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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida • 96

Tampa Bay Timesi
St. Petersburg, Florida
Issue Date:
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FOR COMPLETE COVERAGE OF HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL ACTION, TURN TO SECTION WHArS UP The Inverness Razorbacks youth football teams will play today at Citrus High School against teams from Hawthorne. Games start at 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m. Admission is $1. Ml in nni mir UJ Ci TIMES SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 1994 SPORTING AROUND 3J NORTH SUNCOAST WEEKEND EVENTS Today and Sunday I "Jr Jew, t. i 1 I mm, i 1 Sj --J" J' Photo by LAURA BOOTH On the rain-restored Withlacoochee, you can float for hours without seeing another boat or a house.

Wotfofacooclhiee: back to foeaoiy Touring bikes: Touring bike riders from the North Suncoast can head to the Gainesville Cycling Festival, held on the rolling, country roads near the University of Florida. Routes vary from 29 to 103 miles throughout the weekend. Call (904) 378-7063. Tennis tournaments: The Brooksville Junior Bonanza tennis tournament is being held at McKethan Park in Brooksville and an adult compass tourmament is being held at the Hernando Park library courts in Brooksville. Entry deadline is passed, but spectators are welcome.

TONIGHT AT THE SPEEDWAY Where: Citrus County Speedway, U.S. 41 two miles south of Inverness. What: Heats and feature races for Late Models, Sportsman, Mini Stocks, Street Stocks and Bombers on the quarter-mile paved oval track. When: Gates open at 5 p.m.; racing starts at 7. Pit gates open at 3:30 p.m.

Admission: $8 for adults, $6 for students and seniors, $2 for children ages 6-12, and free to children under 6 accompanied by an adult. Pits admission is $15. Parking is free. Notes: Standings did not change after last week's races were rained out. Brooksville's Frank Coleman holds a 33-point lead over Inverness' Kevin Fults in the Mini Stock division.

Fults also is involved in another close race, trailing Brooksville's Victor Stanley by 98 in the Street Stocks division. Commanding leads are held in the other three regular divisions Brooksville's Lee Blevins in Late Models, Inverness' Herb Neumann Jr. in Sportsman, and Crystal River's Mike Veltman in Bombers but racing should be hot and heavy with only five weeks left in the season and more than 100 drivers going for top-10 finishes. OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK UPCOMING EVENTS Mountain bikes: Mountain bikers are preparing at the Gran Canyon course near Brooksville for the fourth annual Caloi Florida State Mountain Bike Championships, a six-race fall series 4iv7i'; i beginning this weekend. Call (813) 546-0630.

Florida Trail Association hike: A strenuous 10-to-1 2-mile Florida Trail Association hike is planned Oct. 15 at the Lake Panasoffkee Tract (formerly the Hanover Shoe Company Farm). The pubic is welcome. Call hike leader Mike Morris at (904) 799-1063 for time and place to meet. JOB OUTDOORS A canoeist makes a stop at Trail's End Camp, just downriver Heavy rains have restored the river to its pristine state, giving an illusion of complete wilderness at times.

By DAN DeWITT Times Slatt Writer BNOBLETON the last five years of generally low rainfall, I've taken a lot of disheartening canoe trips on the Withlacoochee River. I've seen it when it was a series of stagnant, scum-covered pools. To imagine the flow of a healthy river, I usually had to look up at the water marks on the cypress trees. But heavy rains this summer, I discovered on a recent (though prior to the flooding rains of this week) three-day trip, have restored the Withlacoochee to what I'd always heard it was: a remarkably pristine and beautiful river despite being an easy drive from more than a million people. The Withlacoochee's source is only about 70 miles from downtown Tampa.

It is less than an hour from anywhere on the Nature Coast and 10 minutes from my home in Brooksville. Several times during our trip we floated for hours without seeing another boat or a house. The illusion was of complete wilderness. Finding ourselves in such a setting so close to home was pleasantly disorienting, like looking in the back yard and seeing snow-covered mountains. There are no major sources of industrial pollution as the Withlacoochee flows 157 miles from the Green Swamp to Yankeetown, said Philip Rhinesmith, an environmental Water hyacinths, considered a nuisance, nevertheless look lush and produce stunning purple blossoms.

THE FISH 20-pound snook. Capt. Dennis Royston of Hudson reported seeing schools of snook in the shallows at the mouths of nearly every creek up and down the coast They are spooky and must be approached quietly. Long, accurate casts are needed to entice a strike. Royston said he has seen several catches approaching 25 pounds.

Capt. Bob McCue said he has averaged eight snook a day in the 8-10-pound range, with the largest 15. The water temperature is at an ideal point for snook and should remain good this month. White bait is still preferred for saltwater snook angling, while Rattle Traps, Cotee Reel Magics, and Bombers are working in freshwater areas. Jeff Newman took a 32V2-inch, 9-pound snook while wading near Green Key Beach and using a J.J.

goldwhite spoon. Mitch and Dale Vespar brought a 35-inch snook and a large Bj1iup.T' ill Family Bicycle Tour: The Association for Retarded CitizensPasco Foundation's inaugural Family Bicycle Tour, a non-competitive event held to raise money for children and adults with developmental disabilities, will be held Oct. 16 over the roads of east Pasco County. A 50-mile ride starts at 8 a.m. Rides and 25 and 7 miles, and a 1 mile walkride, start at 8:30 a.m.

All rides begin and end in San Antonio City Park, located east of Interstate 75 at the Dade City exit. The tour is being held in cooperation with the San Antonio Rattlesnake Festival. Riders can register at San Antonio Cyclery and Brooksville Bicycle Center, among other locations. Pre-registration costs $15. Tour-day registration costs $18.

Call Chopper Davis at (813) 942-5454. NATURE NOTES Here's a little history refresher on the Pittman-Robertson Act. Actually called the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, this 1937 legislation provided an excise tax on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. Of the money made available to each state, 62 percent is used to buy, develop, maintain and operate wildlife management areas; 26 percent is used for surveys and research necessary to restore wildlife; and 7 percent is used to finance hunter education programs that reach about 650,000 people nationwide each year. Signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt, the act put into effect a system whereby the people using the nation's wildlife resource also played a role in protecting its future.

OUTDOORS CLUBS The West Coast Bass Busters Fishing Club meets at 7:30 p.m. the first Monday of each month at James White Plumbing, Crystal River. For more information, call (904) 795-5418. The Pasco County Bass Masters meet at 7:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the Palm Harbor Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave.

For more information, call 847-5321 or 868-3091 during the evening. The Florida State Bass Association meets at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month at Spring Hill Lanes. Call (evenings) Gary Petersen at (904) 683-0529 or Walt Perrell at (813) 868-6111. Central Florida Bass 'N Gals meet on the third Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m.

at the Moonrise Resort in Floral City. For more information, call Bobbie at (904) 726-8181 or Fay at (904) 726-8216. The Dade City Bass Club meets at 7:30 p.m. on the Wednesday after tournaments at Kiefer's Sporting Goods. For specifics on meeting dates, call Dicky Brown at 567-0595.

The Spring Hill Fishing Club meets at 7:30 p.m. the third Friday of each month at the Spring Hill Community Center. For more information, call (904) 683-3185. Compiled by JOANNE KORTH and TIM BUCKLEY (north) from County Road 48. rafts of water hyacinths, which are considered a nuisance but nevertheless look lush and produce stunning purple blossoms.

At Turner Fish Camp, we chatted with the bar patrons, most of whom had been in the crowd of 400 at a grand-opening barbecue the night before, and decided to press on with no particular campsite in mind. Big Blue Spring seemed a possibility. We found it a beautiful pool of clear water. But we also found six guys standing in the rain, rapidly killing a case of beer. We paddled on as the sky grew darker and the drizzle became a storm.

With a fear of frogs, lingering creeps from our stop at the spring, and an instinctive dislike of swamps, Laura made it clear for the first time that this trip was no longer fun. I was cursing myself for our lack of planning. We finally camped on a grassy bank within earshot of County Road 200. The rain stopped and we built a small fire. While the vegetarian chili simmered, I came to the conclusion that we had paddled about 29 miles and that microbrewery snobs have come to badly underestimate the joy of an ice-cold Budweiser.

The next, mercifully sunny morning, we paddled 15 miles of curving river. We called Meers, and took a swim in the spring-fed Rainbow River at Dunnellon. And on the ride back to Nobleton, we savored the feeling that we had not only gazed at those mountains in our back yard, but climbed them. Reports also have Spanish mackerel showing up as close as the channel markers of Hudson in 6 feet of water. Mangrove snapper have become very active around the small rock piles and bird racks.

freshwater The most consistent bass fishing appears to be at Lake Tarpon In Pinellas County. Big Lake Henderson in Inverness has started producing large numbers of fish, according to local expert Bud Andrews. For the best bass fishing, get away from the tannin-stained water and back into the weeds. Bass also are found along the edges of lily pads. Andrews reported catching 28 one day and 26 another.

Early morning and late afternoon are best. The speck (crappie) fishing has improved greatly and many shellcracker are biting. On the Withlacoochee River, Angler's Resort reports good catches of crappie, bluegill and shellcracker. The bass fishing is Just so-so. On the Suwannee, bass and panfish are fair; catfish catches have been good.

BILL EATON rented us a canoe for $20 a day and agreed to pick us up whenever we got tired and wanted to quit. We had about 100 pounds of food, clothes and equipment tied down in case we capsized and packed in two layers of stuff sacks to protect against the inevitable rain. Setting off at 1 p.m., we aimed for Trail's End Camp, about 10 miles to the north of Meer's place. At Istachatta, the river widens to a series of lakes. The advantage is that you enjoy a spacious beauty, with pastures full of browsing cattle on some banks and deep woods on others.

The disadvantage is, with no current, we had to do all the work. But the weekend boat traffic had thinned and it was a sunny and relaxed trip. About 4 p.m. we saw the Trail's End dock just downriver (north on the Withlacoochee) from County Road 48. The people at Trail's End were friendly.

But the camp sites were more geared towards recreational vehicles than tents. They have a bar, a big-screen television, and a sign in the store that said, "Beer: More than just a breakfast drink." Our night there seemed to break the spell of the wilderness. The next day, we had only one apparent option, Turner Fish Camp about 5 river miles north of the State Road 44 bridge in Citrus County. In the morning, we passed the Flying Eagle Ranch in brilliant sunshine. We spotted great blue herons, dozens of little blue herons, ibises and snowy egrets, kingfishers, ospreys and limpkins.

There were In the St. Martin's Key area, Chuck and Bonnie Ergle and Bill and Susan Dorahush caught several reds averaging 7V2 pounds. They used the Aquatic Hunter Shrimp Tout in the root beer color. They also caught and released keeper-sized trout. Trout also are very active in the Suwannee River area.

Dr. Ron Veasey of Augusta, Ga. has been catching 20-40 pounds every day he gets out. Capt. Pete Arrono of Strieker Marine in Crystal River guided Dr.

Mario Menzizabal and his wife Benna to the St. Martin's Key area where they caught and released many trout and reds using MirrOlures. Arrono then caught and released 20 to 30 trout in 2 feet of water using streamers and floating gold pin popper flies on his flyrod. The "Kid's Catch of the Week" is an 18'4-inch, 31-pound black drum taken by Larry McDermit 4, from the Cotee River using frozen shrimp. He was fishing with his dad.

Another good catch was Cindy Conners' 5'2-pound sheepshead from the Suwannee River. Whiting also are being caught in the Suwannee area. scientist with the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud). Tannin from the cypress trees tints it the color of weak coffee and the water smells faintly of swamp. But when we swam in it, we climbed out feeling clean.

"It is relatively pristine because of the amount of land along the edge that is in natural condition," said Rhinesmith. "On a scale of one to 10, it's about a nine." Most people take in the river on day trips, offered by both of the canoe liveries in Nobleton. But these can be crowded. And, having done the standard tour from Silver Lake several times, I wanted to see more of the river, especially where it is flanked by the massive Tsala Apopka chain of lakes, sometimes called the Little Everglades. I like to camp.

Laura, my fiance, agreed to accompany me only if I could guarantee her a shower every night. This, and the fact we began planning on short notice, limited us to privately owned campgrounds. Primitive camping, on the other hand, is easy to arrange in advance. Swiftmud issues permits for riverside campsites on both the Potts Preserve and the Flying Eagle Ranch. One of the liveries, the Canoe Outpost in Nobleton, offers extended trips, complete with planned campsites.

It was not able to accommodate us on short notice, so we called Bob Meers, owner of the one-year-old Nobleton Canoe Rental, and found him both flexible and cheap. He REPORT red drum to Pete's Corner Store in Hudson this week. Redfish angling has been phenomenal since the season opened last month. They are everywhere, from the Suwannee River to Tarpon Springs. Up around the Suwannee, they are found on the flats.

In Inglis, they are around the spoil islands of the barge canal. In Crystal River, Ozello and Homosassa, they are around the inshore islands and creeks. From Weeki Wachee to New Port Richey, they are on the oyster bars and shallow flats. The best bait is live shrimp or white bait. The best lures are gold spoons.

Linda and Lou Bennilli caught and released 12 reds and many small grass grouper from around the stilt houses at Port Richey using live shrimp and cut bait. In Homosassa, Kelly Knowles caught a limit of reds for several days, most in the 22-25-inch range. Some large kingfish have been reported off Hernando Beach by Nancy Forbisher of Hernando Beach Bait Tackle. A few dolphin (mahi mahi) have been caught way out in 80-100 feet of water on weed lines. 'inshore Cobia seem to be ruling the inshore waters, and very close to shore.

Derrick Ryder, 14, of Hernando Beach was fishing from the seawall near Gulfview Channel with cut bait and hooked a 36-inch cobia he fought for 45 minutes on 6-pound test line. Other cobia have been caught in water 2 feet deep. Paul Givens of Port Richey was using live pinfish on the north side of Anclote Island In 5-6 feet of water and landed two cobia of 38 and 40 inches. George Anderson, owner of Anglers Resort on the Suwannee River, and his son Oscar caught cobia measuring 33 and 35 inches. A strong contender for top fish this month is the snook.

They are being found ail the way up to Crystal River. Bob Parrott was fishing live shiners for redfish at the mouth of the Homosassa River and caught a IN GENERAL Again this week, wind and rain have kept many anglers ashore. But the Nature Coast is experiencing the best saltwater fishing inshore in years. Every species is producing nice catches. OFFSHORE A 52-inch barracuda taken by Bill Belsky of Spring Hill aboard the Light'n last week was just one of many large barracudas reported hanging around boats that are working the offshore reefs and rock piles.

These silver speedsters are looking for a good meal. Ironically, they don't bother with the grunt and undersized grouper. They wait until a good fish is hooked and then strike at it before it can be brought out of the water. Rain, wind and waves have kept most boats away from the really good water. Capt.

Jim Bradley ran his boat back from the Suwannee River to the Weekl Wachee and said he dodged seven waterspouts and numerous storms. He did stop a few times to catch a limit of grouper..

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