Monday, December 11, 2017
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: 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

Captainís Corner: This is the month to target gag grouper

With our current regulations in the Gulf, this is the best month to target gag grouper. Although the gag grouper season opens in June they are hard to come by for most months unless anglers travel to depths of 240 feet or more. With each passing cold...
Published: 12/03/17
Updated: 12/04/17

Captainís Corner: Speckled sea trout can be easily caught on artificial lures

Speckled sea trout are one of the most reliable targets this time of year. Grass flats are usually empty because of extreme low tides. That causes higher concentrations of fish on the edges and in the deeper grass flats. No live bait is needed. A red...
Published: 12/01/17

Captainís Corner: Cooler weather lures decent gag grouper

Mild temperatures have allowed anglers to get out and explore many areas. Cooler weather has lured decent gag grouper. We expected them to arrive in the past month, and they havenít disappointed. Numerous rocks in 20- to 120-foot depths seem to be ho...
Published: 11/30/17

Captainís Corner: Donít have to go far offshore for grouper

When most anglers think of bottom fishing for grouper, they usually think that means taking a long run offshore. During late November and early December, grouper migrate close to shore, so a long run might not be necessary. There are times we target ...
Published: 11/28/17
Updated: 11/29/17