Flats fishing is very popular in the summer months, especially here in the in the Tampa Bay area thanks to the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Since my family tends to do more offshore fishing, I had to do a little research about flats fishing and thought I’d share. The term “flat” refers to any shallow area, and the Gulf is full of them. Usually a flat bottomed boat is chosen for the task and after the perfect spot is targeted, the engine is raised and the boat is pushed along the flat with a long pole, like the boat pictured here. This gives the fishermen a chance to effectively sneak up on larger fish like in the shallow water and with a raised platform like the boat pictured gives an even better view of the fish below.
If you are a frequent reader of the PhotoBlog, then you know my family loves to boat. Over the years we have had several different types of boats from a large aft-cabin boat that you could live comfortably on for a weekend to a small open bow boat that the kids loved to tube behind. Now that my husband has really gotten in to fishing, we have a center console boat that works perfectly for fishing in the Gulf. Regardless of what type of boat we’ve had, we have always been able to find a few places to anchor up and relax with friends, as most boaters do. A favorite spot in the bay area is Three Rooker. Sometimes called a “bar” and sometimes called an “island”, Three Rooker is nothing more than a sand bar that is technically part of Anclote Key Preserve State Park, just north of Honeymoon Island. This photo of a friend’s boat was taken there in May a few years ago.
This weekend we are expecting highs in the low 80′s and plentiful sunshine. Whether it’s taking in a spring training baseball game, an afternoon stroll at a local park or a trip to the beach, it’s a great time to be outside in the Tampa Bay area. With the gulf temperatures still nice and cool, there are some great breezes off the water making it perfect weather for boating of all kinds. Many people will be out this weekend in their kayaks getting some great excercise while enjoying the water like only they can. With little water needed to float and virtually no impact to the sensitive sea grass beds in along our shores, kayaking opens a whole new world that few others can reach. A favorite destination for many kayakers are Caladesi and Honeymoon Island State Parks. The mangrove lined coves along the sound side of the islands are only accessible via kayak and are teaming with wildlife, making them a must see.
Any trip towards the south end of Nags Head results in a quick stop at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center for me. Those trips started when I was growing up and my family spent lots of our free time in the Outer Banks. My dad has always loved fishing, and may have fantasized about having a boat every now and then. I’m not sure if the draw to the marina was to look at the boats or the day’s catch, but it was a fun adventure whatever the reason. When we visited, it was always late in the day, just in time to catch the charter boats coming in from a long day of fishing in the Gulf Stream off the coast. After hours of fishing on Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills getting flounder and spot, it was really exciting to see tuna that seemed as big as I was laid out on the dock as the charter captains cleaned their boats. Now that I’m older and my husband has a fishing boat of his own, I have a new appreciation for the boats at Oregon Inlet, and am still in awe of the fantastic catch they bring in each day. On my most recent trip to the Outer Banks, I was in search of a few sunset photos at the Pea Island National Refuge and stopped into Oregon Inlet on the way back north. The colors of the boats against the pink light of the approaching dusk caught my eye, and a snapped a few photos.
On my first trip to California a few years ago, my husband and I spent our time in the San Francisco Bay Area. After a morning of exploring Muir Woods, we stopped in Sausalito for lunch before heading back to San Francisco. Sausalito is a quaint little town in Marin County, on the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. With a vibrant waterfront community that features lots of unique shops and restaurants, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon in the Bay Area. As a boater, my husband was immediately drawn to the hundreds of boats along the waterfront. We saw everything from residential house boats to large yachts and hundreds of sailboats. This view is of one of the many docks at the Sausalito Yacht Club.
The month of November in the US usually means beautiful fall foliage, cooler fall days and the kick off to the holiday season with Thanksgiving. While we generally miss out on the fall foliage in the Tampa Bay area, we do enjoy cooler temperatures in November and emerge from our summer hibernations in air conditioning to truly glorious weather. Cooler air temperatures also mean cooler water temperatures and the fish that have been in deep waters for the summer are now moving closer into shore. Average high temperatures in the 70′s and little rain ever forecast this time of year make it a favorite time for recreational fishing in this area. This photo was taken near Veteran’s Reef off the coast of Dunedin, FL.
The quaint fishing village of Wanchese is located on the southern end of Roanoke Island, between the Outer Banks and the North Carolina mainland. Home to several custom boat builders and sport fishing charters, the main attraction is the Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park. As the only Federal, State and County-financed project devoted entirely to the seafood processing and fishing industries, the Wanchese Seafood Industrial Park is truly one of a kind. Thanks to the rich mix of warm and cold water fish and shellfish off the Atlantic coast of North Carolina, you can find some of the best seafood on the eastern seaboard in Wanchese.
The Oregon Inlet separates the northern Outer Banks from Hatteras Island. Created by a hurricane in 1846, the inlet was named after the first ship that passed through, the Oregon. This inlet serves as a main waterway for fisherman, especially the charter fishing boats at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. The fishing off of the coast of the Outer Banks is some of the best in the world offering Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi and Blue Marlin, but the seas can be treacherous. The boats kept at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center are as beautiful as they are tough, many built locally to specifically to withstand the rough seas surrounding Cape Hatteras. My family has visited the Outer Banks for years and we always make sure to visit the marina to admire the boats and catch a glimpse of the day’s catch.
The Outer Banks are a 200-mile long string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. Between the Outer Banks and the North Carolina mainland is Roanoke Island, home to a small fishing village called Wanchese. Home to a thriving commercial seafood industry, Wanchese also boasts several custom boat builders that build and repair large sport fishing boats and trawlers. A walk through the marina reveals beautiful sport fishing boats ready for an afternoon charter off shore for some of the best fishing in the world.
Thanks to the sea breezes from the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts that converge over the Florida peninsula and usually push westerly, storms pop up most afternoons along the west coast. On this day in early July, my family had been enjoying an afternoon with friends anchored just offshore at Three Rooker Bar at Anclote Key Preserve just west of Tarpon Springs, FL. Around 3:00 pm, the sky started to cloud up and typical rainy season storms started to approach the Gulf from the east. Since the line was too long to outrun, we ‘battened down the hatches’ and prepared for the impending rain. The storm only lasted about twenty minutes and was by no means violent, but the cloudy skies beforehand made for some amazing photos.
Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin, FL, is only accessible by boat thanks to a hurricane in the 1920′s that separated it from Honeymoon Island State Park. This exclusivity is one of the many reasons that those lucky enough to visit love to go back. There are miles of virtually untouched beaches giving visitors a taste of how nature intended the beaches of Florida to be enjoyed. While there is ferry service from nearby Honeymoon Island State Park and a full service marina for private boaters, many choose to kayak to the island. Less than a half-mile from the Dunedin Causeway, kayakers often leave their colorful kayaks along the shore as they enjoy the island.