Saturday, December 30, 2017

Manatees, Tarpon, and Jack Crevalle

We have been extremely lucky this year, as we have been able to spend a lot of time with Jen and Eric. Eric has been busy working but Jen is currently applying for a job as a nurse practitioner. So, we never know which day she is available as the job interviews, and call backs can be very sudden.
It has been a few years since we had last gone to see the manatees, at the power plant on the east side of Tampa Bay. One of the local news stations had shown a vast number of manatees by the power plant, and so we decided to make a manatee trip!
Jen had the day free and, so she drove us in her new car around the bay and to the power plant. As we approached the first parking lot we saw that it was full and, so we drove past the second and third lots before finally finding a parking spot in the overflow area.
Shuttles were available, but we decided to walk the short distance and return by walking to the distant observation tower. As I am counting my daily steps on my Fit bit, I always appreciate a nice walk! The trail took us to the manatee viewing headquarters and what t a crowd of people!
A warm front had returned and so there were a lot more people than manatees! In fact, the manatees, were quite some ways away from the viewing platform. You probably know why they are there as they come in from the bay to keep warm in the water discharges.
In the above image you can barely make out their resting shapes as they are so far away! A sign was posted stating that he best place to see the manatees was out on the long viewing pier and, so we walked out there stopping almost immediately to see that the warm water had not attracted just the manatees but huge schools of tarpon and jack crevalle!
I started to take images as every now and then one of the tarpon would jump. If you look carefully you can see the huge silvery fish, and I so wished fishing were allowed, (I have tried fly casting for tarpon before but have never had a pickup)!
To give you an idea of size the large tarpon are over six feet in length. They can grow to over eight feet and can reach weights of over three hundred and fifty pounds.
Imagine hooking one while in your kayak! The tarpon was intermixed with schools of large Jack Creville.
That’s another fish I have yet to catch and I have heard that they are almost impossible to land on a flyrod!
We watched the fish for quite a while and I caught the end of one of the jumping tarpon. Not a great shot but it was clear across the bay. Schools of sheepshead fed on the posts, and Renita and Jenny spotted a black tip shark.
Occasionally, a deep brown shape would appear as a manatee swam by in the deep water, and I did catch one that had just broached the surface taking a breath. Less often an eagle ray would jump but I never got an image of one. So, the day was a success! On the way back, we walked to the Observation Tower and I got my daily steps!
An extremely harsh cold front is forecast for next week, (highs in the fifties), and so that should make for excellent manatee viewing. We however, will be driving back to Texas, where our parked fifth wheel awaits. Its been a relaxing time here, and we may have to rent a place on the beach again!  Clear 

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. We did the same thing on the East Coast this week with the same results many fish few manatees.