Since 1989, master fishing guide Eli Rico has spent more than 250 days of the year traveling through various states to ensure his clients have the best opportunity to hook their desired catch. This full-time captain is so dedicated to the hunt that he fully customizes each charter based on the client's needs. During his Florida charters, he navigates towards optimal spots to catch the 200+ fish that call the Tampa Bay their home, including tarpon, snook, and red fish, as well as the vast undersea populations of the Gulf of Mexico.
In Washington, he specializes in salmon, steelhead, trout, and sturgeon charters, leading fellow anglers along the river and lake systems as well as out onto Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula and cleaning their catches before they bring them home.
Masked warriors charge over the top of trench fortifications, spearheading an attack on enemy lines, spurred on by a telltale popping noise and flurry of splattered paint. "I don't care if you're a man, woman, child or 65-year-old grandma, you're going to get an adrenaline rush," Owner John Gross told the Tampa Bay Times, speaking to paintball and airsoft sports’ ability to bring out that competitive spirit in almost everyone, from military folks to birthday-party guests.
Players of all ages and stripes engage in friendly combat on the rolling slopes of six separate fields, which sport obstacles and features such as mock-pillboxes, buildings, and a hulking U.N. tank. Visitors ambush, flank, and outmaneuver opposing teams using the field’s arsenal of pigment-hurling paintball cannons, or more realistic pellet-shooting airsoft rifles. Referees carefully watch play to ensure soldiers adhere to house safety rules and Geneva Convention standards.
Looking out at the quiet, moonlit waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it’s impossible to know what’s on the line, other than that it’s big. Word has spread around the deep-sea-fishing boat, and now a crowd has gathered on either side of you. You pull the fishing pole back and guide whatever is snagged on the other end of the line nearer and nearer. The splashes gradually become louder. A few fellow fishermen help pull the creature onto the boat, and proudly hold the fish up for the crowd.
There are countless deep-sea-fishing tales like this one to be told at Hubbard’s Marina. During its many day or night fishing trips, its crew and guest fishermen board the US Coast Guard–certified vessels for excursions into the Gulf to reel in fish of all sizes. Not only does Hubbard's Marina offer fishing trips, but they also allow opportunities for people to visit and observe Florida wildlife in their natural habitat. Animals such as dolphins, pelicans,manatees, and bald eagles can bee seen from the boat. After cruises, visitors can go shopping along the picturesque boardwalk and enjoy the local culture and history in the quaint fishing village.
They also captain sunset cruises, dolphin-watching cruises, kayak tours, rent kayaks and paddle boards, and even take to the streets during segway tours.
The certified instructors at SailLaser St. Petersburg acquaint students with the theory and practice of sailing during two-hour hands-on lessons. During semiprivate Intro to Sailing courses, swashbucklers learn the basic navigational techniques of seafaring, enabling them to deftly skipper skiffs without asking a shark for directions. The introductory sessions max out at 20 students, ensuring that each participant receives plenty of guidance while practicing boat handling and sailing skills.
With the 2011 season looming large, FC Tampa Bay will attempt to pass, tackle, and score its way to NASL glory at the club's new home at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg. Currently headed up by English coach and retired professional footballer Ricky Hill, the FC Tampa Bay team are chest-trapping, banana-kicking, and head-butting their way back into the world of black-and-white-spotted balls. Watch them take on the Puerto Rico Islanders, who are hungry to work their way up the 2011 standings, or root on the roster as the team guns for the fleet-footed Atlanta Silverbacks, slippery Carolina Railhawks, or northerly FC Edmonton. General-admission seats allow frenetic fans to observe the fantastic flairs of NASL soccer savants as they attempt to sneak the European pigskin between an opponent’s legs and through the goal zone. The $20 gift voucher can be put toward merchandise such as a jersey, a scarf, or an oversized foam yellow card.
Today's elegant Groupon makes you the VI-est of VIPs: $25 gets you into the exclusive Treasure Island Yacht & Tennis Club for $50 worth of fine cuisine. TIYTC is a world-class private club located on the idyllic Boca Ciega Bay of Treasure Island. Normally, only club members have access to Treasure Island’s dining room and amenities, but the kind folks there are making an exception for this deal and opening their doors to the equally exclusive ranks of Groupies, giving you a chance to dip your upscale toes in the waters of luxury. Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
The thrum of the speedboat's engine carries through the water like an ice-cream truck's jingle. A 4-foot-high wake trails behind, fanning out into a fork as the speed increases and the passengers ready their cameras. Soon, a glistening fin breaks the surface. The first bottlenose dolphin seems to levitate on top of the wave while it bodysurfs for the sheer fun of it, then disappears back into the sea. Its pod follows suit, leaping, splashing, and riding the swells, soaking up the attention of the human spectators.
Sights like this are typical on the Dolphin Racer Speed Boat. The sunny yellow craft skirts across the Gulf of Mexico on 60- to 75-minute trips while up to 125 people lounge on the open deck and the captain narrates the sights of the passing beaches. Ample viewing space ensures that cameras can capture split-second jumps and spins when the dolphins heed the call to play. Whether it's because of the thrill of breaching, the pride in their celebrity status, or an underwater bet to see who can communicate with humans first, the dolphins' presence is virtually guaranteed—the boat offers a complimentary future cruise in the case of no-shows.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.