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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina

2017 bay scallop season in Dixie/Taylor counties set

by on Feb.11, 2017, under Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Horseshoe Beach, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Ozello to Crystal River, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay, Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina, Steinhatchee, Suwannee, Yankeetown and Waccasassa

The 2017 bay scallop season for Dixie County and parts of Taylor County will be open from June 16 through Sept. 10. This includes all state waters from the Suwannee River through the Fenholloway River. These changes are for 2017 only and are an opportunity to explore regionally-specific bay scallop seasons.

These changes were discussed at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) meeting on Feb. 8, where staff was directed to work with local community leaders on selecting potential 2017 season dates and to adopt changes by executive order.

At the Feb. 8 meeting, staff also updated the Commission on the status of bay scallops in St. Joseph Bay in Gulf County, and set a July 25 through Sept. 10 recreational bay scallop season off Gulf County, including all waters in St. Joseph Bay and those west of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County, through the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County.

A prolonged red tide event in late 2015 negatively impacted the scallop population in St. Joseph Bay, which led to modified local scallop regulations for 2016 that included a shortened season and reduced bag limits. FWC researchers conducted a scallop restoration project last year within St. Joseph Bay to help speed the recovery of the scallop population. These efforts have been going well and the scallop population has shown signs of improvement. Staff will conduct similar restoration efforts in 2017.

All other portions of the bay scallop harvest zone will be open from July 1 through Sept. 24. This includes all state waters from the Pasco-Hernando county line to the Suwannee River Alligator Pass Daybeacon 4 in Levy County and from north and west of Rock Island near the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County.

Bag and vessel limits throughout the entire bay scallop harvest zone will be 2 gallons whole bay scallops in shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person, with a maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat per vessel.

At the December 2017 Commission meeting, staff will review public feedback on these changes and make a recommendation for future management. To submit your feedback on bay scallop regulations, visit MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.

For more information on these changes, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings,” then click on the link below “Next Meeting.”

For information on bay scallop regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.”

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Kevin’s Redtrout Shootout, Wakulla County, May 30, 2015

by on May.12, 2015, under Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina

redtrout

It’s back! The Kevin’s Fine Outdoor Gear & Apparel Redtrout Shootout will take place May 30, 2015.

Cash rewards will be paid out to the top 10 teams weighing in the heaviest combined weight of (1) redfish and (1) spotted seatrout. With an entry fee of $75.00 per angler and a guaranteed cash purse, you and your crew will want to get registered today!

This unique inshore fishing tournament allows teams to launch their boat at any boat ramp, fish their favorite holes and then weigh their catch in at Jerry’s Bait & Tackle located at 664 Woodville Highway, Crawfordville, FL. Click here for map!

If all that sounds good wait till you hear the rest. We have everything from Banquets & Kick Off parties featuring live music. So be sure to take a few minutes and navigate the website to see what else we have in store for this years edition of the RedTrout Shootout.

Click here today to register!

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Four Florida Counties Open April 1, 2015 for Gag Grouper Harvest

by on Mar.25, 2015, under Horseshoe Beach, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina, Steinhatchee

From:  The Fishing Wire

State waters off the coast of Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties will open to recreational harvest of gag grouper starting April 1.

This regional season will remain open through June 30, with the first day of the closure being July 1. The season also includes all waters of Apalachicola Bay and Indian Pass, including those in Gulf County, and all waters of the Steinhatchee River, including those in Dixie County.

Gag grouper caught in state Gulf waters (from shore to 9 nautical miles out) off the four counties can be landed on the Gulf County side of Indian Pass and the Dixie County side of the Steinhatchee River, but may not be taken ashore in other areas that are closed to harvest. For example, a gag grouper caught April 1 in state waters off Jefferson County cannot be taken ashore in Levy County or parts of Dixie County outside of the Steinhatchee River. To see maps of these areas, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing and select “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Grouper.”

In the remainder of Gulf of Mexico state waters, anglers will be able to keep gag grouper from July 1 through Dec. 3, with the season closing Dec. 4. State waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties will not be open during the July-through-December season. Monroe County state waters follow Atlantic grouper rules.

The season in all federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico also opens July 1 but closes Dec. 3, with the last day of harvest being Dec. 2.

In the Gulf, the gag grouper recreational harvest minimum size limit is 22 inches total length and the bag limit is two gag grouper per person. Recreational anglers targeting groupers in the Gulf may harvest no more than four grouper per person per day (within this four-fish limit, anglers may keep only two gag grouper).

To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Grouper.”

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Scallops “In The Raw”….Try Ceviche This Season!

by on Jun.27, 2014, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay, Recipes and Food, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina, Steinhatchee

Scallop Ceviche is easy to make--and very tasty!Scallop Ceviche* is easy to make–and very tasty!

A sophisticated approach to eating freshly shucked scallops is to ‘cook’ them in a marinade and serve them as a salad.  Scallops prepared as a ceviche have been pickled, in a sense, and are delicious.

Scallop Ceviche

2 individual limits of shucked scallops (about 2 pounds or 2 pints), drained

For the marinade:

1-1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1 cup fresh lemon juice

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

4 small Serrano peppers, seeded and very finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 small red onion, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

fresh cilantro leaves,  for garnish

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a zipper-style bag.  You can refrigerate this marinade for a day of so, if necessary.  Two hours before serving, add the scallops and mix.  Drain away the excess juices and assemble the ceviche over salad greens or an avocado half.  Touch everything off with a garnish with cilantro leaves.  Dinner is served.

A meal of fresh bay scallops, no matter how they’re prepared, is perfect way to end the perfect day on the water with the family.

*Eating uncooked seafood has its risks.  Always consult a medical professional regarding your personal situation before eating uncooked seafood.

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Wakulla and Franklin County to Get More Artificial Reefs, Summer 2014

by on Jun.10, 2014, under Apalachicola, Carrabelle and St. George Island, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay, Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina

By: Charlene Cristobal
June 9, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Wakulla and Franklin county will be getting some new underwater digs next week. Thanks to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Organization for Artificial Reefs (OAR), limestone structures from Orange Beach, Alabama will be coming in to create new homes for fish and wildlife off the coast.

The structures, about 15 feet tall and weigh over 18 tons, are about to make a landing in the Saint George Sound. Artificial reefs have been around Florida since about 1964, and next week another will take position.

FWC Spokesperson Amanda Nalley says, “We have several artificial reefs across Florida. Out of the 35 counties that are on the coast, 34 of them have an artificial reef program. Artificial reefs are a great opportunity for both increased fishing opportunities and increased diving opportunities.”

The FWC and OAR will put 41 triangle shaped structures in the water to create new homes for fish and wildlife in the area. According to experts, the reefs will usually start seeing life move in as soon as 30 days after installation. But the FWC and OAR also say that the reefs won’t just attract the fish…

“Most of our reefs are an attractant for people that both want to fish on them, as well as dive on them,” Nalley says. “They definitely do help bring tourism dollars into the state, when people travel here and go offshore to go fish these reefs.”

According to OAR’s Chairman Alan Richardson, “Studies show that for every dollar in reef development fund that have been expended, roughly $130 or so come back to the community in the form of tourist dollars. We’re hoping that this will help the economies of Franklin and Wakulla county.”

The running total for this project is about $125,000.

This particular reef is important to a local family. The Camp family will be naming the reef after their son Dixon, who passed away five years ago.

The reef’s install is set for sometime the week of June 15, 2014.

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Gag Grouper Season Opens Soon! April 1-June 30 in state waters off of Franklin, Wakulla, Taylor and Jefferson counties

by on Mar.26, 2014, under Apalachicola, Carrabelle and St. George Island, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina, Steinhatchee

GPS Boundaries: Franklin-Taylor Regional Season

Location Longitude Latitude
Indian Pass 85 degrees 13.76 minutes west 29 degrees 40.71 minutes north
Offshore Indian Pass 85 degrees 13.71 minutes west 29 degrees 30.32 minutes north
Offshore Steinhatchee 83 degrees 34.52 minutes west 29 degrees 31.62 minutes north
Steinhatchee River 83 degrees 24.53 minutes west 29 degrees 40.03 minutes north

Gag Big Map Lat Long.

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Interested in Oysters? Head to Ouzt’s Too in Newport, FL

by on Jan.29, 2014, under Recipes and Food, Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina

I’m “old school” and only eat oysters in months whose spelling includes an “R”.  Yes, I realize we now have cleaner waters flowing over oyster beds these days and have excellent refrigeration technology, but I’m still not a fan of oysters taken from warm water.  Warmer conditions mean an increased danger of contamination, and oysters are filter feeders with the potential for concentrating harmful bacteria, like Vibrio vulnificus, in warm water. For that reason, I consider February to be the peak of oyster season here in Florida.

I don’t get many arguments when I say that the nation’s best oysters come from Wakulla and Franklin counties in Florida’s Big Bend.  Oystermen in places like Panacea and Apalachicola have carefully protected their “crops” for generations, and those “fields” produce some of the tastiest oysters available.  Salty and fat, these oysters are best savored either “raw” or with just a touch of horseradish or cocktail sauce.  And they’re certainly not the oysters you let slide down the back of your throat without chewing.   However, many folks like to eat oysters “dressed” and complex recipes like Oysters Rockefeller and Oysters Bienville headline menus from Florida to Texas.  And every so often, something simple just jumps up off the table, begging you to take a bite.

That’s the story behind the Oysters Supreme and the Oysters Nacho at Ouzts’ Too Oyster Bar, located on the west side of the St. Marks River in Newport.  This Wakulla County watering hole has been there for over three-quarters of a century, and is going strong, attracting an array of characters eager to chow down on fresh-shucked oysters and smoked local mullet.   Owner Dorthy White and her crew pride themselves in oysters shucked “as they’re ordered” and a relaxed atmosphere that includes live music, karaoke and even guitar pickin’ in the “toilet garden” out back.  And while oysters “on the half shell” headline the Outzs’ Too menu, they offer these two simple twists for patrons who enjoy their oysters warm or spicy.  These variations are easy to make and will certainly please even the least adventurous guest at your table or happy hour.

Oysters Supreme/Oysters Nacho

Arrange a dozen or so small or medium shucked oysters (Save the large ones to eat raw!) on a microwaveable plate or platter.  Take care to free the oyster from the bottom shell when you’re shucking as that makes eating easier.  Put about a half-teaspoon of butter on each oyster, and then add either a teaspoon of chopped cooked bacon or a slice of pickled jalapeño pepper.  Top with some shredded Cheddar cheese and microwave on high power for 2 to 4 minutes, depending on how well done you like your oysters.  Serve with cold beer—of course!

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Flats Fishing Clinics at St. Marks, Florida Feb. 8-9, 2014

by on Jan.10, 2014, under Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina

Seats are still available for the popular Flats Pro Seminars next month, but they are going fast and organizers expect another sell-out. Advance registration is required. Featuring six hours of comprehensive instruction by Captains Dave Lear and Chuck Simpson, along with Brett Shields, president of Shields Marina, this course teaches novice and veteran anglers alike how, when, where and why to catch more inshore game fish in Florida’s Apalachee Bay. It is geared toward small boat owners, kayakers and wading anglers and includes sessions on fish habitat and habits, diet, tackle, lures, baits, knot-tying, seasons, flats etiquette, boat rigging and basic maintenance and conservation. Attendees receive a gear bag with lures and Eagle Claw terminal tackle, plus more than $1,000 in door prizes will be awarded each day. Prizes include Polar Bear coolers, lure kits, tackle bags, accessories, Costa polarized sunglasses, rod and reel combos and Shimano reels.

The one-day Flats Pro Seminars will be held Saturday, February 8 and Sunday, February 9, 2014, at Shields Marina in St. Marks, Florida, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The cost is $85 per adult and includes a catered lunch. Junior anglers (ages 12-17) can attend for $25 if accompanied by an adult. Advance registration is required. For more information or to register, please visit www.captaindavelear.com

Capt. Dave Lear
Silver King Communications
1510 Dove Road
Tallahassee, FL 32317
850.320.2001
captaindavelear.com – See more at: http://www.thefishingwire.com/story/308356#sthash.eXmrw3Um.dpuf

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2013 Bay Scalloping Season to Open Early–June 29!

by on Jun.26, 2013, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Horseshoe Beach, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Ozello to Crystal River, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina, Steinhatchee, Suwannee

The FWC has just announced that the season for harvesting bay scallops has been extended and will now open on June 29, rather than July 1.  That means there will be an extra weekend to have a great time and bring home some good eats!

If you’re not a seasoned scalloper, you might want to read “Bay Scallops–The Gulf of Mexico’s Tastiest Treat“.  Just click HERE

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Big Bend Kayak Classic, May 3 & 4, 2013, Wakulla County

by on Apr.04, 2013, under Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina

This tournament will be headquartered at the 3Y Ranch in Crawfordville and anglers will be able to fish within a 50 mile radius of Wakulla County.  Your $75 entry fee (and your angling expertise) puts you in the running to win some great prizes. For complete registration information, go the the tournament website or call (850) 926-7145.

Camping is available at 3Y ranch (email skip@3Yranch.com for details).

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