When was the last time your timing was perfect? Perfect timing is chance. We usually marvel at our good luck rather than take credit for it.
Capt. John Heidemann and I recently had perfect timing in our efforts to monitor local bottlenose dolphins under federal permit. We found a quartet of dolphins just leaving a hidden cove. Their subsequent hunting skills showcased the ease with which they coordinate and switch styles to suit the moment.
Today’s quartet was three adult females (Bette, Liz and Rose) and Liz’s seven-month-old son. They traveled unseen to the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in our study area to catch a bite to eat. They moved with such majestic coordination, one wonders how they communicated, “Now we are going way over there to hunt in a foot of water.”
ST. PETERSBURG - The 24th annual Fishing Line Cleanup, organized by Tampa Bay Watch and Audubon Florida and sponsored by Sea World Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, will run Sept. 23 through Oct. 1.
Volunteers with boats are being recruited to independently remove tangled fishing line from mangroves and shorelines of specific bird habitat site assignment locations. Advanced registration on tampabaywatch.org allows captains and their volunteer crews to remove fishing line from protected bird colonies that otherwise are off limits to the public. This cleanup, scheduled in the fall when most birds are not nesting, effectively reduces the threat of entanglement for marine animals, including birds. Last year’s cleanup resulted in an estimated 22,400 feet of fishing line being removed from the environment by 55 volunteers at over 44 different sites.
Abandoned fishing line is a significant mortality factor in bird colonies. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists have identified fishing line as the No. 1 killer of adult brown pelicans.
LARGO - The eighth annual Angry Open golf tournament is Thursday, Oct. 26, at Bardmoor Golf & Tennis Club, 8001 Cumberland Road, Largo.
The event will have a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Cost is $125 which includes lunch, greens fees, cart, range balls, goodie bag, dinner and awards. There will be raffles and silent auction items will be available throughout the day. Proceeds will benefit the Philip A. Bryant Melanoma Foundation.
The foundation serves as a means of preserving the spirit and memory of Phil Bryant, the son, brother, nephew, cousin, and friend who passed away in 2006 from complications of melanoma. Phil's Foundation provides the public with innovations in prevention and treatment of melanoma through ongoing research and consultations with professionals in the field.
ST. PETERSBURG - Florida’s top lionfish hunters are scheduled to be revealed Saturday, Sept. 9, by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission in an event at 4 p.m., in North Straub Park.
The naming of the Lionfish King and Queen in the recreational category and the top Commercial Champion will conclude the Lionfish Challenge competition that began May 20 to diminish the growing numbers of the invasive, poison-finned creatures.
The 100 recreational and commercial participants in the contest have removed more than 12,300 lionfish so far, just over 6,000 recreationally and just under 6,000 commercially, the FWC said in a press release.
TALLAHASSEE - As part of its ongoing efforts to reduce conflicts with bears, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has released two new videos designed to help educate the public about how to safely coexist with bears in Florida.
The “Bear Behavior” video describes how a person should react if they encounter a bear in the wild, such as speaking in an assertive voice and backing away slowly. Bears are generally not aggressive toward people, but an encounter may become dangerous if a bear feels concerned or threatened. Knowing how to interpret bear behavior can help people react appropriately when they have a close encounter with a bear.
OLDSMAR - The third annual Pinellas Law Enforcement Officers - Fallen Officers Memorial golf tournament will be held 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at East Lake Woodlands Country Club, 1055 East Lake Woodlands Parkway, Oldsmar.
Proceeds from the tournament will only be available to families of Pinellas officers killed in the line of duty or a family member in dire financial straits because of a serious illness.
Anyone can play for $100 per golfer, which includes lunch, dinner, golf, range balls, cart, beer, wine, soda and water all day. The event also will include awards, chipping and putting contests, closest-to-the-pin prizes, a hole-in-one prize and a helicopter ball drop, the winner of which will receive $1,000. Tickets will be available for purchase for $10 each.
Although we won’t see temperatures come down for a while yet, signs of fall are already taking place out on the water.
Bait fish populations are exploding right now; pilchards, threadfins and pinfish are all easy to come by right now. It won’t take much of a cool-down to really get the fishing going. Flats fishing has been very tough the past few weeks. However, any day we should start to see those fall redfish schools show up. Snook are still holding strong on the beaches and catch and release fishing has been good. With the season opening Sept. 1, the beaches are great bet for targeting slot sized fish.
Recent spotted seatrout workshops can be viewed online by participating in an on-demand virtual workshop.
The virtual workshop details the current stock assessment of spotted seatrout and allows viewers to tell the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission how they would like to see the fishery managed in the future.
All the ingredients for another great fall fishing season are in place. With baitfish populations currently exploding both near shore and inshore, more and more migratory fish are making their way to our local waters.
Spanish mackerel fishing is coming on strong, both off the beach and in the backwaters. Finding areas that might be holding mackerel can be pretty obvious at times. Flocks of terns and diving pelicans can be seen up and down the Intracoastal Waterway as they work over bait schools. Casting white jigs or silver spoons will get the attention of not only the mackerel but a variety of other hard fighting fish.
Sea turtle nesting season is underway and hatchlings are being spotted on Pinellas beaches, but also in areas where they could be in danger, like busy roadways.
Pinellas County reminds beach residents and visitors in beach communities to keep conditions safe for sea turtles to hatch and make it safely into the Gulf by turning off their lights at night along the beaches.
Most of the county’s beach communities have ordinances in place prohibiting lighting that casts light towards the beach during turtle nesting season, which ends on Oct. 31.
Pinellas County Environmental Management confirmed a bloom of algae in Old Tampa Bay stretching from Safety Harbor to the south end of the Bayside Bridge after receiving reports of discolored water and strong odor.
The bloom of the organism Pyrodinium bahamense became visible the week of Aug. 7 and was confirmed with testing. Fish kills have also been reported in the area. Residents may experience an odor due to the algae bloom and fish kill.
Pyrodinium bahamense blooms typically occur in the summer months in Old Tampa Bay. It is not the organism known as Florida red tide, although blooms can have a reddish-brown tint.
REDINGTON BEACH - Athletes have to play. They have to participate and be involved. It is in their genes, it seems.
If athlete cannot participate in one sport they will turn to another, anything to get out there, to be active, and to take part.
Redington Beach resident Caroline Fish is a perfect example of an athlete who doesn’t give up. She could no longer participate in gymnastics so she turned to beach volleyball and by all accounts is special.
Fish is 13 and going into eighth grade at Indian Rocks Christian School. For several years she was a gymnast and advanced to Level 8 before injuries forced her to find another sport. She remembers that time well.
Calm conditions last week made it an easy choice to run offshore a few miles for some light tackle bottom fishing. The full moon had been bright for a few days and the tarpon bite had all but shut off. Luckily for us we have a tremendous bottom fishery in the near-shore gulf. Hogfish and mangrove snapper have been biting well five to 10 miles from shore. Live shrimp fished on light gear allows you to fool the wary snapper, which are schooled heavy over most ledges as well as the artificial reefs.
ST. PETERSBURG - The Coast Guard assisted SeaWorld's rescue team personnel and members from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Aug. 8 to successfully transport and release a female short-finned pilot whale 140 miles west of Clearwater.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joshua Appleby, a 175-foot Keeper Class Coastal Buoy Tender homeported at Coast Guard Sector St Petersburg departed Aug. 7 with the multi-agency rescue crews and pilot whale aboard.
East winds over the last several days have helped to return normalcy in our local fishing scene. Calm seas in the morning has allowed for some trips out in the Gulf for flounder, Spanish mackerel, mangrove snapper and gag grouper.
Nearshore structures within a mile from the beach are a great place to target for a multitude of species.
Right now you’ll find lots of surface activity at times especially first thing in the morning. Spanish mackerel, jacks and ladyfish are keyed in on the insurgence of small baitfish along the beach. Tossing out handfuls of live pilchards can lead to fast action around the boat. Use a long shank hook and a 40-pound leader when free-lining baits into the activity.