Sunday, February 25, 2018
Outdoors

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

FULL DECK: TAMPA BAY BOAT SHOW

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. tampabay.com/expos.

BIG STRETCH: WANDERLUST 108

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. wanderlust.com.

ROLL OUT: RAILS TO TRAILS RIDE

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. rttwst.org.

Comments

Captainís Corner: Spring-like conditions lead to improved bite

Spring-like conditions have fired up a bite that a couple of weeks ago was practically nonexistent. Water temperatures in the mid 70s have mangrove snapper, grouper, triggerfish and hogfish aggressively chewing again in the 40- to 50-foot range.With ...
Published: 02/23/18
Updated: 02/24/18

Captainís Corner: Cobia moving into bay ahead of schedule

Rapidly increasing water temperatures have migratory fish moving toward the bay area. Typically, schools of coastal pelagic fish such as cobia and mackerel do not return until late March. This year, they are way ahead of schedule. Cobia are one of th...
Published: 02/23/18

Captainís Corner: Rising temperatures fire up the bite

With no cold fronts rolling into the bay area soon, it also means water temperatures are on the rise to the mid 70s. That has the bite fired up inshore and nearshore. Snook fishing is on fire with these warmer temperatures at night. Weíve been findin...
Published: 02/22/18

Captainís Corner: Warming waters, better visibility are good signs

Scuba and freediving spearfishermen and women have enjoyed great underwater visibility over the past week. Some boaters going offshore can make out the bottom structure from the gunnel of the boat. Best depths for visibility have been in 30 to 40 fee...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/19/18

Captainís Corner: Flats coming to life in north Pinellas County

The flats are really coming to life in north Pinellas County. Our main focus this time of year is spotted sea trout, though redfish are cooperating and schooling a bit. Snook are also responding to the warm weather, occasionally eating on the falling...
Published: 02/18/18

Captainís Corner: Bait a challenge, but effort will pay off

Bait has made its way into the bay and is on nearly every marker. The problem: Bait is moving and showing up at different times daily. The time spent to get bait will pay off. Fish have been blasting pilchards. Snook and large trout have been communi...
Published: 02/16/18
Updated: 02/17/18

Captainís Corner: Springtime fishing patterns moving in

The first half of February has been hit or miss for inshore fishing. The consistent cold fronts and warmups seem to have the fish confused. The week ahead should be pretty good. The best bite has been midmorning into the afternoon. With temperatures ...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/15/18

Captainís Corner: Get an early start when chasing redfish

Redfish schools have started to invade the flats around Pinellas Point. On low tide in the morning, I look for a school on an outer sandbar. These fish are staged on the edge waiting for the tide to come in. Once the water level rises, the fish will ...
Published: 02/13/18

Captainís Corner: Baitfish in the shallows improves fly fishing

Seeing large groups of pelicans diving and catching baitfish in warmer, shallow water is a sure sign spring conditions are approaching. The appearance of quality baitfish will spark a feeding frenzy that should steadily improve flats fishing for fly ...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/16/18

Captainís Corner: Action picking up as temperature rises

The wind finally stopped blowing so hard that we couldnít go offshore. Water temperatures were still in the low 50s offshore at the beginning of the week, and this affected fish behavior. Because the water was calm, we ventured out to the 80- to 90-f...
Published: 02/11/18
Updated: 02/12/18