Pilchards and threadfin herring that are in the bays the rest of the year move to deeper waters of the Gulf and the greater depths of the Egmont Key
Ship's Channel leading into Tampa Bay, making the Skyway Fishing Piers great landlubber fishing destinations holding grouper, snapper, silver and speckled trout, Spanish mackerel, flounder, sheepshead, and more.
And many Sundays after church, the father of four takes his family to Egmont Key
for a picnic.
In the early morning hours of May 9, 1980, local pilot John Lerro took control of the 608-foot, 19,734-ton Liberian freighter, Summit Venture, which had anchored off Egmont Key
awaiting a pilot so that it could enter the bay to pick up a load of phosphate from one of the many phosphate-loading docks on the bay.
Captured Indians were sent to Egmont Key
for shipment west.
Apart from swimming or enjoying watersports, join the Dolphin Watch cruise, take the new Hovercraft to the Crusoe-like island of Egmont Key
, home to wild turtles, or visit the famous Suncast Seabird Sanctuary.
My final day started with a boat trip to Egmont Key
, a stunning State Park island and designated Wildlife Refuge, where sea turtles roam free.
Educators will snorkel with manatees, experience a delicate ecosystem at Egmont Key
, and Crystal Springs Preserve, and study sharks with scientists at the Mote Marine Lab, a world-leading shark research center.
If you follow the weedlines out of Tampa Bay and into the Egmont Key
Ship's Channel you'll find tarpon, cobia, mackerel, permit and other predators lined up waiting in the chow line.
But perhaps the best-kept secrets are Caladesi Island and Egmont Key
- state parks reached only by boat.
Egmont Pass, at the entry to Tampa Bay, is the deepest natural pass on the west coast, and actually is the deepest pass in Florida, plummeting to 90 feet at the max off the north tip of Egmont Key
The second floor houses an excellent seafood restaurant with a panorama from the Egmont Key
Lighthouse at the mouth of Tampa Bay to the Sunshine Skyway bridge.
I fished from the Clam Bar to Mullet Key at Fort Desoto, out to the flats Near the lighthouse on Egmont Key
and then ran down to Big Sarasota Pass.