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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay

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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Tips For Successful Scalloping During Rainy Season on Florida’s Big Bend, 2015

by on Aug.17, 2015, under Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Ozello to Crystal River, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay, Steinhatchee

In the late summer, water visibility can hinder and slow the harvest of bay scallops.  This year, they’re plentiful along our big Bend coastline, but are often hard to see.

You may not catch thousands of scallops in murky water, but if you work hard, you'll come home with a nice dinner!

You may not catch thousands of scallops in murky water, but if you work hard, you’ll come home with a nice dinner!

We’ve had more than our fair share of rain on the Big Bend, too. Mornings have been calm, but with high humidity and high air temperatures, thunderstorms have been building up every afternoon. Usually they form on shore, but some can eventually drift off the coast in the late afternoon, depending on the strength of the east coast sea breezes. What that means for you, the scalloper, is that you need to take your trips early, watch the radar (use the Weather Bug app on your smartphone!), and try to get back to port by mid-afternoon at the latest.

Snorkeling for bay scallops is a fun, family adventure!

Snorkeling for bay scallops is a fun, family adventure!

Despite the amount of rainwater we’ve seen in ditches and pastures miles from the coast, the visibility of the Gulf waters isn’t as bad as I expected.   Scallopers north of Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach are doing well, especially off Piney Point and off Dekle Beach.  The only thing I can’t predict is just how long the visibility will be good. It usually takes several weeks for the leaching cycle to complete.

Don't let thunderstorms like this one come between you and your home port!

Don’t let thunderstorms like this one come between you and your home port!

 

 

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Charts, Navigation and Weather Seminar in Panama City Beach Feb. 28, 2015

by on Feb.24, 2015, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS, Destin and Ft. Walton Beach, Panama City, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay

MarineMax, Panama City Beach, February 28, 9:00am – 11:30am
Join MarineMax Panama City Beach and host Bob Fowler as we offer another free seminar at our 11th Annual Charts, Navigation and Weather Seminar. Learn valuable skills for navigating and forecasting when out on the water.

The seminar will feature special guests and multi-media presentations from:

  • Dr. Wil Hugli, Commander with Regional United States Power Squadrons
  • Mark Wool, Warning Coordination Meteorologist NWS Tallahassee for 16 years
  • Emma Weston with NOAA on gathering helpful information from buoys

Take advantage of this FREE seminar and receive a discount coupon from Half Hitch stores! Of course, half-time entertainment will be provided by host Bob Fowler, with a special vocal solo for the occasion.

For more information or to RSVP, visit MarineMax online or contact Cassie Anderson at cassie.anderson@marinemax.com, 850-708-1317.

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King Mackerel Seminar in Panama City Beach Sept. 13, 2014

by on Sep.08, 2014, under Destin and Ft. Walton Beach, Panama City, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay

Join MarineMax Panama City Beach and host, Bob Fowler, Saturday, September 13, for a free fishing seminar on “Catching King Mackerel “.
Tom Putnam, our resident fishing professional fishing instructor from Half Hitch, teaches trade secrets to catch these great game fish in our beautiful emerald waters. As always, our host, Bob Fowler will provide the “Half-Time” entertainment! This seminar is a great precursor to Treasure Island Marina’s 40th Annual King Mackerel Tournament held September 27. The fishing seminar includes: Techniques Methodology Proper Tackle
Visit MarineMax online or contact Cassie Anderson at cassie.anderson@marinemax.com or call 1-800-721-9528 for more information or to RSVP by Friday, September 12.
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Mexico Beach Fishing Tournaments, 2014

by on Jul.06, 2014, under Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay

18th Annual MBARA Kingfish Tournament

Saturday, August 23, 2014
Fishing begins at 5:00 am CST and ends at 5:00 pm CST.   Weigh-in is at the Mexico Beach Marina.

Get full details at www.mbara.org and you can pre-register on- line right now.

We have a new t-shirt, a new Miss Kingfish, a new tournament magazine, and some new door prizes and raffle items.

This year we have a fabulous 20 Gauge automatic Benelli Legacy shotgun for a raffle item.   This classic gun retails for $1795.   It is Model 10420, it has a AA Grade satin finish walnut stock, it weighs 5.6 pounds and has a 26 inch barrel.     Come see the gun at Bluewater Outrigger Store in Port St. Joe.  We also have a 30 Wide PENN International with a custom built rod, and a $1,000 gift certificate from Bluewater Outrigger in Port St. Joe.

Captains’ Party is on Friday evening, August 22, beginning at 5:00 pm with sausage and drinks.   Door prizes given out at 7:00 pm.  You can register that night if you desire.  Door prizes are out of this world.  You have to be present to win a door prize.

10th Annual Mexico Beach Marina Offshore Classic

This two day fishing tournament will be on July 25 and 26.  The Captains’ Party is on Thursday night.  Grand prizes in Wahoo, Kingfish, and King Mackerel.  Call Nate Odom at the Mexico Beach Marina or go to www.mexicobeachmarina.com where you can register as well.

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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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Another Big Grant Brings Super Reefs to Mexico Beach Gulf Waters

by on Jan.08, 2014, under Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay

From the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association:

The MBARA has received another grant for the year 2014 and will be putting down some new super reefs. On top of the first $60,000 grant from the FWC funded by US Fish and Wildlife Sportfish Restoration Fund and FWC, MBARA has been awarded a second $60,000 grant from FWC funded by the State Legislature. Additionally, MBARA is matching theses two grants with another $55,000 brining the project total to $175,000. We are hoping to deploy these 18 new reefs by late April 2014. These grants were made possible by MBARA matching funds raised by our annual Kingfish Tournament, donations, sponsors, membership dues, volunteers and local retailers selling MBARA merchandise. We can do more in years to come with futher support from everyone.

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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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Florida Panhandle Spring Tournaments List from Half-Hitch Tackle

by on Apr.05, 2013, under Destin and Ft. Walton Beach, Navarre, Pensacola and Perdido, Panama City, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay, Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay

Passed along by The Fishing Wire, sponsored by Berkley:

HALF HITCH COBIA TOURNAMENT
April 20, 2013
(850) 234-2621
www.halfhitch.com

PANHANDLE INSHORE FISHING CLUB – TOURNAMENT
April 13, 2013 – Hoggtown – John E. Cessna Park
(850) 585-6806
www.panhandleinshorefishingclub.com

DESTIN
EMERALD COAST SALTWATER SEMINAR SERIES (ECSSS)
April 17th, 2013 – King Mackerel
www.saltwater-events.com
HOG’S BREATH COBIA TOURNAMENT – 13TH ANNUAL
April 2, 2013
(850) 654-5962

CRAB CRUNCHER CLASSIC
April 11th – 14th, 2013
(850) 502-9733
www.cobiaworldchampionships.com

PORT ST. JOE
LING-DING TOURNAMENT
April 5th – 27th, 2013 (Every Fri, Sat & Sun)
www.mexicobeachmarina.com

NAVARRE
OUTCAST COBIA INVITATIONAL
April 17th – 20th, 2013
(850) 457-1450
www.outcastfishingandhunting.com

RED STRIPE FINAL FLING
April 26th – 28th, 2013
(850) 457-1450
www.outcastfishingandhunting.com

EMERALD COAST REDFISH TOURNAMENT SERIES
April 27, 2013 – Hopedale, LA
www.theredfishclub.com

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