LARGO - Logan Hofstetter, 11, like any competitive surfer, pays close attention to weather patterns, winds and storms. Catching waves big enough for him to surf can be a bit of a challenge - based, as he is from Largo, closest to the often-lackluster Gulf waves.
But it’s nothing Logan’s focused self-motivation can’t handle. He and his father, Mike Hofstetter, travel to prime surfing spots on both Florida’s west and east coasts to catch the best waves. They’re usually trekking across the state on the weekends.
“It’s nothing for me to ... get 20 texts: ‘The wind’s blowing.’ ‘When are we going?’ ‘Where are we going?’ ‘The truck’s loaded.’ ‘Let’s go.’ ‘I don’t care about your meeting.’ ‘Let’s move,’ ” Mike explained with a smile. “Things of that nature is what we deal with.”
TARPON SPRINGS - It was a busy Saturday morning June 28 at the Anclote River Park, just across the Pasco County line, when Coast Guard Auxiliary inspectors arrived to conduct free boat inspections. The inspections serve not only to educate the boat owners about what they need for the safe operation of their vessels, but it could also help them avoid a fine if they are stopped by the authorities while on the water.
“Gee, thanks, Dad. That’s swell,” some teenage Biff might have replied as his father handed him the car keys so his son could drive to the big dance.
We do not use terms like gee or swell much anymore. That innocence has long given way to an Instagram page filled with pictures of yourself (selfies) and twerking on the dance floor at clubs where showing the online world that you are at the party is as important as being at the party itself.
It was certainly great to get back out offshore this past week.
Rainy conditions and an on-shore wind flow had it shut down outside of the pass. Mangrove snapper, Spanish mackerel and gag grouper are within reach of most boaters when the weather cooperates. Inshore waters are peaking around 87 degrees mid day, which can make backwater fishing tough, to say the least.
Prior to our latest stint of west winds, things were starting to look up around here, especially in the bait department. Loads of small pilchards could be found right up tight to the beach, where they could be cast netted with a quarter-inch mesh cast net. These baits in combination with some trap caught pinfish along with a couple of frozen chum blocks were the right combination for near-shore mangrove snapper and gag grouper fishing.
Coming off a pretty good week weatherwise, despite dodging the occasional thunderstorm, it was really nice to get back out offshore a few miles. Speaking of rain, these pop-up storms that occur this time of year are no-joke. They’re a fact of life and if you want to get outdoors at all this time of year you’re going to have to deal with them. Just make sure you give them plenty of respect.