing for king mackerel offshore or snook in the backcountry, every angler needs a good pair of pliers. With Mother's Day and Father's Day just around the corner, get your favorite folk something they can use but probably wouldn't buy for themselves: Danco Pliers. These aluminum pliers cost $39.99 and will last forever. Find them at Dogfish Tackle, 8750 Park Blvd. N, Seminole.

HAIL THE KING: KINGFISH TOURNAMENT

Check out the Old Salt Spring King of the Beach Kingfish Tournament & Seafood Festival Thursday through Saturday in Madeira Beach. The top teams from Texas to Virginia will be competing for the $50,000 first place prize. The three days of music, food and events are for everybody, not just hard-core kingfish anglers. Registration is $235-$245. oldsaltfishing.org.

     
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Captainís Corner: Cool off, bring home a tasty dinner with scalloping

Whatís the best way to cool off in July and August? Go scalloping. Itís like going on an underwater Easter egg hunt that results in a bag of tasty scallops to cook up. The most popular places to scallop are in Homosassa and Steinhatchee in 2 feet of ...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Captainís Corner: Size of sea trout a welcome surprise in Pinellas grass beds

A nice surprise has been the quality size of the spotted sea trout on deeper grass beds in southern Pinellas. Typically, summertime trout tend to run smaller than the 16- to 20-inch trout weíve been finding. Fishing the deep grass with scattered sand...
Published: 06/21/18

Captainís Corner: Offshore fishing will be strong for awhile

June and July offer some of the yearís best offshore fishing. Targets such as red snapper, blackfin tuna, mahi≠mahi, wahoo and sailfish make their way through our area and make appearances on many trips to depths of 120 feet or more. Red snapper are ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Captainís Corner: Itís a good time to focus on snook

Snook have been a main focus on my most recent trips. This time of year, snook inhabit the beaches, gathering in the ditches and swashes along shore. Jetties or rock structures are also a favorite habitat for snook to lurk, looking to ambush bait fis...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Captainís Corner: Tips on targeting American Red Snapper

American Red Snapper (ARS) season opened a few days ago and some types of bottom are holding bigger schools of ARS then other bottom types. The hard bottom areas that most fishermen prefer are holding large schools of ARS, but the fish have yet to m...
Published: 06/18/18

Captainís Corner: Trout bite at its best

The trout bite has been the best Iíve seen all year. Fish up to 26 inches have been common recently. Fish are sitting on the flatsí deeper edges, where the water is deeper and cooler, and moves a little more swiftly. Live sardines and hard plastic ba...
Published: 06/16/18
Updated: 06/17/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing this month is all about diversity

This is the month of diverse opportunity. The choice of species is unlimited, as long as you have the bait. You can target snook and tarpon in the morning, then fish for Spanish mackerel, bluefish, snapper, sharks and cobia in the afternoon. The tarp...
Published: 06/15/18

Captainís Corner: When itís tarpon time, itís also shark time

Tarpon get most of the attention when talking about exciting fly action for large fish in our area. Baitfish are more prolific, and large tarpon follow their forage and populate most of our local waters. Following them are fish that consider tarpon t...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Captainís Corner: This is your best time for tarpon fishing

Now is the best time to target tarpon. Silver kings are cruising the beaches on their yearly migration up and down the stateís west coast. This weekís strong new moon tides and the strong full moon tides in two weeks provide some of the best action f...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Captainís Corner: Turn attention to gag grouper and red snapper

Attention has turned to gag grouper and red snapper for many offshore fishermen. Red snapper can be best targeted in waters 105 feet and deeper, with some available in water as shallow as 60 feet. Although the snapper will be found on high profile st...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18