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Magazine takes your fish stories

By TERRY TOMALIN, Times Outdoors Editor
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 20, 2002

Outdoors editors hear a lot of fish tales.

Some good, some bad, but all entertaining.

Now you have a chance to turn that story about the one that didn't get away into cold, hard cash.

The state's oldest outdoor magazine, Florida Wildlife, is sponsoring a writing contest on Florida fishing.

The "Best Tall Tale Florida Fishing Story Contest" lets anglers put their best story on paper for a chance to win cash and be published.

The editors say the stories must be truthful, but as the magazine says on its Web site, "as every angler knows, the truth can be stretched when it comes to fishing."

Submissions must be 250 words or fewer. They can be broad-based, serious or funny, and they must relate to either Florida fresh or saltwater. Participants may enter up to three submissions, but the contest is limited to subscribers of the magazine.

First prize is $100; second prize, $75; and third prize, $50. The top three will be published in the July/August 2002 issue. Deadline for submissions is April15.

Submissions must be typed and double-spaced. Send them, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, to: Fishing Story Contest, Florida Wildlife magazine, 620 S Meridian St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600.

Get more information by logging on to the magazine's Web site, floridawildlifemagazine.com, or calling (850) 488-5563.

BIRDING TRAIL: The FWC's Great Florida Birding Trail, supported in part by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Wildlife Foundation of Florida, is a 2,000-mile highway trail that unifies existing and new birding sites throughout Florida.

The trail is modeled after the successful Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail that combines special highway signs identifying birding trail sites with a detailed map that highlights birding opportunities.

The East Florida section of the trail opened in late 2000 with subsequent sections coming online at 18-month intervals: West Florida, Panhandle Florida and finally, the South Florida section. The statewide trail should be completed by 2006.

To receive updates and participate in the site nomination process send your name, address, phone number and e-mail address to: Julie Brashears, Birding Trail Coordinator, FWC, 620 S Meridian St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600, phone (850) 922-0664, or e-mail her at: brashej@gfc.state.fl.us. For information go to floridabirdingtrail.com.

RED TIDE UPDATE: Conditions from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor are almost back to normal; very low concentrations of the microalgae Karenia brevis, however, linger in various places, including lower Tampa Bay. Offshore concentrations fluctuate. For a status report, go to floridamarine.org.

FISH KILL HOTLINE: The Aquatic Health Group at the FWC's Marine Research Institute in St. Petersburg has a toll-free fish kill hotline -- 1-800-636-0511 -- that allows the public to report the location of fish kills and diseased or abnormal fish directly to researchers.

Leave a brief message about the event, a mailing address and a phone number so the Aquatic Health staff can call back if more information is needed.

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