I'm a guy's guy and have to admit, sometimes I have trouble relating to my daughter.
She likes to camp, fish and surf, and do all the things that her big brother and I do, but I could tell she was looking for something to call her own.
Then one day a few months ago this smart, funny 11-year-old came home from school excited about a program called Girls on the Run....
The man on the phone said he hadn't fished a king mackerel tournament in nearly a decade. He was just your average angler, a center-console, single-engine kind of guy.
"He said he stopped fishing the big money kingfish tournaments because they just weren't fair," explained Jill Foraker, secretary for the Old Salt Fishing Foundation. "He said the guys in the big boats always won."...
ST. PETERSBURG — All Cameron Dye needed was open road. The 31-year-old from Colorado knew that if he could build a good lead on the bike leg of Sunday's St. Anthony's Triathlon, it would take a real speedster to catch him during the run.
"I grew up a swimmer," the 2010 champion said. "But the bike is where I do my thing."
Dye pulled away from the pack on the 40-kilometer bike leg and won his second St. Anthony's, this one in 1 hour, 47 minutes, 59 seconds....
ST. PETERSBURG — Robbie Deckard, a 19-year-old triathlon pro from Indiana who got his start at St. Anthony's in 2010, finished 16th in a very competitive men's field Sunday.
"I am not used to racing this (Olympic) distance," said Deckard, a freshman at the University of Colorado Boulder. An Olympic-distance triathlon has a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 40K bike leg and a 10K run.
"And it was hard running in this heat," he said....
Tim Whitfield was in no rush. The veteran fishing guide knew he'd have to wait on the tide. Some things in life you just can't rush and a good snook bite is one of them. • "Hopefully, we've timed it just right," said the Wesley Chapel-based fishing guide. "I know these fish are hungry. The question is will they eat what we have to offer." • Whitfield grew up fishing farm ponds for largemouth bass. Like any good freshwater angler will tell you, when it comes to catching a big bucketmouth, you've got to work the structure. • Big bass love potholes, weed lines and sunken trees. In fact, all predators, from lions to lionfish, use some type of structure to ambush their prey. The legendary linesider is no different. • "Snook act a lot like bass," said the 42-year-old Florida native. "You can use the same tactics and tackle for both species."...
John Deckard remembers the day his 14-year-old All-Star baseball playing son came home and announced that he was abandoning the sport he loved.
"He said he was tired of hearing his teammates whine and complain in the dugout," Deckard recalled. "He said he wanted it all to be on him."
The youngster from Indiana had been watching the Tour de France on television. He liked cycling because, win or lose, it was all up to the individual....
Paddle event set at fort de soto
The Fort De Soto Paddle Roundup and Shore Explore offers standup and prone races for paddlers of all skill levels today through Sunday. The family-friendly event features a 10-mile race for elite athletes around Mullet Key and a 3-mile recreational race. Other activities include a shorebird and turtle workshop, paddlecraft demos, clinics and "eco/shore" activities for the kids. See a variety of watercraft, including surf skis and outrigger canoes. Paddlers can gauge their fitness level in the PaddleFit Challenge, a hybrid event that tests power, strength, balance, endurance and paddling skills. And check out the H2YO SUP Yoga with Julie Roach. More information is on Facebook and at paddleroundup.com. ...
It wasn't the swimming, biking or running that drew Tom Kennedy to triathlons back in the early '80s. It was the camaraderie.
"We all shared a common interest," said Kennedy, a 57-year-old attorney from Clearwater. "It's always great to get together with people who like to do the same things you like to do."
But as triathlons grew in popularity, and became more of a business than a sport, something was lost, Kennedy said....
TREASURE ISLAND — Today's tournament angler is faster, smarter and can run longer, deeper in search of fish.
"Technology makes a difference," said Brian Hasson of the kingfish team Kindred Spear-It. "We can do more than ever before in a shorter period of time."
The 35-year-old St. Petersburg resident and his teammates traveled more than 120 miles southwest of Tampa Bay Saturday morning to bring home the 61-pound winning fish in the Suncoast Kingfish Classic, one of the oldest king mackerel tournaments on the Gulf Coast....
INVERNESS — My kids said that I must be getting old when I told them that I'd be exploring the Withlacoochee by airboat instead of my usual canoe or kayak.
"I once paddled all the way from the Green Swamp to the Gulf of Mexico," I told the airboat captain, hoping to establish some river cred. "It took three days."
Steve Brown looked at me like I had just confessed to eating road kill. "Why?" he asked. "Nobody had a real boat?"...
spring tourneys will begin with kingfish classic
The kings are on the beach, signaling the start of the spring tournament season. First up is the Suncoast Kingfish Classic with a $10,000 prize for heaviest king mackerel on April 11 at John's Pass Marina on Treasure Island. Sign up for this Southern Kingfish Association's Division Six competition at suncoastkingfishclassic.com. The Wild West tournament series opens April 18 at John's Pass Village in Madeira Beach with more than $100,000 in cash and prizes. The four-tournament series continues May 16, with fall events scheduled for Oct. 10 and Oct. 17. Go to anglerarmory.com to learn more....
ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Yarrington was worried about the water temperature.
"You should have been here last week," the angler declared. "They were biting like crazy."
Pompano, Yarrington's favorite prey, are not difficult to catch. But they can be hard to find. Popular with both recreational and commercial fishermen, this member of the jack family can be caught in the bay and off local beaches....
gag grouper regional season close to opening
Residents of the west-central Florida coast in Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson or Taylor county can start fishing for gag grouper on Wednesday. This regional season will be open through June 30. Gag grouper anglers can also fish the waters of Apalachicola Bay and Indian Pass. Gags caught in state waters (out to 9 nautical miles offshore) can be landed on the Gulf County side of Indian Pass and the Dixie County side of the Steinhatchee River, but may not be taken ashore in other closed areas. Local anglers must wait until July 1 to catch and keep gags. The season will be open through Dec. 3. The season in all federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico opens July 1 and closes Dec. 3. Gag grouper must be 22 inches long. The bag limit is two per person....
WEBSTER — Rick Stout watches over his largemouth bass fingerlings like a farmer nurtures a field of corn.
"It won't be long now," he said, looking over a tankful of fish. "We'll produce more than a million fish a year. Who knows, maybe you will catch one of them someday."
The Florida Bass Conservation Center, located off State Road 471 in the Green Swamp, doesn't look like much from the outside. But inside the 39,000 square foot facility sit six 80-foot concrete raceways, each filled with 13,000 gallons of fresh water and more fish than you can count....
wanted: help in researching horseshoe crabs
Every spring, horseshoe crabs gather on beaches throughout the state to mate. Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission need the public's help to pinpoint places where horseshoe crabs spawn.
Beachgoers are likely to have the most luck seeing mating horseshoe crabs at high tide, just before, during or after a full or new moon. The conditions around the new or full moon (today and April 4) will create an ideal opportunity to view the spawning behavior. Males cling to the shells of the larger females as the females head up onto the beach to lay eggs....