Sunday, December 17, 2017
Outdoors

Take it Outside Planner: Tampa Bay Boat Show, how to prep for kayaking trips

Boats, Boats, Boats: Tampa Bay Boat Show

If you are looking to buy a boat this spring, you'll find plenty to choose from this weekend at Tropicana Field. The Tampa Bay Boat Show will have hundreds of watercraft on display, but it is easy to get overwhelmed. So before you go, come up with a game plan. Are you a shopper who just wants to look around and dream of owning a boat? Or are you a buyer who wants to slap down cash and hit the water before kingfish season? If do really want to buy, set a budget. How much do you want to spend? Do you plan to pay for the boat in one lump sum or through monthly payments? Answer those questions before you settle on a specific model. Once you decide on what you want, check the used boat ads for resale value. If you buy the boat now, what will it sell for in two or three years? The show runs Friday through Sunday. Gates open at 10 a.m. Free admission; $5 parking. tampabayboatshows.com.

Prepare: Camping on the water

Most of Florida's best backcountry campsites are accessible only by water. The Everglades, the Ten Thousand Islands and Biscayne National Park are popular with canoeists and kayakers. In most places, outfitters rent watercraft and provide paddles and personal flotation devices, but you will have to bring camping gear. Pack for a water trip as you would for backpacking: Bring only what is necessary. But whenever you're dealing with open-water conditions, hypothermia can be a concern. Be sure to dress in layers and wear a waterproof outer layer in inclement weather. Before you try to paddle to this chickee on the 99-mile Wilderness Waterway that runs from Everglades City to Flamingo, try a few short day trips in your canoe or kayak. Pack as if you were going on a weeklong expedition, even it means just carrying 10 gallons of water. It will give you a sense of what to look forward to.

Animal of the week: Coral Snakes

Florida has 44 species of snakes, with six considered dangerous to humans: the pygmy rattlesnake, the copperhead, the cottonmouth, the diamondback rattlesnake, the timber rattlesnake and the coral snake, the country's most venomous reptile. Measuring less than 2 feet but packing a punch more powerful than an 8-foot rattlesnake, the coral snake is closely related to the cobra and has a neurotoxin venom that attacks the nervous system. Because of its bright yellow, red and black bands, the coral snake is often confused with the scarlet kingsnake with similar markings. Forget the rhyme "red touch yellow, kills a fellow; red touch black, good for Jack." If you are bitten by a coral snake, chances are, you'll be too preoccupied with the pain to remember the rhyme. It's much easier to look at the face: The coral snake's is black; the kingsnake's is red. Nine out of 10 coral snake bites occur after the victim has tried to pick up, harass or kill the coral snake. So a good rule to follow is don't play with snakes. If you suffer a bite wound, stay calm. Then get to the hospital immediately. The doctor will need to know what species bit you. A coral snake's bite is treated with a different antivenin than a rattlesnake's bite.

 
Comments

Captainís Corner: Bottom fishing is good with dropping gulf water temperatures

The past few weeks have delivered lots of cold air, dropping water temperatures in the gulf. Thermometers are reading in the low 60s. This is going to change a few things closer to shore. Anglers will find an absence of kingfish on many of the spots ...
Updated: 9 hours ago

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