Dr. Emily Smith of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration demonstrates how to use a plankton net to students from Admiral Farragut Academy in conjunction with the BLUE Ocean Film Festival Nov. 10-13 in St. Petersburg. The students were participating in NOAA’s “Message in a Buoy” drifter program, which teaches students how to deploy, track and analyze data collected by a scientific ocean drifter.
CLEARWATER - The Florida Senior Games return to Pinellas County next month, as the 25th edition of the event will be held across 16 venues throughout the greater Clearwater area Dec. 3-11.
The games feature more than 1,000 male and female athletes ages 55 and older and serve as a showcase for seniors competing in a variety of sports, including billiards and bowling, powerlifting and pickleball. Winners from the Florida games will go on to compete in the National Senior Games, which will be held June 2-15, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama.
Winter low tides are upon us. Rarely will there be enough water even on the high mid-day tides for redfish and snook to get all the way back up to the mangroves. This can be feast or famine fishing. Clear skies and light winds will allow you to see fish cruising or laying in potholes from afar. However, conditions like this can make them extremely spooky.
Often, afternoon fishing will be your best option now that the water temps are holding at 70 degrees and below, especially those first couple of days following a cold front. Days that have the incoming tide beginning mid-morning are best. As the tide flows onto the shallows under the afternoon sun it doesn’t take long for the shallow water to warm enough for the fish to start feeding.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is moving forward with a groundbreaking attempt to achieve conservation success with dozens of imperiled species throughout the state.
At its recent meeting in St. Petersburg, the FWC approved the Imperiled Species Management Plan, a capstone on five years of work developing the plan, and over a decade of revising the listing process. In the plan, the details of conserving each of Florida’s 57 imperiled species are coupled with the broader approach of restoring habitats and addressing other large-scale issues essential to the long-term survival of multiple fish and wildlife species.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved several conservation measures that are consistent with federal rules and set a new state management boundary for hogfish at the November meeting in St. Petersburg.
“Hogfish is an economically important species that is popular with the diving and angling community,” said Chairman Brian Yablonski. “This was not an easy decision, but will help balance the species’ needs while still offering opportunities for anglers.”
Shortly after announcing the removal of more than 100,000 lionfish from Florida waters, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission presented a custom-made, mounted metal lionfish trophy to the FWC’s first-ever lionfish “king,” David Garrett, during its Nov. 17 meeting in St. Petersburg.
“Thanks to David and the tireless efforts of divers across the state, we are able to celebrate the removal of 111,000 lionfish so far this year; 37,000 of which were removed via recreational efforts,” said FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski. “This far exceeds our initial goal of 25,000 lionfish removed between May 2016 and May 2017 and we look forward to seeing what we can do to continue our battle against the invasive lionfish population.”
The gray triggerfish recreational season will remain closed Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2017, in Gulf state waters in response to an announcement that the 2016 federal gray triggerfish quota was exceeded and that federal waters will be closed through Dec. 31, 2017.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved this change at the Nov. 17 meeting in St. Petersburg. However, the commission will consider a potential limited gray triggerfish season for fall 2017 at an upcoming meeting in an effort to provide fishing opportunities to Gulf anglers.
As we leave October behind and welcome in November, we can only hope that the transition into fall and winter stays on the same course.
Regardless of what takes place from this point forward, the fishing has been nothing short of magical at times both inshore and offshore.
Another weak cold front pushed through the area over last weekend and with another making its way through by this weekend we can only assume that this will be a consistent pattern for the time being. Usually, I would say that it takes a few days for the fish to begin to actively feed again. However, with the water temperature sitting at a crisp 71 to 73 degrees, as long as the bait remains in the area, the fish are showing no signs of slowing down.
CLEARWATER - United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-1 Clearwater will offer its About Boating Safely class on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 12-13, 8 a.m., on the second floor of the Cheek-Powell Heart and Vascular Pavilion, on the Morton Plant Hospital Campus, 455 Pinellas St., Clearwater.
Unlike Internet courses, the ABS class is taught by certified USCGAUX instructors who can answer questions and share their experiences on local waters. Topics include Boating Emergencies, Know Your Boat, Getting Underway, Navigating, Operating Your Boat Safely and Legal Requirements. All graduates receive a Florida State Certification Card.
Saying goodbye to October wasn’t all that hard to do.
Sure, the weather has been great but the wind has been relentless.
As we move into November, things are already looking up - lighter winds this week and possibly the weekend will be a welcome sight when many local anglers compete in the annual King of the Beach kingfish tournament in Madeira Beach.
Conditions are right for kingfish. Water temperatures have been increasing slightly each day with the warm-up we’ve had. Now around 73 degrees, plenty of kingfish will be slowing down in our area as they migrate south following the bait.
LARGO - The Pinellas County Farm Bureau will host a Farm City Day celebration on Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Heritage Village, 11909 125th St. N., Largo.
This free, family-friendly event is the kickoff for Farm City Week, celebrated nationally each year during the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Farm City Week was created to educate citizens about agriculture and to enhance links between rural and urban dwellers.
CLEARWATER - Clearwater For Youth, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating youth sports and ensuring no child is turned away from sports due to financial concerns, will host a 5K race, run or walk on Nov. 12 at Coachman Park in Clearwater.
The CFY Sports Fan 5K, presented by Simpson Air, is scheduled to take place starting at 8 a.m. that Saturday. The race will start and finish at Coachman Park after runners go over the Clearwater Memorial Causeway and return to the park.