Hundreds of the country's top collegiate sailors will compete on the waters of Tampa Bay this week and next as USF St. Petersburg, Eckerd College and the St. Petersburg Yacht Club host the 2013 College Sailing Spring National Championship.
"This is really a tremendous honor," said Allison Jolly, a former U.S. Olympic gold medalist who now coaches the USF women's team. "This event will showcase the very best in collegiate sailing."...
BOCA GRANDE — Anglers fishing the opening day of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series on Sunday will have the usual challenge of trying to keep their catches away from hammerhead and bull sharks.
But this year, they'll have an added challenge: dodging on-the-water protesters.
Save the Tarpon, a nonprofit group founded by a Boca Grande-area fishing guide and his wife, wants to put the tour and its popular fishing show out of business....
CLEARWATER BEACH — Jim Sirignano considers himself a pretty good athlete. A former college football player, he's the strong, confident type, always ready for any kind of physical challenge.
But when it comes to mental toughness, he said he's a lightweight compared to his brother Paul, who died 2 ½ years ago after a long battle with cancer.
"He had such courage and determination," Jim, 50, said. "He never gave up."...
ST. PETERSBURG — What makes a good fishing boat? Ask a dozen anglers and you'll get a dozen different answers.
Some go for speed. Others want a mellow ride. But nobody would argue that durability isn't important, especially if you plan to venture offshore in the fickle waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
"I think that is why this is the best-selling saltwater fishing boat in the country," Jim Naset said of Sea Hunt's BX 24. "It's got it all."...
Tarpon event to start 79th edition Saturday
The Suncoast Tarpon Roundup, now in its 79th year and one of the oldest fishing tournaments in the United States, kicks off at 6 a.m. Saturday. If you missed the captains' meeting, go by Mastry's Bait and Tackle (1700 4th St. S, St. Petersburg) to register. Download the registration form at suncoasttarpon roundup.org. Anglers can fish until 6 p.m. July 26. The Junior Fish-off is July 27 and the Regular Division Fish-off is Aug. 3. Follow the daily standings and get tournament information online or call (727) 346-4353. Results are usually posted by 8 p.m....
Fort De Soto Park at the southern tip of Pinellas County has been a playground for folks like me for 50 years now. I have been to the park probably at least 1,000 times since I moved to Florida in 1980.
When going through my checklist of great places to cast a line, Fort De Soto has it all: easy access, good facilities, clean water and most important, hungry fish.
You won't find a more family-friendly fishing destination in Florida, and with both shallow- and deep-water species to choose from, both the novice and experienced angler will find fishing challenging, yet rewarding....
Bay Area team cashes in on Tarpon event
The Tampa Bay-based Team Teasers — Rhett Dixon, Jack Hehenberger, Stewart Hehenberger, Kyle Hehenberger, Henry Dixon and Phil Pica — won first place and $10,575 by releasing four tarpon during the Ding Darling & Doc Ford's Tarpon Tournament on Saturday. Though the wind whipped the waters of San Carlos Bay and the Caloosahatchee River, 45 teams fished called in their catches and sent photos as proof, thus avoiding the stress associated with bringing fish in for a weigh-in....
You know the fishing is good when you start complaining about the quality, not the quantity, of the fish you catch.
"Now that one is a little bigger," Tyson Wallerstein said as the guide unhooked a 28-inch redfish. "This is what we are looking for."
Thirty years ago, when I first started fishing bay area waters, I was happy just to catch a redfish. I didn't care how big it was. But in the early 1980s, the reds fishery was in pretty bad shape. The stocks had been overfished, and the state had to step in and close things down. But anglers rallied, and groups such as the Florida Conservation Association (now the Coastal Conservation Association) helped pass sound management measures that helped rebuild the fishery....
plantings for Bahia Beach require help
Tampa Bay Watch needs 100 volunteers to plant salt marsh at Bahia Beach in Ruskin from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. This work day is family-friendly and open to environmentally conscious people of all ages. The 144-acre parcel, which will be restored to its natural state, was purchased by Hillsborough County through the Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program. The new marsh will provide habitat for fish, birds and mammals. To sign up, go to tampabaywatch.org or call (727) 867-8166....
ST. PETERSBURG — Former NFL receiver and Dancing With the Stars winner Hines Ward was glad to see the swim leg of Sunday's St. Anthony's Triathlon shortened from 1.5 kilometers to 750 yards because of choppy waters.
"Compared to my first triathlon, this swim felt great," said Ward, who played 14 seasons with the Steelers. "I was ready. I've been training."
St. Anthony's was Ward's first Olympic-distance triathlon. He did a spring triathlon last month in San Diego but struggled in the water....
ST. PETERSBURG — Jan Frodeno, the gold medal winner from the 2008 Olympics, came from behind on Sunday to win the 30th annual St. Anthony's Triathlon in 1 hour, 45 minutes, seven seconds.
"I think that last piece of cheesecake really helped me on the run," the 32-year-old German said. "I needed that little bit of extra energy."
Frodeno fought off the heat, humidity and a late surge by Ivan Vassiliev, a 29-year-old from Russia who beat Frodeno out of the water but lost his lead during the 40-kilometer bike ride....
ST. PETERSBURG — Triathlete Lisa Norden, the silver medalist at the 2012 Olympic Games, wants to have a little fun at Sunday's St. Anthony's Triathlon.
"Last year was very intense for me," the 28-year-old Swede said. "Everything went my way. But now I am looking to do something a little different."
Norden, who lost the gold in London to Nicola Spirig in a photo finish, won a Half Ironman two weeks ago in the Canary Islands. She's looking at the flat, Olympic-distance course along St. Petersburg's waterfront as an early season tuneup....
Ask any veteran triathlete and they will tell you that the hardest part of this multi-sport endurance event is not the swim, bike or run, but simply making it to the starting line.
"It can wear on you," confessed Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Jack Helinger, who on Sunday hopes to complete his 30th consecutive St. Anthony's Triathlon. "Some years have been better than others."
According to race officials, Helinger is the only person to have a perfect record when it comes to triathlon participation....
Tom Verdensky and Jim Naset love playing hooky. It doesn't take much to get these Old Salts to call in sick.
"I just need one fish. …" I told Verdensky, president of the local Old Salt Fishing Foundation club. "I just need enough to smoke."
Every spring, my mother-in-law starts bugging me about fish spread. Grandma, or "GMA" as she is known in our texting circles, is a fish-eating machine....
Local wins Rugged swim
Brandon's Chelsea Nauta, 24, won last weekend's Tampa Bay Marathon Swim, covering the 24 miles between the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the Courtney Campbell Causeway in Tampa in 10 hours, 7 minutes in what organizers said was one of the roughest races on record. Four minutes behind was Olympic gold medalist Brooke Bennett, 32. Six from the field of 18 completed the race. The men's champ was St. Petersburg's Chris Burke, 51, finishing in 12:16 and ahead of Clearwater's Mark Smitherman, 55 (12:33)....