▪ Saturday is the final saltwater license-free fishing day in Florida coastal waters for 2014. That means resident and out-of-state anglers do not need a fishing license to fish in the ocean, bays or Intracoastal Waterway for one day. If an angler should happen to catch a saltwater grand slam in one of several categories and post it on Instagram or Twitter, he or she will win a fishing prize pack. A grand slam means catching and documenting three fish in a category in a 24-hour period. For details on the program, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “saltwater” then on “angler recognition.”
▪ Snook harvest season will close in the Keys, Everglades National Park, and Gulf from Monday through Feb.28 when the fish are most vulnerable to cold water temperatures. Snook will be closed to harvest in Atlantic waters Dec.15 through Jan.31. For more information, visit myFWC.com.
▪ Biscayne National Park offers new and expanded free programs through April30. They include manatee walks, shoreline snorkeling, guided canoe trips, dip-netting programs, Family Fun Fests, and lionfish dissecting. Free trolley transportation is provided on weekends from Homestead. For a schedule and more information, visit www.nps.gov/bisc.
▪ The Hollywood Hills Saltwater Fishing, Science, and Social Club will meet 7 p.m. at Shenanigan’s East Side Pub, 1300 S. Federal Highway, Dania Beach. University of Miami professor Harry DeFerrari will discuss the use of sound in oceanographic research. For more information, visit http://www.meetup.com/Hollywood-Hills-Saltwater-Fishing-Science-and-Social-Club/.
▪ Big Cypress National Preserve will celebrate its 40th anniversary from 7p.m. to 10p.m. Dec.5 with food, drink, and live music at the Collier County Museum, 3331 Tamiami Trail East, Naples. Tickets are $75 and $125. The preserve will hold its Swamp Heritage Festival from 10:30a.m. to 4p.m. Dec.6 at the Big Cypress Welcome Center, 33000 Tamiami Trail East. Ochopee. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/bicy.
▪ Join the Friends of Fakahatchee for a holiday boat cruise from Everglades National Park to Fakahatchee Island on Dec.22. Tickets are $80 and reservations are required. Visit www.orchidswamp.org.
▪ Buy fishing tackle and other marine tools and equipment at reduced prices from 8a.m. to 2p.m. Jan. 17-18 at the Big Pine Key Nautical Flea Market at the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, milemarker 31, U.S. 1. For more information, call 1-800-872-3722.
To our readers
This page is a regular weekly feature focusing on Florida outdoors adventures. Email scocking@MiamiHerald.com.