Outdoors

Outdoors notebook: Dec. 31, 2014

▪ Friends of Fakahatchee will present four different tours of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park in January: the Ghost Rider tram tour; boardwalk after dark walking tour; combined tram tour and swamp walk; and a biologist-led swamp walk. For reservations and information, visit www.orchidswamp.org.

▪ The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reminds anglers that shallow-water grouper harvest season will close in Atlantic waters and in the Keys from Thursday through April30. The closure applies to red, black, gag, yellowmouth, yellowfin, tiger, scamp, red hind, rock hind, coney and graysby groupers. For more information, visit myFWC.com.

▪ Offshore anglers are invited to sign up for the “world’s oldest sailfish tournament” — the Silver Sailfish Derby — Jan.8-9 at Sailfish Marina on Singer Island. New this year is a two-day format. For more information, visit www.westpalmbeachfishingclub.org or call 561-832-6780.

▪ Make plans to compete in the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament, Jan.15-18 in Islamorada. It’s the second leg of the Florida Keys Gold Cup series, which pays $25,000 to the winners. Entry fee is $695 for the first angler; $645 for each additional angler up to four through Jan.7. Call Julie Olsen at 305-517-4449 or email jolsen@cheeca.com.

▪ Paddle nearly 80 miles of the Florida Keys with Paddle Florida, Jan.15-22. The trip begins at Long Key State Park and ends at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Key West. Meals and shuttle service are included. Fee is $850 per person. A shorter, four-day Paddle Florida Lite trip also will be offered. Registration deadline is Friday. For more information, visit www.ocoos.com/me/paddle-florida-2/Florida-keys-challenge-registration-5156.html or call 352-377-8342.

▪ The Florida Powerboat Club will present a Winter Poker Run & Regatta, Jan.23-25 in Marathon. The event features an on-water poker run, plus automotive and flying displays and activities. Headquarters is the Hyatt Place Hotel at Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club. For more information, visit www.flpowerboat.com.

▪ 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 Com-merce, mile marker 31, U.S.1. For more information, call 1-800-872-3722.

▪ Compete in the 2015 Wahoo Smackdown, held Feb.5-7 at the Bimini Big Game Club and Marina. Entry fee is $1,500. Visit www.biggameclubbimini.com or call 954-925-2020.

▪ Twin Palms Center for the Disabled will host a Charity Billfish Blast, Feb.13-14 at the Ocean Reef Club in North Key Largo. Entry fee is $1,500 per boat with up to four anglers by Feb.1. For more information, call Lisa Muskell at 561-392-5444 or Edgar Benes at 561-866-6075.

▪ 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 to get more information, visit www.nps.gov/bisc.

To our readers

This page is a regular weekly feature focusing on Florida outdoors adventures. Email scocking@MiamiHerald.com.

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