Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Outdoors

Take it Outside Planner: Sebastian Inlet, gator spotting and Bic boards

SURFIN' SAFARI: SEBASTIAN INLET

The Beach Boys may have been thinking about Baja when they penned that 1962 classic, but here in Florida we have our own great place to camp, fish and surf. Sebastian Inlet State Park is one of the best places to catch snook, redfish and Spanish mackerel on the Atlantic Coast. With more than 3 miles of beach and one of the most consistent surf breaks in Florida, Sebastian Inlet's "First Peak" draws its share of wave riders. Monster Hole, which is actually a shoal a little farther out, is another internationally known surf spot. But there is more to do here than just surf and catch fish. The McLarty Treasure Museum tells the story of the ill-fated Spanish treasure fleet of 1715. The Sebastian Fishing Museum is a great place to learn about the area's rich fishing history. Visitors can also canoe and kayak the Indian River Lagoon or stroll down the mile-long Hammock Trail. Bring a picnic lunch and set up at one of the waterfront pavilions. Bring a tent and spend the night along State Road A1A, about 15 miles south of Melbourne Beach.

ANIMAL OF THE WEEK: GATOR GROWL

Play nine holes on any Florida golf course and you're bound to see at least two or three of the state's more than 1 million alligators. Any body of water — pond, lake or river — is a potential home to these large reptiles. But the American alligator, a.k.a. Alligator mississippiensis, doesn't deserve its fearsome reputation. Most run when confronted by humans. Still, there's a certain degree of comfort and safety to be had when viewing alligators from a car or boat. To see big gators, head south to Everglades National Park. Book a seat on the Shark Valley tram tour and you'll come across dozens of gators in the canals along each side of the road. If you're in a rush, swing by the Big Cypress National Preserve's Oasis Visitors Center off the Tamiami Trail in Ochopee. There's usually a few dozen big gators lounging around the pond out front. This unincorporated community in Collier County is also known for its tiny post office and a large population of skunk apes, but good luck getting a glimpse of the latter. Sarasota's Myakka River State Park is another notorious gator hangout. There's a narrow two-lane bridge about a mile from the ranger station that crosses the Myakka River. Swing by around lunch time and you'll see some of the fattest, laziest gators in the Sunshine State. But remember — don't toss last night's marshmallows. Feeding alligators is against the law.

GREAT GEAR: BIC BOARDS

Bic, famous for its pens, also makes great paddle boards. They're nearly indestructible, a good thing when you're paddling around oyster bars, and can be "tricked out" for fishing. Suitable models start at $999. Visit bicsup.com.

Comments

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 ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

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
Captainís Corner: Colder weather calls for different approaches

Captainís Corner: Colder weather calls for different approaches

With colder weather the first big change is what bait to use. Before the cold fronts in the first week we were using greenbacks and catching a bunch of snook. With the cold weather that has hit us we are now shifting gears and using shrimp and throwi...
Published: 01/08/18
Updated: 01/09/18

Captainís Corner: Winter need not interrupt fishing

The inevitable effects of wintertime fishing have finally arrived, but there are plenty of opportunities for the determined angler. Trout, both silver and specs, are cold water tolerant and among the best bets inshore. Now too is when schools of shee...
Published: 01/07/18
Updated: 01/08/18

Captainís Corner: With this cold, itís time for sheepshead

With cold air and water temperatures, nothing is hot when it comes it fishing. An eight-year recovery on snook erased by water temperatures in the 50s. January has not been kind so far. Thereís basically one solid option in times like these: sheepshe...
Published: 01/06/18
Updated: 01/07/18

Captainís Corner: Cold weather shouldnít stop you from targeting trout

Dealing with cold water is nothing new for trout anglers. Most often, fish head to deeper water as they seek more stable temperatures; consequently, deep water near your favorite grass flat will often hold schools of trout until the water temperature...
Published: 01/06/18