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June gets off to busy start for outdoors enthusiasts

Some things of note from the local outdoors scene the past few weeks:

n First, now is the time for tarpon, as they return from spawning far offshore. Their travel as we come off the full moon no doubt will leave them hungry and ready to feed.

Down in Boca Grande, the Pro Tarpon Tournament Series is being held, and Capt. T.J. Stewart, born and raised in Manatee County, has guided MyELS.com/Castaway Charters to fifth place among a field of 53 professional boaters after the third week of this five-week tournament.

Last week, Stewart’s team successfully leadered five tarpon to earn Most Releases honors, the most in a single day this season, for 50 points.

I had the honor of fishing with Stewart and his crew during a practice session a week ago, and Stewart, of Cast Away Charters, put me on three fish that had me dizzy and gripping the gunwale. Stewart is doing Manatee County proud.

n Speaking of the PTTS, last weekend Capt. Artie Price of Team Miller’s Ale House weighed in a 217-pound tarpon, the largest fish weighed in a live release tarpon fishing tournament as Team Miller took first place in week three.

n Oh, don’t bother fishing Boca Grande Pass unless you either have fished there before, or you enjoy being mobbed by dozens of furious tarpon anglers.

Instead, head off our local beaches or around the Sunshine Skyway where tarpon are collecting. Egmont Key is another area that some consider our own little Boca Grande Pass because of all the boats that can collect there. At times, pass crabs whip through the current and anglers net up the crabs at the side of their boat and use them as bait.

n The Redfish Tournament at Coquina Beach took place last weekend, where Bradenton residents Robert Permane, 53, and John Duey, 54, won the title for a $4,000 pot. The tournament, run by Chris Egler, raised $7,500 for charity. More information is on www.bassforbucks.com.

n As long as we’re talking tournaments, the 13th annual DeSoto Fishing Tournament will be held July 10-12. It is an offshore and inshore tournament with cash and prizes that total more than $25,000.

But we all know it’s about who can brag the rest of the year about their fishing prowess.

The captain’s meeting will take place Friday evening, with a Sunday weigh-in at the Bradenton Yacht Club. For more information, or to register, visit www.desotohq.com.

n Finally, those who can stand the heat are loving what can only be described as the best fishing in the world right now, with options from bluegill to tarpon, grouper to snook, and kingfish to stump knockers and every hook-knocking fish in between.

Just don’t underestimate the power of the south Florida sun. If you’ve ever seen a local man with a patch where his nose was, you know what I mean.

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