Saturday, March 17, 2018

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.

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.


Captainís Corner: Snook are the hot bite

Surface water temperatures have dipped into the low 60s, but the fish donít seem to mind. The longer days get the temperature up and helps keep it from getting into the danger zone at night. Snook have been the hot bite this past week and, believe it...
Updated: 2 hours ago

It has been a crazy month regarding all the drastic weather changes. We experienced a record-breaking warming trend in February, followed by an endless amount of cold weather this month. The arrival times for many spring migrations of fish has been i...
Published: 03/16/18

Captainís Corner: Big trout moving out of the shallows

February seemed like March with record-breaking heat, but now March seems like February with below-average temperatures. This is a good thing. Spring fishing has started way too early in the past few years. The cold-water temperature we have now will...
Published: 03/14/18
Updated: 03/15/18

Captainís Corner: Temperature changes affect fly fishing

Having a fantastic river trip one day where we caught a lot of snook in shallow water on a fly and going back to the same location three days later and not finding any cooperative fish can be very puzzling. What happened? Recent warm weather was repl...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/14/18

Captainís Corner: Warming trend increasing activity over grass flats

Water temperatures have finally started to climb into the low 70s on the flats. The temperatures have been fluctuating with the past few cold fronts moving through. Large schools of reds should start showing up on the flats in the Pinellas Point area...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/13/18
Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

Captainís Corner: Favorable water temperatures approaching

We traditionally look at two holidays to signal the start of trolling season for kingfish and Spanish mackerel along with their attendant migratory companions, blackfin tuna, cobia and barracuda. These are St. Patrickís Day (March 17) and Columbus Da...
Published: 03/11/18
Updated: 03/12/18

Captainís Corner: Spring fishing is getting close

When the weather settles down in the bay area, spring fishing should shift quickly into high gear. Just before the recent heavy winds arrived and churned the nearshore gulf into a muddy mess, seasonal migratory fish were showing up all over town. For...
Published: 03/10/18
Updated: 03/11/18

Captainís Corner: Trout return to their early spring areas

Cool air has filtered down, giving us hopefully the last cold blow for awhile. Recent fronts have shaken things up. But fishing has been good considering the weather. Trout have pushed into their early spring areas, basically where they were five wee...
Published: 03/10/18
Captainís Corner: Snook, trout out in abundance as spring approaches

Captainís Corner: Snook, trout out in abundance as spring approaches

March is here, and the weather is great. This month is when we make that change toward spring fishing. Snook really ramps up, and trophy trout mixed with good redfish are not far behind. Snook has to be the most targeted fish for March. Just about ev...
Published: 03/09/18

Captainís Corner: Cold fronts might be a blessing for fishing

So much for getting too hot too fast. It was a concern a couple of weeks ago when water temperatures were flirting with 80 degrees in some areas. We worried that the masses of kingfish might blow right by us as they sought that 70-75 temperatures the...
Published: 03/07/18
Updated: 03/08/18