Friday, July 20, 2018
Outdoors

Take It Outside Planner: Vintage fishing tackle show, Cayo Costa State Park

REEL DEAL: Antique fishing tackle show

Just about everyone who fishes ends up with more than his or her share of tackle. But for some, collecting the vintage lures, reels and rods becomes a hobby of its own, aside from catching fish. When these collectors say they have gone fishin' they are out trolling garage sales or casting about flea markets for collecting, restoring and swapping tools of the angler's trade. There are centuries of fishing paraphernalia to be uncovered in old tackle boxes, and this weekend's show in St. Pete Beach from the Florida Antique Tackle Collectors will display some prize catches. Club members will have historical displays from collections, some worth $500 to $1,000 each. The public is invited to attend from 9 a. m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and encouraged to bring old tackle for free appraisals. Admission is $3, children free, at Dolphin Beach Resort, 4900 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach.

SPOTLIGHT: Cayo Costa State Park

Off Boca Grande, not far from Fort Myers, the lovely tree-laden island of Cayo Costa State Park is accessible only by boat. The ferry cost of $32 to $35 for day trippers, $45 for overnight visitors, keeps the crowds away so it's a great spot if you are in search of peace and quiet. Once there, you'll find 9 miles of unspoiled beaches with heaps of seashells. Wooded trails thick with pine forests and oak-palm hammocks are also ideal for a stroll or rented-bike ride, not to mention fishing, kayaking and snorkeling. Cayo Costa day trippers can enjoy the beaches and trails, but campers get the island almost to themselves. No hotels, no restaurants, no noise and no light pollution to compete with the dark starry night.

For overnight stays, the park offers primitive cabins and tent camping that can be booked through ReserveAmerica up to 11 months in advance. Cayo Costa cabins are one-room wooden structures without electricity or running water. Each cabin sleeps six people on three sets of bunk beds. There's a table inside, along with a picnic table and a fire circle with grill top outside. There's a central bathhouse with cold showers and restrooms. If you are still reading this, then you are game for a primitive night in the outdoors. You have to bring your own food and cooking utensils, not to mention flashlights, bug spray and sunscreen, because there are no stores to bail you out.

Ferry operators will also rent out kayaks and the ranger station rents bikes. Ferry services can be found in Punta Gorda at kingfisherfleet.com and in Pineland from tropicstaradventures.com. Captiva Cruises offers ferry service to the park from locations in Punta Gorda, Pine Island, Fort Myers, Sanibel Island and Captiva Island at cayocostaferry.com. See more at floridastateparks.org/cayocosta.

EARLY BIRD: Florida Birding and Nature Festival

Heads up, bird and nature lovers. Hillsborough County is hosting its first Florida Birding and Nature Festival, and registration just opened for the Oct. 13-16 series of talks, field trips and workshops.

It is scheduled during Central Florida's peak migration period, when more than 180 species of birds and wildlife could potentially be found in local nature preserves. Experienced guides will lead field trips to the best wildlife sites in west-central Florida. Workshops will teach identification, nature photography techniques, conservation initiatives and about wildlife corridors. Hillsborough's Conservation and Environmental Lands Management Department worked with five regional chapters of the Audubon Society and local ecological groups like the Sierra Club and Florida Native Plant Society to put the festival together.

You can sign up for a single session or the whole weekend, and tickets range from $10 to $100 at floridabirdingandnaturefestival.org. Early bird savings are on until Sept. 16, and some of the more popular outings are already filling up.

 
Comments

Captainís Corner: With red snapper season ending, new targets emerge

With red snapper season coming to an end it is time to start focusing on other summertime species that will be making their way into our area. Offshore in depths of 120-150 feet, huge schools of small Spanish sardines are spending most of their time ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Early morning or late-night fishing your best bets during summer

We are deep into the dog days of summer, and it shows. Fishing early mornings and late evenings are your best bet for solid action. Tossing artificials around bait schools as the sun rises has produced some nice trout catches. Some fish have been in ...
Published: 07/18/18
Updated: 07/19/18

Captainís Corner: Finding fish on bottom structure of gulf

Finding fish on the bottom structure of the Gulf of Mexico this summer has been up and down for our spearfishermen. In late spring and early summer, the fish migrated to their normal areas, then they changed up. Grouper stayed in the shallow water lo...
Published: 07/18/18

Captainís Corner: Warm water brings algae blooms

Itís been a hot summer. This week water temps crept up to sweltering 90 degrees at the surface inshore. We saw 88 degrees on the surface temps offshore. The deeper the water, the cooler the water temps were found, especially toward the bottom. Wit...
Published: 07/16/18

Captainís Corner: Fishing docks and bridges at night is good way to beat summertime heat

The summertime heat and humidity are in full swing. Get out early to avoid the heat and the afternoon thunderstorms. Water temperatures are anywhere from 88 to 93 degrees. With water temperatures that high, youíll be able to spend only the first few ...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/15/18

Captainís Corner: Donít forget about the ponds for fishing

Saltwater gets all of our attention, but when driving to and from work or visiting a friend, keep an eye out for a pond that looks fishy. There are many productive ponds that have bass and panfish, some even have snook and baby tarpon, both of which ...
Published: 07/12/18
Updated: 07/14/18

Captainís Corner: Welcome to summertime kingfish season

We now have a summertime kingfish season. In the past weíve basically given up on kingfish at the end of May because the feeling was they had migrated to the northern gulf to spawn, not returning until mid-October. Weíve targeted kingfish this year i...
Published: 07/11/18
Updated: 07/12/18

Captainís Corner: Spanish mackerel push back into bay

Large Spanish mackerel have pushed into the bay as of the most recent full moon. Many of these pelagics are in the 6-pound range, and recent catches of 8-pound mackerel have not been uncommon. A medium action rod with a 4000 series reel spooled with ...
Published: 07/11/18

Captainís Corner: Pinellas south beaches strong for snook

Snook fishing along the south beaches of Pinellas County has been amazing. Large schools are hanging in the swash channels formed by wave motion right off the beach. The water clarity changes daily, depending on the wind direction. If the wind is out...
Published: 07/08/18
Updated: 07/13/18

Captainís Corner: Good tarpon action should last through August

For those who have not had their fill of tarpon fishing, thereís still plenty of it. A good flow of silverkings continues along our gulf beaches and in the bays and backwaters. Weíll be tugging on íem through next month. We battled tarpon last week j...
Published: 07/07/18
Updated: 07/08/18