Sunday, June 24, 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: 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