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Outdoors & Recreation
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The fig leaf is an artistic device to hide the private parts of otherwise-naked individuals who lounge about in oil paintings and Biblical scenes. The fig leaf reflects the cultural attitude that exposing one’s private parts is indelicate.

Yet, fieldwork with free-ranging animals includes trying very hard to peer around those proverbial fig leaves to build a picture of the population by the numbers of males and females in it.

This is easy for humans. When you first meet someone, you automatically notice their gender and gauge their age. This basic information is essential because it tells you how to behave, whether to the young mother next door or beloved monsignor at church. This is easy.
 ... Read More 
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Although it’s only a very small sample at this point, judging by the last few days of warmer than average temperatures March is definitely feeling much better.

It might seem a bit early to be talking about kingfish and other pelagics, but the action is close as water temperatures have been on a slow and steady rise following the major cold front of two weeks ago.

Being prepared for the arrival of kingfish will give you the confidence needed to hopefully cash in on this great game fish. Since kingfish can often weigh 20 pounds or more, chances are the rods and reels needed to catch them have been sitting unused somewhere in your collection. Rod guides should be checked for nicks that could weaken and eventually cut the line, reels should be re-spooled and drags greased if needed.
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CLEARWATER - Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Newton did so well in her Ironman competitions in 2014, she won a coveted designation reserved only for those who rank in the top ten percent of their age group in the world.

She is an Ironman All World Athlete.

Newton, 48, is ranked 290th in the world, and 151st in the U.S., in a category for women from 45 to 49 years old. The rankings are based on a point system tied to how well an athlete did compared with the winner of a particular event in his or her age group.
 ... Read More 
NORTH REDINGTON BEACH - Mike Anderson, supervisor of sea turtle aquatic biology at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, informed members of the Barrier Islands Government Council Feb. 25 that CMA would be hosting an informational program on sea turtles.

Karen Shudes, a sea turtle lighting specialist with the Sea Turtle Conservancy, will present the free program May 21, 6 p.m., in CMA’s Bright House Theater located at 249 Windward Passage.

The presentation is one in a series of 11 planned as part of a speakers series this year at CMA that deals with marine life.

“Since attending one of your BIG-C meetings last year and providing a presentation on sea turtles and lighting, I was thinking that some of your group may like to attend the talk we have scheduled for sea turtle lighting in May,” Anderson said in an email.
 ... Read More 
ST. PETERSBURG - Citizens can dig up adventure at Weedon Island Preserve during Florida Archaeology Month in March.

The preserve offers archaeology programs for citizens of all ages to learn more about the history of the state and why it is important to preserve important eras that showcase Florida’s rich cultural heritage.

An archaeology lecture on the “Early Safety Harbor Communities at Weedon Island Preserve” is scheduled on Thursday, March 19, from 7 to 8 p.m. Dr. Christina Perry Sampson, will present preliminary results of recent fieldwork.

Recent excavations at Weedon Island have uncovered substantial early Safety Harbor-period deposits, dating from A.D.1000-1200. There is evidence that during the Safety Harbor period, people in the Tampa Bay area reorganized themselves socially and politically. Platform mounds were constructed that may have helped to structure new forms of interaction between and across communities.
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The recreational harvest season for snook reopened March 1 and continues through April 30. The areas open are Gulf of Mexico state and adjacent federal waters, including Everglades National Park and Monroe County.

In the Gulf, anglers are allowed to keep one snook per day that is 28 to 33 inches in length, measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed while the fish is lying on its side.

A snook permit is required to keep snook, along with a saltwater fishing license unless exempt from the license requirements. Only hook-and-line gear is allowed when targeting or harvesting snook.

It is illegal to buy or sell snook.
 ... Read More 
MADEIRA BEACH - Daily fitness classes are offered including yoga, boomer fitness, and express cardio at the new Madeira Beach Recreation Center on Municipal Drive.

“We are pleased to be offering new services to our city and the surrounding communities,” said Brittany Riefler, director of Leisure Services.

Classes will be held in the recreation center as well as on the beach. Programming is available for all ages and fitness levels from Zumba Kids to Silver Sneakers.

The city of Madeira Beach Parks and Recreation strives to enrich the lives of residents and visitors with welcoming parks and recreation facilities offering affordable, diverse recreation and activities for people of all ages to play, learn, build community and be good stewards of our environment.
 ... Read More 
Thursday, February 27
TARPON SPRINGS -- The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Tarpon Springs Flotilla is hosting an About Boating Safely course Saturday, March 14, 9 a.m. to noon, at the Turtle Cove Marina, 847 Roosevelt Blvd..

The course, designed for experienced and novice boaters, will cover topics including boating emergencies, knowing your boat, getting underway, navigating the waterways, operating your boat safely and legal requirements.

The $40 fee covers all printed materials, including a Florida Boater Safety Certification Card given to anyone who successfully completes the course. Any participants interested in becoming a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-9 can have their course fees credited toward their annual dues. For more information, call Tom Tormey at 938-8568 or email him at ttormey1@hotmail.com.
 ... Read More 
DUNEDIN - The Dunedin Parks & Recreation Department is offering monthly co-ed basketball clinics. During March and April, youth ages 8 to 12 years old can attend clinics from 6-7 p.m. to learn the skills and get ready for league play.

The coach will focus on developing skills and knowledge of the game, including dribbling, lay-ups, zone defense and sportsmanship. End each night with a scrimmage game to put your new skills in action.

The clinic cost is $35 with Recreation ID cards and $52 without ID card monthly. Participants who have a valid Recreation ID card from the cities of Tarpon Springs, Safety Harbor or Oldsmar are eligible to pay recreation card fee. For more information, call 738-2920.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, February 25
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With any luck we won’t see another cold front like the one that we had come through early last week.

It was a dangerous one indeed, causing inshore water temperatures to plummet a good 10 degrees for over a 36-hour period.

However, as we warmed up quickly it appears that the fish were spared from a potential die off.

Redfish are a resilient fish, and as we began to warm up last week they began to feed again. The best bite lately has been the afternoon high tides. By about 2-3 p.m., the water has warmed up a good five degrees since sunrise. Typically, the schools are more easily targeted when the water is high. This seems to give the fish a sense of comfort and even if they are spooked, they’ll often come right back to where they were hanging out.
 ... Read More 
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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