Saturday, March 17, 2018

Take it Outside Planner: Tampa Bay Boat Show, Wanderlust, bike the Withlacoochee State Trail


Buying a boat is a big investment, so this weekend's Tampa Bay Boat Show at the Florida State Fairgrounds is a good way to do literal, side-by-side comparisons of the various models. Looking for a shallow-draft skiff to go on the flats or a tricked-out motor boat? Before you go, figure out your priorities. Do you value comfort over fuel economy? Form over function can affect the usefulness, and you may find yourself wishing you'd held out for more storage or a platform for scuba diving and fishing. The research and comparison shopping pays off. In addition to boating and fishing supplies, fishing guides and local experts will share tips on how to catch the big one. The show, presented by the Tampa Bay Times, is from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Free admission; $6 parking. 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. (727) 893-8523.


Called a "field day for your mind, body and soul," the huge outdoor yoga and wellness festival Wanderlust 108 is making its first stop in Tampa on Sunday at Curtis Hixon Park. The day starts with a "run, skip or walk" 5K at 9 a.m., followed by a massive yoga class then a variety of guest lectures and fitness classes, 30-minute guided meditation classes and the Kula Marketplace. Some activities, such as the Hula Hoop class, are already full. Tickets start at $44, $20 lunch. 7:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Sunday. 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa.


Get ready to ride. The 22nd annual Rails to Trails Bike Ride on the Withlacoochee State Trail is Oct. 2. What used to be railroad tracks is now a 12-foot wide, paved 46-mile trail that opened for bikers and hikers in 1992. (There's even horseback riding available on a separate trail adjacent to the paved trail.) One of the longest such trails in the state, it extends from near Dunnellon to Dade City. It connects scenic small towns and goes through the beautiful Withlacoochee State Forest. The ride starts at the iconic Red Caboose at the Inverness trailhead (315 N Apopka Ave., Inverness). Riders of all levels will get a continental breakfast, hot lunch, five fully-stocked rest stops and volunteer support while riding from 1 to 100 miles. Those completing a Century (100 miles) or Metric Century (62K) will receive medals and certificates, and will get to ring the historic locomotive bell. Sign up early to be eligible for door prizes, including three bikes and weekend getaways. Registration is $30, $15 ages 12 and younger. Online registration ends Sept. 30 at 4:30 p.m., but walkup registrations will be accepted at the ride from 6:30-9 a.m.


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...
Updated: 8 hours ago

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

Captainís Corner: The right location means big trout numbers

It is peak time for catching large numbers of trout. A "spring thing" right now, it is not unusual to put up a big number with a number of quality-sized fish being caught. This should continue for another two months. For tackle and techniques, trout ...
Published: 03/05/18
Updated: 03/07/18