Saturday, December 16, 2017
Outdoors

Take It Outside Planner: Super Boat races return to Clearwater, monarch butterfly migration

NEED FOR SPEED: Super Boat National Championship and Festival

The world's fastest power boats return to Clearwater Beach for the eighth annual Super Boat National Championship and Festival. There will be parties and fireworks to welcome them, but the reason thousands of people line the beach is to watch these racing machines — some costing more than $1 million and capable of speeds in excess of 150 mph. They have more in common with fighter aircraft, drivers say, than your average weekend pleasure boat. Clearwater is the final event on the super boat racing schedule before the World Championship Races Nov. 7-13 in Key West.

Keep an eye out for eight-time world champion Miss Geico offshore racing team making a return to Clearwater. The 50-foot-long Miss Geico Victory catamaran is made of carbon, Kevlar and S-glass for high performance. It is under the control of driver Marc Granet (a former St. Pete Beach resident) and throttleman Scott Begovich, who have been working together since the team was formed in 2004. The boat sports a pair of 1650 RACE Sterndrive engines producing 3,300 horsepower and top speeds of 200 mph. It weighs more than 13,000 pounds. The competition is fierce in Clearwater because it is the last opportunity for teams to really push their vessels and win a national title based upon points earned. And for many teams, they must win in Clearwater to clinch a title.

Here's the lineup for the weekend

On Friday, the Race Village in Coachman Park opens to the public at noon for up-close race boat viewing. A block party on Cleveland Street starts at 5:30 p.m. with a super boat parade at 6:15 p.m. followed by a block party. Rock-turned-country band Sister Hazel (All for You) will perform Friday at 9:30 p.m. at Shephard's Beach Resort, 619 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach, as part of super boat weekend. $12.

On Saturday, the Race Village in Coachman Park opens at 9 a.m. for a seafood festival and meet and greet with the racers and remains open until 10 p.m. On the beach you will see boats testing their runs from noon to 4 p.m., followed by a Sunsets at Pier 60 party. Fireworks light up the sky at 9 p.m.

Sunday is race day. View the boats in the water off Pier 60 beginning at 10 a.m. Boats parade to the milling area at 11:45 a.m. Races start at noon and 2 p.m.

Watching from the shoreline is free, or you can pay $1 to line up at Pier 60 on Friday or Saturday; $25 on Sunday. The Clearwater chamber is selling VIP tickets for $100, $20 for children 16 and younger that get you easy access to Pier 60, free trolley rides and other perks. clearwaterflorida.org/events.

LACE UP: Serious runs and serious causes

This weekend brings some of the toughest races of the year, as well as serious causes using a fun run to raise money.

Fort De Soto 15K and 5K:

This is the second year for this race on recreational trails and access roads in the historic Fort De Soto Park off Tierra Verde. Both the 15K and 5K courses are fast and flat — perfect for setting a personal best time. Registration is $60-$75 for the 15K and $40-$50 for the 5K Racing starts at 7:05 p.m. Sunday at 3500 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde. ftdesoto15k.com.

GoRuck Challenge:

Inspired by the elite training of Special Forces soldiers and led by Green Berets, the GoRuck Challenge is a team event. Participants carry rucksacks weighted down with bricks. The challenge is billed as an eight- to 10-hour, 15- to 20-mile guided tour of the city, but the route and distance are unknown to participants. This year is themed "Mogadishu Mile." Headlamps are required. $150-$170. Racers meet at Yuengling Brewing Co., 11111 N 30th St., Tampa for the tough challenge at 9 p.m. Friday. The lighter challenge meets there at 9 p.m. Saturday. goruck.com.

Komen Florida Suncoast Race for the Cure:

This year, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure hits the streets at night for a glow run/walk with distances ranging from 1-mile to 10K. It will benefit breast cancer research, with 75 percent of the money raised staying in the Tampa Bay area. $10-$40. 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Albert Whitted Airport , 540 First St. SE, St. Petersburg. (727) 823-0728. KomenSuncoast.org.

ROAD TRIP: Monarch butterfly migration

If you are in the Tallahassee area in the next month, swing by the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, where monarch butterfly migration nears its peak along Florida's Gulf Coast. Every year the wildlife refuge near Tallahassee is perhaps the best place anywhere to see large numbers of monarchs. On a good day, it can be easy to count them in the hundreds or thousands. Monarchs are present between the first of October and the middle of November. Stretching across 70,000 acres in Florida's Big Bend, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge protects one of Florida's longest wild shorelines, more than 43 miles in three counties. $5 cars and motorcycles, $1 bicycles and pedestrians. $15 annual pass. See hfws.gov/refuge/st_marks for directions.

 
Comments

Captainís Corner: Look for that strong speckled trout bite on grass flats

The speckled trout bite has taken off nicely after the first good cold front last weekend. You will find a consistent bite along the grass flats from Apollo Beach down to Pinellas Point. The sweet spot seems to be 4-6 feet of water. If you can find s...
Published: 12/15/17

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