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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: sanibel

Florida’s Ding Darling Kids Fishing Derby Nov. 9, 2013 at Sanibel Island

by on Nov.06, 2013, under Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Middle Charlotte Harbor

From The Fishing Wire:

Kids of all ages who are able to hold their own fishing pole may participate in the free second annual “Ding” Darling Kids Fishing Derby to be held on the Sanibel Causeway Islands Park (Island A) on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013.

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) co-sponsor the event.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. on the causeway, and ages 15 and younger start fishing at 9 a.m. and finish at 11 a.m. Awards ceremony is at 11:30.

Judges will record catches during the session. After the results are tallied, they will award winners in two age groups: 10 to 15, and 9 and younger. Based upon total inches of fish caught, the refuge will award first, second, and third place prizes, plus awards for the largest and smallest fish hooked, in both age categories.

Participants should bring fishing poles, but Tarpon Bay Explorers will provide a limited number of loaner poles for those who don’t have their own equipment. Shallow Bait and Dale Shirley will be supplying the bait.

Throughout the day, volunteers and staff will teach fishing skills and safe, ethical fishing practices and will engage children in fish crafts.

“We had an exciting event in our inaugural year,” said Ranger Becky Wolff, the refuge’s education specialist. “Thanks to everyone who contributes to this effort.”

The event is made possible also by support from the Lexington Fishing Club, Sanibel Island Fishing Club, and Lee County Parks & Recreation.

For more information or to volunteer for Kids Fishing Derby, contact Wolff at Rebecca_Wolff@fws.gov

or 239-472-1100 ext. 236.

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Learning To Live With Red Tide

by on Feb.28, 2013, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Learning To Live With Red Tide

February 28, 2013 | Posted by John Stevely, Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent
Concentrations of this organism (Karenia brevis) can reach millions of cell per quart of water during red tide events. Photo: FWC.

Check out the Beach Conditions Report

Since the devastating red tide of 2005, we have been fortunate in that there have only been infrequent minor red tide events along Florida’s southwest coast. During 2005, residents and tourists were subjected to what seemed like endless months of dead fish washing up on our beaches and beach-goers fled our beaches due to the respiratory distress caused by the neurotoxin produced by the red tide organism – the stench from rotting fish didn’t help matters. Newspapers trumpeted headlines about “dead zones” in the Gulf where essentially every living creature had died.

Red tide is caused by the presence of a microscopic plant-like organism that secretes a nuerotoxin.

Unfortunately, in recent months, there have numerous reports of red tide along Florida’s southwest coastline. We can only hope that we do not see a repeat of the 2005 red tide event during the upcoming year. Such severe red tides like we saw back then usually only occur once every several decades, but there are no guarantees.

Fish killed by red tide. Photo: Tony Reisinger

Red tide is a natural phenomenon.  Accounts of red tides have been reported since the days of the Spanish explorers. Currently, there is debate among scientists as to the extent to which nutrients in urban run-off prolongs and/or intensifies red tide events. Following the red tide of 2005 several local governments have adopted ordinances aimed at trying to reduce nutrient enrichment of run-off by regulating the use of lawn fertilizers. However, even if such measures prove to be effective in reducing the severity of red tide, we will never completely eliminate red tide.

Now we have a tool to help us cope with red tides. Thanks to the Internet you can quickly check the Beach Conditions Report. This website provides a real-time assessment of how severely red tide is affecting local beaches (reports on individual beaches are supposed to be updated twice a day). Information is provided on whether dead fish are present and whether beach-goers are experiencing respiratory problems.

How is this helpful? Let’s say you were thinking of spending a day at the beach or perhaps just enjoying dining at a waterfront restaurant. A few days ago or perhaps last week you remember hearing something about there being red tide in local waters. The prospect of coughing and smelling rotting fish causes you to abandon your plans. However, by checking the Beach Conditions Report you can determine if this is really necessary.

It is important to note that red tide conditions can change from day to day and from beach to beach as water currents sweep the red tide along the coast. Perhaps conditions at your favorite beach have dramatically changed in the past week or even from a few days ago. Perhaps you see that red tide is indeed present at the beach, but conditions at a beach just 10 miles away are fine and you can still take the kids to the beach. My experience has been that this is indeed possible. For example, today (2/28/2013) beach-goers at Siesta Key can expect to experience some slight respiratory distress, but everything seems fine at the Manatee Co. beaches.

We may not be able to completely eliminate red tide, but at least now you can easily obtain the information you need to make good decisions on your water related activities during red tides.

Want more Red Tide information? Check out these websites.

Charlotte Co. Sea Grant Red Tide Fact Sheet

FWC Red Tide Status Report and links to other Red Tide informational links

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Looking For GPS Numbers for Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida?

by on Nov.27, 2012, under TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

I’ve had lots of requests on the site for GPS coordinates of reefs, wrecks and offshore fishing holes.  The list is too long to print, so it’s time to “belly-up” and get your very own copy of my latest (2012) book, The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida.  Click the link to the right (on the sidebar) and you’ll be magically taken to Amazon.com, where you can get a copy at a discounted price.

In addition to GPS numbers, the book also has essential information regarding fishing from all ports from Bayport (in Hernando County) to Chokoloskee (at the top of the ‘glades).

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The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

by on Oct.02, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Dunedin, Clearwater and Largo, Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Marco and The 10,000 Islands, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Naples, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, St. Pete Beaches, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, The Sunshine Skyway and Beyond to Egmont, Upper Charlotte Harbor

The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

It’s been a long time coming, but the University Press of Florida has just released my second fishing book.  If you’re a native and wanting more information on the Gulf of Mexico coastline from Chassahowitzka to Chokoloskee, you need this book.  If you’re planning to winter in Florida, you need this book.  Everyone needs this book. The Table of Contents is outlined below.

To order, simply click on the link on the sidebar to the right of this page and you’ll be taken to Amazon.com.  Thanks–and enjoy!

Part One–The Destinations

1.  Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida

2.  The Upper Suncoast-Hernando and Pasco Counties

3.  Tarpon Springs and North Pinellas County

4.  St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Peninsula

5.  Old Tampa Bay, Tampa and The Bay’s Eastern Shore

6.  Manatee and Sarasota Counties-The Gateway to Tropical Florida

7.  Charlotte Harbor and Her Gulf Islands

8.  Fort Myers, Estero, Sanibel and Captiva

9.  Naples, Marco and The Ten Thousand Islands

Part Two–Practical Matters

10. It’s All About The Fish…

11. …And How to Catch Them

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Historic Sinking of the USCGC Mohawk off Sanibel Island, Florida Creates First Dedicated Veterans Memorial Reef using a Military Ship

by on Jul.03, 2012, under Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva

Coastal Conservation Association Florida and the Lee County Department of Natural Resources partnered to deploy the USCGC Mohawk to its final resting place. The 165-foot World War II Coast Guard Cutter, “Mohawk” was the last remaining ship of the Battle of the Atlantic.  The Mohawk was laid to rest in 90 feet of water on July 2, 2012 at 12:36 PM roughly 28 nautical miles off of Sanibel Island on Florida’s southwest coast, creating the first Veterans Memorial Reef dedicated to all U.S. veterans. The reef will be the new home to untold numbers of fish and other invertebrates living in the Gulf of Mexico.

CCA Florida chartered the 90’ “Great Getaway” that transported over 100 passengers to the deployment site. The passengers included USCG 2nd Class Petty Officer Edward March who served on the Mohawk for 15 months during WWII, his family, local veterans, members of the media, local and state dignitaries and elected officials as well as CCA members from across the state of Florida. “The feeling was surreal as the cutter slipped below the surface,” said CCA Chairman Jeff Miller. “This moment marked the ending to a long and historical life above water and the beginning of a new life as an artificial reef in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Fisherman and scuba divers alike are very excited about the new artificial reef. “With more fish in the Gulf of Mexico comes the need for more habitat,” said Don Roberts, CCA Florida Habitat Chairman. “The sinking of the Mohawk will bring a new home to fish and marine life as well as new opportunities for fishermen and scuba divers from all over the world. The ship was an amazing site and looked as if she was ready for action.”  The Mohawk was laid to rest with a fresh coat of wartime camouflage paint along with her anchor chains, props, replica guns, replica depth charges and a even a new whale boat was added. The official name of the reef is the U.S.S. Mohawk CGC Veterans Memorial Reef and the coordinates are 82°43’42.347″W 26°33’14.64″N.

The Mohawk was built in 1934 for patrol and icebreaking duties in the Hudson and Delaware rivers. During WWII, the USS Mohawk was commissioned for escort operations and traveled the world defending her country until 1945. The Mohawk launched 14 attacks on German submarines, rescued more than 300 survivors from torpedoed ships and was the last vessel to radio Gen. Dwight Eisenhower that the weather would be clear enough to launch the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

“CCA Florida was honored to have the opportunity to participate in this historical event,” said Brian Gorski, CCA Florida Executive Director. “CCA Florida would like to thank Mike Campbell and the Lee County Department of Natural Resources for all of their time and effort in establishing the U.S.S. Mohawk CGC Veterans Memorial Reef.”

CCA Florida salutes the members that served on the USCGC Mohawk along with all other service men and women that have served or are currently serving to protect the United States of America.

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