A Message from Project Manager Holly Short of Bird Monitoring & Stewardship Audubon Florida

Black Skimmers are nesting on St. Pete Beach again, and they need your help! The colony of over 600 skimmers make scrapes in the sand to lay eggs and raise their chicks. As more chicks hatch and grow older, they will begin venturing outside of the colony’s posted area looking for shade or to cool off by the water. They will be at an increased risk since they blend in so well with the sand. Skimmer parents are great at defending their eggs and chicks against predators such as gulls and crows, but they need a little extra help from you to make sure they successfully raise their families. Tips for Helping the Black Skimmers:

  • Keep your distance and respect posted areas. If the birds become agitated, you are too close! Take a few steps back until the bird has settled down. Signs and rope help people to avoid stepping on nests/chicks.
  • Avoid flushing birds. Large flocks of Black Skimmers from the colony sit by the water’s edge to cool off, sometimes with their chicks. Running through flocks cause them to fly away and use up their energy needed to feed and protect chicks. Chicks unable to fly will also be left alone and vulnerable to predators.
  • Avoid lighting off fireworks within 1,000 ft of the colony. Firework booms can flush skimmers off their nests and cause abandonment of chicks.
  • Keep pets off the beach and away from nesting areas.
  • Avoid feeding wildlife, especially the gulls and crows. Attracting these predators to the beach and near the colony puts the nests and chicks at risk.
  • Spread the word! Tell others what you’ve learned about these incredible birds!

Audubon Florida is looking for volunteers to steward these colonies of nesting Black Skimmers and help educate the public during the weekends and 4th of July holiday. If you are in-terested in becoming a bird steward or learning more about how you can help, please email anchor steward Monica Craig at mcraig@audubon.org or visit www.FLbeachbirds.org.

Information courtesy of Audubon Florida.

The Florida Aquarium Releases 8 Rescued Sea Turtles on Carnival National Seashore on World Oceans Day

The Florida Aquarium and its Center for Conservation team were thrilled to release eight rehabilitated Kemp’s ridley sea turtles on the Canaveral National Seashore in New Smyrna, Florida today—World Oceans Day. 
 
These critically endangered sea turtles were rescued and flown from New England in December to The Florida Aquarium after being cold-stunned from a harsh cold-snap weather event that hit the northeast United States.
These eight were part of a group of 12 the Aquarium received and has been rehabilitating, with the remaining four currently continuing to undergo rehabilitation at the downtown facility. The Aquarium’s veterinary team expects a full recovery for the remaining sea turtles and is optimistic they will also be ready for release soon.
Cold-stunning happens to sea turtles because they are cold blooded and cannot regulate their body temperature.  They quickly become hypothermic, immobilized, and can wash ashore or become stranded at sea during extreme, sudden cold-weather events.
When the sea turtles arrived to Tampa, they underwent treatment for skin and shell wounds, similar to frostbite in humans. Several of the animals were treated with antibiotics to help remedy their pneumonia. After five months of care, all eight of these animals were eating well, swimming normally and gaining weight, signaling that the medical care and rehabilitation efforts had been successful and they were ready to return to the Atlantic Ocean. 
“It’s always a great day when we can get rescued sea turtles back out to the ocean,” said Aquarium Associate Veterinarian Dr. Ari Fustukjian, who played a key part in rehabilitating the animals. “Rescue, rehabilitation and release of marine animals is a huge part of The Florida Aquarium’s mission, and is a critical component to protect and restore our oceans. What better day to send them back to the big blue than on World Oceans Day?”  

Take A Hike!

We live in Paradise!

From paddleboarding the Gulf to birdwatching at local preserves, Tampa Bay serves up natural wonders for children of all ages at its parks and preserves. You can get a dose of fun and Vitamin D right at home this summer. There’s more going on than you think.

Parks For Every Passion

At Florida Botanical Garden, a children’s walking trail blooms with outdoor musical instrutments. With the aid of a map available online or at the Garden Welcome Center, families can start at the Butterfly Garden, hike over to the boardwalk Tree Station, and scan for wildlife with the binoculars near the pond, then stroll through our Fruit Garden, while FBG’s mascot, Flora, teaches fun facts about Florida fruits.

At McGough Park in Largo, you can participate in a drum circle, hike to the Intracoastal, feed alligator and snapping turtles and ogle the owls, hawks and American Eagle in their rescued bird habitats.

You can bike, rollerblade or walk the Pinellas Trail from Dunedin to downtown St. Pete. Want to cool off and explore? Grab your kayak or canoe and navigate the Blueways Paddling Trail to explore the coastline and rich array of marine and estuarine ecosystems. http://www.pinellascounty.org/blueways/default.htm

Dog Parks: Fort De Soto has the only dog park where dogs are allowed on the beach in a designated area. There are also 2 fenced in areas near the beach for large and small dogs with water stations (beach entrance is at the far southwest corner of dog park). You can also take your dog to play at Anderson Park, Boca Ciega Park, Chesnut Park, Eagle Lake Park, Sand Key Park and Walsingham Park.

Sawgrass Lake Park: Here alligators sun themselves close up and personal and you can climb the tower for a bird’s eye view of the park. Hike the largest maple swamps on the Gulf Coast of Florida as you walk the mile-long boardwalk and half-mile dirt trail where you’ll see birds, butterflies, plants and animals in their natural settings. Herons, egrets, ibis, wood storks, alligators and turtles can be seen along the canals and lakes. Thousands of birds migrate through the park during the fall and spring, attracting birders and eco-tourists from all over the country. Sawgrass Lake Park is mentioned by the Great Florida Birding Trail and the National Audubon Society as one of the premier birding sites in Florida. 7400 25th St. N., St. Petersburg

Boca Ciega Millenium Park: In this park, a 35-foot wooden observation tower offers a panoramic view of Boca Ciega Bay. As part of the the “Great Florida Birding Trail,” you can view shore birds, wading birds, birds of prey, upland birds & water fowl. Visitors launch a canoe or kayak, or enjoy a picnic under a shelter. The park also has a covered, barrier-free playground for kids and a dog park for both small and large dogs. The small dog park includes an obstacle course for training. The park supports seven natural communities: pine flatwoods, coastal oak hammock, mangrove swamp, salt marsh, bay head and wetlands. 12410 74th Ave. N. (Old Oakhurst Rd.) Seminole

Fort De Soto Park offers free one-hour nature walk great for the entire family. Wander through one of the park’s six different natural communities including the

Arrowhead Trail, Mangrove Tour, Campground Tour, Beach Tour, Soldier’s Hole or Bird Watch. Registration is required. Call for tour information Mon.- Fri. 9 am – 3 pm.; 727-582-3775. You can kayak, canoe, bike the trails, swim, collect shells, camp and fish in one of the most historical locations in Pinellas County.

Brooker Creek Preserve protects more than 8,700 acres of natural ecosystems and fauna. Here you will find walking trails to explore and an Environmental Education Center with interactive exhibits that are fun for the entire family.

Residents can bring  their horses to the horseriding trails in a separate area of the  preserve. 3940 Keystone Road, Tarpon Springs. Take a walk through time Saturday morning on a 0.75-mile walk with an expert from the Preserve to guide you. See how the land changed over time and discuss the ecological footprints left by those changes. All ages welcome, but children younger than 6 may find it challenging.

Weedon Island Preserve protects more than 3,700 acres of natural ecosystems and its rich historical past is showcased at the Cultural and Natural History Center with the permanent exhibit Connecting People & Place offers hands-on educational offering approachs to the area’s history, ecology & people.
The preserve’s many outdoor activities include walking trails and an observation tower, a fishing pier and canoe/kayak launch. Center hours: Thurs-Sat 9 am – 4 pm; Sun. 11 am – 4 pm. Reservations required for free guided hikes. 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg.

  • Guided hikes through coastal mangrove and upland ecosystems of the preserve are held each Saturday 9 – 11 am. Experienced Center volunteers lead guided hikes for the general public that examine the best of our cultural and environmental attributes. Weekly guided hikes are free.
  • Go birding once a month with outings led by experienced birders 8 am – 10 am. Learn the identifying marks and behaviors of our feathered year-round residents and seasonal visitors while helping us compile an annual checklist of the Preserve’s birds. These hikes are designed to take advantage of all levels of birding experience. Binoculars and bird guides are available. Recommended for adults.
  • Are you a camera buff? Once a month, 8 am – 10 am, you can take a quick class and hike the Preserve in search of that perfect shot. This program provides great opportunities for photographers of all levels to hone their skills. Center volunteers highlight seasonal features of the Preserve, as well as specific wildlife behaviors that help participants capture the Weedon’s natural beauty. Recommended for adults.

For more on what each park has offers, visit http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/

Article by Nanette Wiser

Turtle Nesting Season: Help Sea Turtle Trackers Protect the Sea Turtles

The beaches of Pinellas County are an important nesting place for endangered Loggerhead sea turtles and the gulf coast is the exclusive breeding area for the endangered Kemps ridley sea turtles. Summer is their season.

For more than 35 years, Bruno Falkenstein and the team at Sea Turtle Trackers, Inc. have devoted their time and energy to protecting sea turtles on St. Pete Beach and at Shell Key Nature Preserve. Their 501(c)(3) non-profit organization has over 100 volunteers who donate their time. April through October is the “busy season” as they do turtle patrol and nest monitoring. Early morning beach patrol consists of walkers and the ‘Turtle Truck’ on the 4.5 mile-long St. Pete Beach. Shell Key Nature Preserve patrol requires a daily boat ride and 3-mile hike.

Starting around the end of June, they also have night-time volunteers who “baby-sit” nests that are due to hatch. They monitor changes in the nest, and when it begins to hatch, they help to ensure every hatchling safely reaches the Gulf waters. The team also responds to stranding calls due to cold-stun, injury, and illness throughout the year, transporting any live turtles to authorized rehabilitation facilities.

The volunteers are committed to the education and outreach portion of their mission. They participate in local fairs and festivals, host educational events on the beach, and visit schools and community groups. They tailor their talks to the age range of the group with which they are visiting and use Florida FWC (Fish and Wildlife Commission) authorized specimens for visual displays.

Through the efforts of groups like the Sea Turtle Trackers, Florida FWC, local residents and businesses, and many others, the sea turtle population is making a recovery. The last two nesting seasons on St. Pete Beach and Shell Key were both record years with over 90 nests laid by female loggerhead sea turtles. Natural weather events wreaked havoc on the hatching success of many of those, but the Sea Turtle Trackers feel encouraged by the numbers in recent years.

One of the most important roles that the Sea Turtle Tracker volunteers play is as educators to the public about the best ways they can protect sea turtles. They spread the word about keeping the beach Clean, Dark, and Flat.

“Clean” means free of litter and any other obstacle that could impede a nesting female. The Sea Turtle Trackers would encourage visitors not to bring plastics to the beach because too much of it unfortunately ends up in the waters.

All beach chairs and cabanas should be removed every night. STT volunteers can often be seen gathering trash during beach clean-ups or on regular morning patrols. “Dark” refers to the importance of only using red light when walking the beach after dark. White light from windows, flashlights, and cell phones can disorient both nesting females and hatchlings.

“Flat” is relating to the need to fill in all holes and to flatten sand castles after a day in the sun. Restoring the beach to a flat state keeps it safer for sea turtles and humans, alike. To learn more, visit Facebook , https://www.facebook.com/seaturtletrackers, or go to www.seaturtletrackers.org.

 

Pinellas Receives Additional $16M for Beach Nourishment

The Pinellas County federal beach nourishment project will receive an additional $16 million in federal funding this summer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced this week.

Last summer, the County was awarded $12.8 million to respond to storm damage to Pinellas beaches.  With the additional monies and $5.15 million from the County’s Bed Tax and $5.15 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Corps will be able to renourish up to 10.5 miles of beaches to provide critical coastal storm damage protection, recreational opportunities and enhanced natural habitats. The federal government has invested nearly $120 million in restorative beach erosion control measures, including beach nourishment and the construction of groins, to date.

“The Pinellas County beach nourishment program has been a model partnership among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state, county and local communities for more than 40 years,” said Janet C. Long, Chairman of the Pinellas County Commission.  “The funding for the construction this Fall would not have been possible without support of the Jacksonville District Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, and Congressmen Charlie Crist and Gus Bilirakis.”

With construction scheduled to begin this Fall, a key step in the process remains securing the proper easements from property owners along the length of the project. Together, the County and Municipalities sent letters to all property owners last January to request the easements. The easements will allow for necessary construction activities without any gaps in the project and will preserve public access to the beaches. Property owners have until June 2 to provide the easement.  Owners with questions or who have not yet signed an easement should contact Dr. John Bishop, Pinellas County Coastal Management Coordinator, at (727) 464-8677.

The Pinellas County Shore Protection Project includes three federally authorized segments that are actively maintained by the federal government in a cost-share agreement with Pinellas County. Based on construction bids, segments could include Sand Key, Treasure Island and Long Key.

Our beaches provide critical costal protection from storms, unparalleled recreational opportunities for our residents and visitors, and important habitat for shorebirds and nesting sea turtles.  “This project aligns perfectly with the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners’ strategic goal of practicing superior environmental stewardship to preserve and manage environmental lands, beach parks and historical assets,” said County Administrator Mark S. Woodard.

Lights Out to Protect Sea Turtles

Sea turtle nesting season is under way and ends Oct. 31. Newly hatched turtles find their way to the sea by following the natural light reflected by the water. Young turtles have a small amount of energy that must take them to the water, which under natural conditions is the brightest spot on the nighttime beach. If they disorient and head the wrong way, they may starve to death before landing in the floating sargassum weeds that are their food source.

Clearwater city ordinances determine specific lighting requirements for beach parking lots, streets and promenades to protect sea turtles. If you live near the beach, make sure you shut off or dim your lights at night. If you play at the beach, follow these tips from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to help protect sea turtle nests:

  • Take all personal belongings from the beach at the end of the day so no obstacles exist on the way to the water.
  • Flatten sand castles and fill in holes.
  • Pick up and properly dispose of litter on the beach.
  • Stay off the dunes and use the designated walkovers for crossing.
  • Shield any artificial lighting that might shine toward the beach.

The Tampa Bay area averages about 120 nests each season, and each nest can contain an average of about 100 eggs.

If you are lucky enough to find a turtle nest on the beach, don’t disturb it. If the nest is unmarked, notify the Clearwater Marine Aquarium at (727) 441-1790. They also will be able to provide more information about sea turtle nesting season.

Information Courtesy of the City of Clearwater

GARDEN GAB: Earth Day, Green Thumb Festival & More 

If you missed MFA’s glorious Art In Bloom exhibition through April 3rd, don’t give up hope. You can still enjoy all of spring’s garden bounty at these events and festivals. One of the newest Facebook crazes in Paradise (and elsewhere) is rockers, artists who create whimsical art on rocks and leave them for others to delightfully find.

EARTH DAY 

April 22nd is Mother Nature’s special birthday and Pinellas celebrates all things green with a flourish.

April 20 5:30- 8:30 pm Movie Night At The Museum – A Plastic Ocean:  Join Chart 411, St Pete Earth Day, St Petersburg Museum of History (where the film will be screened), Suncoast Sierra Club and Suncoast Surfrider Foundation for an evening of enlightenment and entertainment. Tasty food, cash bar, and a second chance to see the award winning film and enjoy cocktails and light food.

April 22 10 am – 10 pm St. Petersburg Earth Day Celebration

Enjoy a day filled with interactive exhibits, good food, great music, shopping vendors, and the chance to learn how to do your part to create a more sustainable planet. In the evening, The Concert For The Earth, Earth Day After Party features some of the best music on earth! EarthdaySP.com Williams Park, 330 2nd Ave. N. DTSP


Get Creative: The UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County is currently accepting entries for the 2017 Earth Day Mail Art competition.  Entries in each category will be judged by age groups (12 and under, 13-18, and 18 and over). Prizes include a guided hike of Weedon Island Preserve, gardening-themed prize packs, energy saving kits, a tour of the Pinellas County Solid Waste Facility and more. To qualify, entries must be postmarked by Wednesday, April 5.

All artwork must be original and must not contain reproduction of existing artwork or images. Artists must include their name, email address, phone number, age and category that the artwork should be judged in. Winners will be contacted by phone or email by Friday, April 21.

Contest judges are looking for distinctive handmade entries based on the following themes:

  • #ToEarthWithLove: creative art about giving back to Earth by recycling, composting and conserving water ·
  • #LoveTampaBay: art pieces that express love for Tampa Bay’s waters and wildlife
  • #PlasticAware: visualize how plastics impact the environment, people and/or communities

Submit artwork to: UF/IFAS Exension Pinellas County  Earth Day Mail Art Contest Attention: Trevor Ackerman 12520 Ulmerton Road Largo, FL 33774

All entries will be posted on the Pinellas Extension Facebook page and automatically entered in the “Facebook Fan Favorite” contest. That winner will receive a special prize as well. Vote for those entries at www.facebook.com/PinellasExtension/.  FYI: http://pinellas.ifas.ufl.edu/MailArt.shtml.


April 22-23  9 am – 4 pm Green Thumb Festival: Plants, kids stuff, free stuff, music, food court and a soil and water clinic is fun for the whole family and best of all, it’s free There are environmental and horticultural exhibits and vendors – with every kind of plant imaginable; a recycling rally; children’s tree climbing, a garden wagon parade, free mulch, a plant auction, free butterfly plants, more than 1,000 trees for sale for $5 and Ask An Arborist helps solve every problem. Walter Fuller Recreation Center 7891 26th Ave. N stpeteparksrec.org/greenthumb

The Flower Show:  As part of the two day Green Thumb Festival, The Garden Club of St. Petersburg offers a standard flower show in the Walter Fuller Recreation Center. Garden club members display their creativity through juried floral designs and crafts interpreting gardens from around the world. Exhibits are designed interpreting a new theme each year. Orchids, African violets, bromeliads and cacti are just a few of the over 200 plants on view. These judged horticulture exhibits share the passion for gardening through plants. Garden members grow these plants for at least three months prior to the show. While this is a juried show, the public is invited to vote for their own best of show in both the horticulture and floral design category.


April 30  10 am – 4pm FLORIDA BOTANICAL GARDEN’S FOUNDATION

Their 2nd annual “Tour of Private & Public Gardens” starts with FBG and tours six different private home gardens. Purchase a wristband and pick up your map at the FBG Gift Shop. www.flbgfoundation.org/events.


GARDEN CLUB OF ST. PETERSBURG

500 Sunset Drive South, St. Petersburg 727-381-8920

May 1, 10:00 a.m.Creative Crafts: Cost of materials:  members $3.50; guests $4.50 and you take what you craft.

May 6, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., The 1ST ANNUAL GARDEN WALK presented by the Garden Club of St. Petersburg will start at 500 Sunset Drive South.  Tickets are $20.00 each. Enjoy vendors and refreshments and tour diverse and creative gardens.

May 9, 7:00 p.m., “African Violets,” speaker Phyllis King.  Presented by the Night Bloomers Circle. The cost is $5.00 for guests.

May 13, 9:30-11:30 a.m., “Flower Power:  Wild flowers of Florida.  Why are they so important to our landscape?” This event is for Junior Gardner’s and will be held at Pioneer Park, 1st Avenue South, St Petersburg.  Registration is for 7-12 year olds and must be completed in advance at www.stpeteparksrec.org/ParksRecConnect.

May 13, 12:00 noon, “Plant Auction,” with auctioneers Ashley Graham and H. Alton Lee.


FLOWER POWER, BUTTERFLIES & MORE

Whether you’re at the nursery contemplating snapdragons vs. begonias or walking the Florida Botanical Gardens, April and May bloom with flower exhibits and shows.  We recently discovered Orchid Friends (727-420-4001) and already have the MFA Art In Bloom show on our 2018 calendar (seen here).

April 8 10 am -4 pm, April 9 10 am – 3pm USF Botanical Gardens Spring Plant Festival: Speakers and workshops and all the plants you need to jumpstart your garden 12210 USF Pine Dr. Tampa

May 6, 10 am – 2pm – Day Lily Flower Show: The Bay Area Daylily Society will be hosting our at a new location due to construction on Gandy Boulevard. Free admission.  Wilcox Nursery 12501 Indian Rocks Road Largo  

Boyd Hill Wildflower Walk: On Saturdays, you can take a guided stroll through the preserve and see Florida wildflowers. 1101 Country Club Wasy, DTSP stpete.org/boyd

Butterfly Gardens: MOSI Bioworks Butterfly Garden in Tampa, the Florida Botanical Gardens and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens all host flowering arbors for fluttering butterflies.

Leavin’ An Impression: Anna Orr and Marty Bosy Newton make ceramic imprints of exquisite leaves they handpaint and turn into centerpieces, garden art and bird baths. They will be at the Green Thumb Festival, or you can email them at Leavinanimpression@gmail.com.

 

Tampa Bay Watch’s 12 Annual Ed Alber Tarpon Rodeo

Tampa Bay Watch will host the 12th Annual Ed Alber Tarpon Rodeo, a catch and release fishing tournament on June 8 & 9 with cash prizes totaling $4,000. Anglers will fish their favorite spots throughout Tampa Bay from one mile offshore running north to Redington Fishing Pier and south to Longboat Pass. Proceeds from the tournament will benefit Tampa Bay Watch, a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect and restore the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary through scientific and educational programs.

The tournament festivities will kick off at the TradeWinds Island Resort in St. Pete Beach on Thursday, June 8 at 6pm with exciting live and silent auctions, great food and drinks, and the Captain’s Meeting. Anglers will hunt for the Silver King on Tampa Bay during the all-release tarpon tournament on Friday, June 9 from 2-8pm. Vessels will launch from the Fort De Soto Park boat ramp. The Awards Ceremony will be held at the Tampa Bay Watch Marine Center from 8-10pm for anglers to enjoy a well-deserved meal by Bonefish Grill.

The tournament is open to the public but it is sure to fill up fast with anglers who love to fish, catch and release! To register, please call Tampa Bay Watch at 727-867-8166 x234 or visit tampabaywatch.org/edalbertarponrodeo. Several sponsorship packages are available at various levels from $800 to $5,000. This is a great opportunity for businesses to gain advertising exposure and philanthropic recognition through being associated with this highly visible tournament.

Individual tickets to the Captain’s Banquet are $75 each if purchased prior to April 30. The Sport Division is open to Bronze Sponsors ($1,500) and individual boat entries. Gold ($5,000) and Silver ($3,000) sponsors will be eligible to compete in the Great Bay Guardians Division.  Like in previous events, tarpon and shark (minimum 24”) are eligible. The winning boat will be determined by total number of tarpon or shark legally released per boat.

Tampa Bay Watch is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) stewardship program dedicated exclusively to the charitable and scientific purpose of protecting and restoring the marine and wetland environments of the Tampa Bay estuary encompassing over 400 square miles of open water and 2,300 square miles of highly- developed watershed. Tampa Bay Watch involves more than 10,000 youth and adult volunteers each year in hands on habitat restoration projects. For more information, visit www.tampabaywatch.org, or call 727-867-8166.

Hubbards Fishing Report March 2017

Fishing report

Inshore- Snook fishing this past week went very well inside Johns Pass. Ryan Cloke from Tampa and his father Howard stopped in to fish the beach behind Hubbard’s Marina and left a few hours later after they got tired of catching so many snook on live shrimp and tail hooked live pigfish. Tim smith, from Reddington, was fishing the jetty and under the bridge catching nice sheepshead and flounder using live shrimp weighted to bottom at the tail end of outgoing tide this past week. Inshore on the flats, Kyle Morrison and his buddies were drifting the flats for nice sized trout and one monster bull red using live shrimp free lined on an incoming tide. Pompano are around the jetties too, just takes a skilled approach to target them. I like to use a doc’s jig or Nekid ball jig and bounce them along the bottom to mimic the pompano’s favorite bait the sand flea.

Near shore- The weather this week was very similar to last week, we had a front mid-week that ruined our chances for fishing for two days again. However, we were able to get some great trips in before the front brought its rain, wind and waves. Early this past week the hog bite was firing, we had tons of snapper and even some red grouper. Now that the bad weather has cleared were hoping for a weekend of good fishing and great weather. We have a weak front coming in through Saturday but were not expecting it to have a great effect on the weather. You can always check the weather on our site, by going to info then click ‘weather links’.

Offshore- Last weekend’s 39 hour did some awesome catching, wouldn’t even call it fishing. The 12 hour extreme this past weekend did the same but unfortunately was struggling to get away from the monster ‘endangered’ red snapper that seemed to be everywhere and the big ‘overfished’ gag grouper were thick and aggressive on each spot. We were able to get baits down to some big jacks, red grouper, mangroves, vermillion, yellowtail and more on the trips. The 39 hour even caught a mid 40lb monster kingfish while amberjack fishing. The big mangroves were the highlight of the trip however, many in the 7-10lb range were caught. You should really see the latest videos on Facebook as we have been doing video updates after each long range trip returns: https://www.facebook.com/hubbardsmarina/videos

Want to read the past reports? Check out this link: http://hubbardsmarina.com/hubbards-marina-fishing-reports/

Tampa Bay Ferry and Taxi News

We are expecting beautiful weather this weekend and hope you have the opportunity to come out and join us aboard the Tampa Bay Ferry! Catch the ferry at one of our many stops and head out for lunch/dinner and some shopping or just cruise the Intracoastal Waterway and observe all the unique, wonderful sights our area has to offer, as well as possible dolphin sightings along the way!

Our Jungle Prada stop is adjacent to the Sacred Lands Preservation which offers tours every Sunday at 4pm. Get there early and enjoy lunch at Jungle Prada Tavern. Or perhaps stop in for dinner after the tour and then catch a relaxing 8:10pm ferry ride back!

The complete list of ferry routes and stop locations can be seen at http://www.tampabayferry.com/madeira-beach-taxi-route/

Sacred Lands Preservation is a really cool park to explore it is nestled on the shore of Boca Ceiga Bay, is a place to remember the past, the past of our state, and of its native people. Sacred Lands is dedicated to preservation, because its mission is to keep Florida’s history alive for future generations. Located on the remains of the ancient Tocabaga Indian village, tours are offered every Sunday at 4pm. Explore the lives of the Tocabaga people and information about Florida’s native flora and fauna. And visit the Greenhouse Museum where you’ll see artifacts such as pottery, shell tools and native jewelry.

You can catch the ferry to many local restaurants, city centers, shopping areas, local beaches, and much more! It’s a great way to see the area and get to where you’re going without worrying about beach traffic or parking. To see all the special stops and the things to do at each stop visit this page on our new Tampa Bay Ferry and taxi website: http://www.tampabayferry.com/things-to-do/

As a reminder, parking is free at our Madeira Beach Marina and Jungle Prada stops. We look forward to seeing you! To see the schedule, map, and the stops with addresses check out this info on our website: http://www.tampabayferry.com/madeira-beach-taxi-route/

Keep in mind that the ferry does allow alcohol, pets, and anything you need for the beach so pack a cooler and come catch a cruise.

Did you know that Tampa Bay Ferry and Taxi offers a private taxi service, if you’re having a dinner party and want our boat to come pick you and your guests off to take you to your favorite waterfront bar or restaurant simply contact us and we can set you up this private taxi service!

Don’t drink and drive, drink and let us take you on the boat! The water taxi by Hubbard’s Marina is the coolest way to get home after some time at the beach bars.

Captain Jack’s Dolphin Corner

The bird nesting island in Boca Ceiga bay is coming alive with hatchlings and roosting seabirds. It is a great time to join us for a dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour at Hubbard’s Marina to share this special sights and sounds with family and friends.

Our local seabirds are not only roosting and nesting on dog leg key, our local hatchery, they are also dawning their mating plumage which makes them very colorful and robust. For example, the Roseate spoonbills are getting easier and easier to spot with their pinkish feathery appearance.

The Dolphins have been super easy to spot in large numbers lately around Boca Ceiga bay and the entrance to Tampa Bay. They are playful and ready to hunt the large schools of mullet. As the water warms during the spring they will only become more and more playful and easy to spot.

The local bald eagle that seems to be roosting atop a cell tower along the route of the dolphin watching nature cruise and eco tour boat here inside Johns pass is getting fat with the many mullet we have spotted him swooping up along the back bay waters.

Want to learn more about dolphins this winter? Check out the new great Johns Pass dolphin facts series on our Hubbard’s Marina YouTube channel to check out to see them all watch our dolphin playlist here: https://goo.gl/2mYjX2

Upcoming up at Hubbard’s Marina

Ready to join us for the March 3rd-5th News channel 8 outdoor expo at the Tampa state fairgrounds? There will be plenty of great seminars, vendors, booths, food, boats and more at the show. We will have our booth set up and will have a seminar at 5:30pm on Friday the 3rd. We hope you all get to join us, for more info on the show check out this link: https://goo.gl/5ZLgXZ

Sunday March 5th we also have a 3pm bass pro shops seminar, so you could join us for two seminars in one weekend if you’d like!

We have lots of light 39 hour trips coming up on the 3rd, 7th, 14th and 31st of March at Hubbard’s Marina. These 39 hour fishing adventures offer 20 hours of fishing time, a two day bag limit, and you get to fish 70-100 miles from shore in 120-300 foot of water for monster jacks, red grouper, mangrove snapper, tuna and much much more!

The 12 hour extreme trips right now are limiting out on big jacks and catching monster red grouper and the Wednesday trips are consistently super light! Join us for some ‘reel’ offshore fishing fun at Hubbard’s Marina aboard the New and one of a kind Flying HUB 2.

Well were already hearing rumors that Amberjack may be a short season this year, it could be as short as 4-5 months for 2017! If this is true jacks could close April or May, so if you want to go catch some jacks let’s get you offshore on a 39,44 hour 12 hour extreme here asap since jacks opened January first and we may not have very long to continue keeping them before NOAA’s National Marine fisheries gulf council decides to close them early. Remember, we don’t get much advanced notice of this so stay tuned to our email newsletters and social media for more updates.

To book trips on our site, check out this link: https://hubbardsmarina.com/reservations/

Want to stay up to date with the latest catches, reports and more from Hubbard’s Marina? Follow the new live video segments that Hubbard’s Marina is posting daily to Facebook! Also, more Instagram photos and videos are popping up too! Plus, were on the FishBrain app now too and they were nice enough to add Hubbard’s Marina as a fishing location so now on your future trips you can upload your catch to our location. If you have questions or want more info about all this message Dylan Hubbard on the Hubbard’s Marina Facebook page or shoot him an email: info@HubbardsMarina.com

Regular’s club

We would love to have some of you all join us for the March 3rd-5th outdoor expo at the fairgrounds. We will need help manning the booth and talking to our fishing friends more about what we have to offer at Hubbard’s Marina. If you want to come join us at the booth let Dylan know via email info@HubbardsMarina.com we will have a cooler with drinks and be talking fishing all weekend.

If you have not renewed yet for 2017, please do so before booking your 2017 trips and you definitely want to get it done before January first. If you do not, we will be changing you to the FREE Johns Pass club which does not give you benefits you’re used to. Once in this club, you can always upgrade again to a paid club but if you book using your number while it’s a FREE Johns Pass membership you will not have your discount tied properly to your trips so get renewed before you book!


Captains Mark and Dylan Hubbard

Vice president and Regular’s club manager Hubbard’s Marina
(727)393-1947 ext 306

info@HubbardsMarina.com

Join the Great American Clean Up

Pinellas County, in partnership with Keep Pinellas Beautiful, is asking for volunteers to help clean up two waterways, the Cross Bayou Canal and Joe’s Creek, on Saturday, March 25, from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Volunteers will collect and bag trash from mangrove shorelines.

Volunteers will be either land-based or can participate on the water from a canoe or kayak. Volunteers can bring their own watercraft, or borrow a canoe (provided on a first-come, first-served basis).

The meeting point for the cleanup is the Pinellas County property at the intersection of 70th Avenue North and 78th Street North near the Wagon Wheel Flea Market on Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park.

Check-in for volunteers begins at 8 a.m., with trash collection taking place from 8:30 to 11 a.m.  After the trash is collected, volunteers can enjoy lunch, provided by event partner American Waterworks Association – Florida Section, and enter to win giveaways. Registration is required.

Participants should wear comfortable clothing, closed-toe shoes, work gloves, a hat, sunscreen and bring a chair or towel to sit on during lunch. Trash grabbers, bags, gloves and drinking water will be provided. A water truck will also be on hand for cleaning off watercraft after coming back to shore. Participants working from watercraft will be required to wear life jackets; those borrowing watercraft will be provided life jackets.

Register online at https://2017springcbc.eventbrite.com/ by Wednesday, March 21.