Outing Preview: Blackthorn Memorial
(I-275 rest area)

Our next outing on July 22 is identified as the Blackthorn Memorial outing because this is where we meet for lunch. Participants can fish in Tampa Bay within sight of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Lunch will be ready at 11 am.

This is a lot of water open for fishing. My favorite spot is the bay side of the rest area south of the bridge. I have caught snook and redfish on chartreuse and white closures, and trout on EP minnows at that location.

And, of course I have a story of a "giant" unidentified monster that got away. I am not sure what it was, but my best guess is that it was a very large Crevalle Jack that hit a reddish Half and Half and took me well into my backing before biting through my tippet.

Lunch will be at the Blackthorn Memorial rest stop north of Sunshine Skyway Bridge starting at 11 am with coffee, drinks, and donuts starting at 10 am. Our target fish is redfish.

There is an interesting history on the Blackthorn Memorial rest stop: The USCGC Blackthorn (WLB-391) was a 180-foot seagoing buoy tender which sank in 1980 in a collision near the Tampa Bay Sunshine Skyway Bridge, resulting in 23 crew member fatalities.

On 28 January 1980, while leaving Tampa Bay after the completion of an overhaul, she collided with the tanker SS Capricorn. Shortly after the collision, Blackthorn capsized, killing 23 of her crew. The cutter was raised for the investigation, but ultimately was scuttled in the Gulf of Mexico after the investigation of the accident was complete. She currently serves as an artificial reef for recreational diving and fishing 20 miles offshore.

So, while we enjoy our day fishing and eating with friends, we should spend a minute to acknowledge the 23 crew members of the Blackthorn who died on that day and all of the service men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our great county. It is because of them that we can enjoy days like this with friends on the water. - Bob


The interactive map below can be repositioned by clicking on it with your mouse and dragging it left, right, or up and down.