By Jenna Taylor
Photos by Hunter Forbes
Following the holidays, February is a great month to prepare for the busy season ahead, get active and spend some quality time outdoors. We’ve put together a list of five things you can do this month to get outdoors.
1. FISH FOR BULL REDS.
Northwest Florida is synonymous with fishing. Whether it be offshore, bottom, bay fishing or trolling the river, opportunity is always right around the corner to get out and fish.
This time of the year is when you can find the bull reds in the bay. The winter cold fronts cause bait to ball up into tight wads—therefore, you will find the bull reds in tighter schools, making them easier to spot. Contact 30A Guide Service to book a fishing trip. Call 850-687-0572 or visit www.30aguideservice.com.
2. PARKS AND RECREATION.
I don’t know about you, but I use this time of the year to plan and implement healthy habits. Spring is right around the corner, making it the perfect time to shed a few winter pounds and get active. There are numerous trails to run, bike and ride horseback throughout Destin and along 30A.
See below for a few hot spots, and read more at www.emeraldcoastfl.com/things-to-do/outdoor-activities/nature-parks.
Arnett’s Gulfside Trail Rides
613 S County Highway 393, Santa Rosa Beach
Horseback and trail riding along the Emerald Coast.
Eden Gardens State Park
Fees: $4 per vehicle. $4 per person for mansion tour.
Open 8 a.m. until sunset daily. Guided tours of the mansion are Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Leashed pets welcome.
Children’s Park at Morgan Sports Center
4200 Indian Bayou Trail, Destin
This children’s playground park is located on the east side parking lot of the Morgan Sports Center. The park has playground equipment for all youth ages. The park also has picnic tables that are available for rent for birthday parties and family gatherings.
3. SPRING CLEANING.
Yeah, it’s that thing you’ve been pushing off for months. Spring cleaning surely isn’t as fun as the others, but nonetheless important and necessary. It’s the perfect time to get that boat, car or even your house cleaned up before the busy season arrives. Don’t want to do it yourself? Outsource and hire a professional such as Boat Detailers of Northwest Florida or Two Maids and a Mop for your home.
4. COBIA SEASON PREPARATION.
Cobia season is just around the corner. You’ll want to begin finding the right crew for your boat, locking down places that will be selling eel and practicing that sight cast. March 24 brings the opening of the Cobia World Championship, hosted by Harbor Docks.
For more information and to register, visit www.cobiaworldchampionships.com.
5. TURKEY SCOUTING.
Spring turkey season in Florida runs March 18-April 23. February is a great time to prepare for turkey season by practicing your calling, understanding the area that you will be hunting and scouting for turkeys.
Generally, you will scout by walking through the woods and finding signs of turkeys in the area. Look for scratches, feathers, turkey droppings and tracks. From there you can pinpoint where they roost and plan your hunt from there.
You can also scout with binoculars and see which fields they’re feeding in, watching them fly down in the morning and up in the evening. If you don’t have access to private grounds, the Florida Fish & Wildlife offers 42 public hunting areas statewide. You can find more information at myfwc.com/hunting/by-species/turkey/hunt-without-quota-permit.
Life is too short to be stuck inside, so grab a friend and get outdoors!
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