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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Yankeetown and Waccasassa

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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Snook On The Upper Big Bend? You Bet–Provided We Have a Warm Winter!

by on Aug.28, 2015, under Cedar Key, Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, Ozello to Crystal River, Suwannee, Yankeetown and Waccasassa

Warmer winters mean the habitat for snook has moved north, into Levy and Dixie counties.

Warmer winters mean the habitat for snook has moved north, into Levy and Dixie counties.

Snook are probably the most fun and abundant gamefish in Florida.  They run, they jump, and if you want to keep one for dinner during open season, they’re delicious to eat.  However, they’re also highly susceptible to cold water temperatures and are some of the first fish to be found floating dead after a hard winter freeze.  Warm winters in recent years have allowed snook to migrate north from Pinellas and Pasco counties (Tarpon Springs’ Anclote Key was the northern edge of their range for many years.)  Now, with our recent warm winters, snook are regularly being caught well north of the Withlacoochee River in Waccasassa Bay and even as far north at Suwannee’s Salt Creek.

snook-1

A Yankeetown snook.

Snook are ambush feeders, and prey on small fish (mullet, pinfish and sardines) as well as crustaceans (crabs and shrimp).  They will also readily attack artificial lures like the D.O.A. shrimp or slow-sinking MirrOlure Catch 2000s.  Rigging is important, with stealthy knots (Homer Rhode or Uni Knots work well) and tough, invisible fluorocarbon leader (24-30#) a “must”.  An interesting fact about snook is that they are picky about their prey.  If you’re using live fish for bait, don’t rig them like you do for redfish (through the back or tail) but hook them through their lips.  Snook attack from behind!    And they prefer fast-moving water, especially when it’s washing baits off shallow flats or bars into deeper troughs.

In 2015/2016, Gulf Snook “season” runs from September 1, 2015 to February 29, 2016 and from May 1 to August 31, 2016.  While you’re allowed to keep one snook per day, anglers are urged to have fun and release fish they catch.  Just remember–one cold winter and the snook will again head south and away from our Big Bend waters!

Complete information about snook and other saltwater gamefish species can be found at www.myfwc.com/fishing

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2014 Steinhatchee Community Fishing Tournament, March 15

by on Mar.10, 2014, under Cedar Key, Horseshoe Beach, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Steinhatchee, Suwannee, Yankeetown and Waccasassa

The 13th Annual Steinhatchee Community Fishing Tournament is coming up on March 15.  With a relatively inexpensive $30 entry fee, this popular tournament attracts anglers from all over Florida’s Big Bend and Nature Coast.  The event is co-sponsored by the Taylor County Tourism Council and the Steinhatchee Community Projects Board.

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Marine Flea Market, Mangrove Creek Outfitters, Chiefland, March 22, 2014

by on Feb.17, 2014, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS, Cedar Key, Suwannee, Yankeetown and Waccasassa

Mangrove Creek Outfitters in Chiefland is planning another “Marine Flea Market” event on March 22.  There will be lots of used fishing, boating and related outdoor gear on the tables of folks who have been doing some spring-cleaning.    The last Flea Market was a huge success, with deals for all the fishermen in your life!

If you’re interested in selling, the charge is only 20 bucks. Call Robert or Kathy at (352) 493-0071 for details. Otherwise, just go by, say “hi”- and then buy!

Mangrove Creek Outfitters is located at 1109 N. Young Blvd., just north of the US19/US129 intersection, across from Hardee’s and next to Pizza Hut.

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Captain’s Cove Outfitters–Tackle and Bait in Inglis, FL

by on Feb.13, 2014, under CAPT. TOMMY'S BOOK SIGNINGS, TALKS, TRAVELS, Yankeetown and Waccasassa

I recently visited with Jim and Nicole at Captain’s Cove Outfitters on SR40 in Inglis.  If you’re headed to Yankeetown, you’ll find the store just off US19, marked by the BIG ice plant out front.  And in addition to some excellent advice on the local bite, you’ll find great prices on tackle and supplies.  They stock Engel coolers, Costa Sunglasses, Star Rods, Shimano Reels, Penn Reels, Power Pro Line and a big selection of MirrOlures, Live Target Lures, Rockport Rattlers and Unfair Lures.  And don’t forget the ice!  Be sure to stop by and visit the next time you’re “in their neighborhood”.

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Headed To Yankeetown? Be Sure To Stop at Captain’s Cove Outfitters in Inglis for Tackle, Bait, and Ice!

by on Oct.14, 2013, under Yankeetown and Waccasassa

Captain’s Cove Outfitters, located just off US19/98 on SR40 in Inglis (in southern Levy County) is the perfect stopping place for anglers headed to Yankeetown, Lake Rousseau or points south.  They have an extensive tackle selection, live bait (pinfish and shrimp), fresh bait (mullet) and frozen bait.  They also have a big 24-hour self-service ice machine capable of filling every cooler you own!

Not only does Captain’s Cove have everything you need for a a great day on the water, but they also have great knowledge of the local waters and can give you up-to-date fishing reports.

Open Monday thru Saturday 5:45 AM to 6:00 PM
Sunday 5:45 AM to 5:00 PM

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NOAA’s latest mobile app provides free nautical charts for recreational boating–Public is invited to try beta version of ‘MyNOAACharts’

by on May.20, 2013, under Apalachicola, Carrabelle and St. George Island, Cedar Key, FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, Horseshoe Beach, Steinhatchee, Suwannee, Yankeetown and Waccasassa


NOAA’s latest mobile app provides free nautical charts for recreational boating
Public is invited to try beta version of ‘MyNOAACharts’

As recreational boaters gear up for a summer of fun on coastal waters and the Great Lakes, NOAA is testing MyNOAACharts, a new mobile application that allows users to download NOAA nautical charts and editions of the U.S. Coast Pilot. The app, which is only designed for Android tablets for the testing period, will be released today.

MyNOAACharts, which can be used on land and on the water, has GPS built-in capabilities that allow users find their positions on a NOAA nautical chart. They can zoom in any specific location with a touch of the finger, or zoom out for the big picture to plan their day of sailing. The Coast Pilot has “geotagged” some of the major locations–embedding geographical information, such as latitude and longitude, directly into the chart so it is readable in the app–and provides links to appropriate federal regulations. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play™ app store.

“Easy and workable access to nautical charts is important for boating safety,” said Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of NOAA Office of Coast Survey. “I’ve seen a popular t-shirt that has a ‘definition’ of a nautical chart splayed across the front: ‘chärt, n: a nautical map that shows you what you just hit.’ As creative as that is, a boating accident can kill. Keeping a nautical chart on hand – to avoid hitting something – can save lives.”

The beta test for MyNOAACharts will expire this Labor Day, Sept. 2. Coast Survey will then evaluate usage and user feedback to decide whether to release a finished version of the app.
The NOAA Charts for Florida’s Big Bend and Natural North Florida are:

11404 40,000 Intracoastal Waterway Carrabelle to Apalachicola Bay;Carrabelle River
11405 80,000 Apalachee Bay
11406 15,000 St.Marks River and approaches
11407 80,000 Horseshoe Point to Rock Islands;Horseshoe Beach
11408 80,000 Crystal River to Horseshoe Point;Suwannee River;Cedar Keys

“Expanding the app across a multitude of platforms, ensuring easy accessibility to over a thousand charts and nearly 5,000 pages of U.S. Coast Pilot, will take considerable resources,” Glang said. “We can do it if the boating community likes the app. We truly want the users to let us know if the app meets their needs.”

Boaters without an Android tablet should not despair. The Office of Coast Survey provides free BookletCharts, which are 8 ½” x 11″ PDF versions of NOAA nautical charts that can be downloaded and printed at home. The U.S. Coast Pilot is also available in a free PDF version. Those products, and information for purchasing other nautical products, are available at www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov.

Important notice for commercial mariners: The mobile app MyNOAACharts and the BookletCharts do not fulfill chart carriage requirements for regulated commercial vessels under Titles 33 and 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, originally formed by President Thomas Jefferson in 1807, is the nation’s nautical chartmaker. Its hydrographers survey the coastal seafloor, respond to maritime emergencies and search for underwater dangers to navigation. Join Coast Survey on Twitter and check out the NOAA Coast Survey Blog for more in-depth coverage of surveying and charting.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Twitter, Facebook and our other social media channels. Visit our news release archive.

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Shrimp Landing Restaurant Opens in Inglis/Yankeetown

by on Mar.24, 2013, under Yankeetown and Waccasassa

If you’re traveling north on US19/98 and just crossing the ‘border’ into Levy County and “Natural North Florida”, the first town you’ll hit is Inglis.  Just north of the Withlacoochee River and described by many as the “gateway to Yankeetown”, Inglis is your last chance for a square meal before you get to Chiefland, some 40 miles up the road.  In the past, and during its heyday, Inglis had a few “meat and three” restaurants, namely the Port Inglis Restaurant and Gobblers.  Alas, both have closed, as is the case with the more upscale eatery, December’s*.  Nevertheless, the old “PI” has been reborn as the Shrimp Landing Restaurant, and is a good place to “fill up” in anticipation of your trip north (or to fish at Yankeetown, Waccasassa, Cedar Key or Lake Rousseau)

Don’t think that Shrimp Landing only serves shrimp.  Of course, they’re on the menu in several variations.  You’ll also find fish, salads, burgers and daily specials.  Expect big servings and hearty meals here-at reasonable prices.  They’re open 7 days a week from 5AM until 9PM, making Shrimp Landing a good choice for a pre-fishing trip breakfast or post-fishing trip lunch or dinner.

Shrimp Landing

US 19/98 at SR40, just north of the Withlacoochee River

Inglis, FL

(352) 447-5201

*The old December’s restaurant has been recently re-opened, but I’ve not had a chance to visit it.  Reviews from friends have been good, and I’m looking forward to a meal there soon.  Expect a review, too!

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