The Thanksgiving Day cold front will change the complexion of the game for the next two months. Sixty-degree water temperatures will most likely be the norm until we warm up again mid-February.
Post-cold front fishing has been extremely tough; reminiscent of the punishing October fronts the past two years. The fish have been really slow to respond. It’s been a hard pill to swallow, considering how good the fishing just before the front.
Flotilla 11-3 MADEIRA BEACH - The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-3 plans monthly safe boating classes through the end of the year at its headquarters at 299 Boca Ciega Drive. Classes meet the first Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $40 per person. The next class meets Saturday, Dec. 7. Others classes are planned Jan. 4 and Feb. 1.
The classes are open to the public and recommended for anyone who owns a boat, a personal watercraft, anyone interested in purchasing a boat or anyone who wants to learn safe boating practices. Classes cover subjects such as navigating the waterways, operating a boat safely, legal regulations, what to do in an emergency, getting to know your boat and information you need to know before getting underway.
Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1988 must take a boating safety course and have a valid boating certificate and a photo ID while operating a vessel. Experienced U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary instructors teach all classes. For more information, call 391-5185.
Flotilla 11-1 CLEARWATER - The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-1 in Clearwater is offering the About Boating Safety class on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14 and 15, 8 a.m., at the Clearwater Police Department, 645 Pierce St.
CLEARWATER - U.S. Baseball Academy, which operates a national network of affordable hitting, pitching, catching, fielding and base-running camps for players in grades one through 12, recently announced the addition of Clearwater Christian College to its lineup for the coming winter and spring.
U.S. Baseball Academy’s Spring Training 2014 provides young players with advanced hitting, pitching, catching, fielding and base-running training programs, with instruction by area coaches at local facilities. Players who choose multiple skills qualify for discounted session prices.
Winter camps SEMINOLE - The Holland G. Mangum Recreation Complex, 9100 113th St. N., is now enrolling children in kindergarten through sixth grade for its winter camps. The camps will be held Monday, Dec. 23 through Friday, Dec. 27, and Monday, Dec. 30 through Friday, Jan. 3, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Participants will engage in games, sports, crafts, and a field trip. In addition to the regular camp program, Seminole Recreation is also offering a cooking camp during the first week of break and a science camp during the second week. Cooking camp will include food projects, nutritional games and a lunch field trip. Science camp will include experiments in earth science, physics and chemistry, as well as a museum field trip. Recreation staff teaches all camps.
Camp is closed for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Participants must have a valid recreation card.
Youth basketball league SEMINOLE - Registration for the city of Seminole Recreation Division’s annual youth basketball league will run through the last week of January. Registration is open for boys and girls 9- to 14-years-old. The season runs from January through May. Cost for the league is $80 for recreation members and $120 for nonmembers.
There also will be a noncompetitive instructional basketball program for children 7- and 8-years-old. The cost for this program is $40 for recreation members and $60 for nonmembers. The basketball program is also looking for volunteer basketball coaches. Call 397-6085 or visit www.myseminole.com for more information.
Seminole little league SEMINOLE - Seminole Little League, 12100 90th Ave., will begin registration for its upcoming spring season on the following dates:
CLEARWATER - Ruth Eckerd Hall announces the Holiday Hustle 5K Run through Clearwater on Saturday, Dec. 7, 8 a.m. Proceeds benefit the educational programs offered at the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
The race will start at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, and proceed onto the Ream Wilson Trail and back. Runners will enjoy a picturesque 5K course, and there will be plenty of holiday cheer, with Santa hats, reindeer antlers, elf hats, hot chocolate and breakfast treats. Also enjoy live caroling by some of Ruth Eckerd Hall’s finest young performing arts students. There will be accurate mile markers, aid stations with water and an assortment of refreshments.
In addition to the 5K run, there also will be a Reindeer Tot Trot and a Rudolph 400-yard dash for 7- to 10-year-olds and the Dasher and Prancer 100-yard dash for toddlers and kids up to age 6. Walkers are welcome for the 5K, and strollers are permitted as long as they start at the back of the run. The Rudolph Dash begins at 9:15 a.m. and the Dasher and Prancer Dash starts at 9:30 a.m.
CLEARWATER - The Clearwater Audubon Society has the following events planned for December.
- Monday, Dec. 2 - The monthly membership meeting and potluck is set, with the mix-and-mingle beginning at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting at 7 p.m., at 2750 Park Trail Lane. The monthly meetings are the first Monday of the month from October through May.
- Saturday, Dec. 7 - The monthly bird walk at Moccasin Lake Nature Park begins at 8 a.m., at 2750 Park Trail Lane. This gentle, 1.25-mile walk on the boardwalk and shell path goes along wetlands, two lakes and hardwood hammocks. There are resident warblers, songbirds, raptors, waders and usually limpkin. Call Madeline at 748-6885.
Make no mistake about it, winter without a doubt has arrived. After what has been the best fall in recent years, it’s hard to complain. A trifecta of weather systems will converge on us by mid-week producing rain and near gale-force winds, but perhaps worst of all will be the drop in water temperature. I think it’s safe to say we can say goodbye to seasonal bait stocks.
This is not all doom and gloom, however. Plenty of good fishing happens around here in the winter. Lucky for us we have one of the best trout populations anywhere in the gulf and if you’re like me you get pretty excited about the arrival of the gator trout to our shallows. Using an artificial lure, these large sea trout will take soft plastics and hard baits alike. For those wanting to start the day off with live bait, it’s most likely time for live shrimp.
Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Nov. 26 that Friday, Nov. 29 will be a license-free freshwater fishing day, and Saturday, Nov. 30 will be a saltwater license-free fishing day.
Scott said, “License-free fishing days serve as a great opportunity for families to enjoy the incredible fishing opportunities that Florida has to offer. After the Thanksgiving holiday, families will be able to head to the water with their visiting guests and experience some of the best fishing in the world.”