By TERRY TOMALIN, RODNEY PAGE
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 3, 2003
Anglers south of Fred Howard Park who have been waiting two months for a chance to catch spotted sea trout will be happy to learn the season has reopened. However, it will close again Feb. 1 for anglers in the northwest region of the state (all waters north and west of the westernmost point of the Fred Howard Park Causeway).
Sea trout must be no less than 15 inches or greater than 20 inches. The bag limit is four fish per person per day in the South region and five fish per person per day in the Northwest region. However, anglers may keep one "trophy" fish 20 inches or longer.
Snook season will remain closed through Jan. 31 to protect these highly sought "linesiders" during the time of year when they are most vulnerable to cold.
Snook don't like chilly water, preferring temperatures of 74-76 degrees. If the water dips below 65 degrees, snook become sluggish. If it drops another 10 degrees, they can die.
Tampa Bay lies at the northern end of the species' range. If the bay area gets hit with a hard cold front, snook die in large numbers; or are stunned and become easy picking for poachers.
If you missed the big boat show on St. Petersburg's waterfront in November, you will have a second chance at the end of this month. The Tampa Bay Boat and Yacht Expo will be held Jan. 30-Feb. 2 at Tropicana Field and at the Vinoy Boat Basin.
The show will feature the latest in boats, boating equipment and accessories, and there also will be an in-water show at the Vinoy Boat Basin. There will be at least 45 boat and canoe dealers as well as more than 80 manufacturers.
Tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for children between 6 and 12 years old. There is a $3-off coupon available at tampabayboatexpo.com. Hours for the show are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
For more information, call (888) 234-7770.
There are just a few days left in the fall turkey season. The last day to bag bearded and gobbler turkeys is Sunday. Also, general gun season for antlered deer and wild hog closes on Jan. 19 for the Central Florida zone.
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