Sunday, December 17, 2017
Outdoors

Outdoors news and notes: Federal, state officials to examine grouper regulations

Making news

Grouper change Talks A part of FWC meeting

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will meet Feb. 13-14 in Orlando to discuss several fisheries issues that will affect anglers in the coming year.

The big news involves grouper proposals. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council recently voted to eliminate the current Feb. 1 through March 31 shallow-water grouper closed season shoreward of the 20-fathom break. The recreational harvest of red, black, scamp, yellowfin and yellowmouth grouper would be permitted all year unless anglers are fishing in water deeper than 20 fathoms. Beyond 20 fathoms, the Feb. 1-March 31 recreational closed season would remain in effect. But before this becomes law, the Secretary of Commerce must approve the changes.

In regard to gag grouper, the Gulf Council chose to open the season July 1 in federal waters, which begin 9 miles offshore in the gulf, and keep it open until the annual catch target has been met, which by best estimates, will take 133 to 155 days. The season will probably close sometime in November. This rule must also be approved by the Secretary of Commerce. The state will follow the federal rules in most of its waters, except for the state waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties, which, according to the proposal, would open April 1.

Closures arrive

While state and federal officials work out future regulations, anglers should take note that the season for several species of grouper closes today in state and federal waters of the gulf. They include: black, red, yellowmouth, yellowfin grouper, scamp, red hind and rock hind. The season will reopen April 1. Gag grouper has a separate season and is now closed to harvest.

Solunar chart

AM PM

Minor Major Minor Major

2/1 9:25 3:15 9:55 3:40

2/2 10:20 4:10 10:50 4:35

2/3 11:15 5:05 11:45 5:30

2/4 0 5:55 12:05 6:25

2/5 12:40 6:50 1:00 7:20

2/6 1:35 7:45 1:55 8:15

2/7 2:30 8:40 2:50 9:10

Comments

Captainís Corner: Bottom fishing is good with dropping gulf water temperatures

The past few weeks have delivered lots of cold air, dropping water temperatures in the gulf. Thermometers are reading in the low 60s. This is going to change a few things closer to shore. Anglers will find an absence of kingfish on many of the spots ...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Look for that strong speckled trout bite on grass flats

The speckled trout bite has taken off nicely after the first good cold front last weekend. You will find a consistent bite along the grass flats from Apollo Beach down to Pinellas Point. The sweet spot seems to be 4-6 feet of water. If you can find s...
Published: 12/15/17

Captainís Corner: Drop in gulf water temperature means itís sea trout time

The gulf temperature has dropped significantly since our first real cold front last week. One day the water was in the mid 70s, then after the front, it fell to the low 60s. That caused speckled sea trout to become a reliable target. Redfish have bee...
Published: 12/14/17

Captainís Corner: Good time for shallow-water flats fishing

Shallow-water flats fishing can be very exciting this time of year. Trout and redfish are available in good numbers, and the opportunities to catch some gator trout have made recent trips very rewarding. Some of the largest trout have been in very sk...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/13/17

Captainís Corner: Seek clear water for bottom fishing as temperatures plummet

The great weather, calm seas and exceptional fishing we experienced at the end of November and beginning of December came to a screeching halt with the cold front that came through. Surface water temperatures plummeted from an unseasonable 71 degrees...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Captainís Corner: Sheepshead action lively in cooler weather

Conditions after the cold front are cool and are going to be for a while. That doesnít mean you canít or shouldnít fish. Many anglers get stuck on snook, reds and trout and forget how fun it is to catch sheepshead. Many reefs are already holding good...
Published: 12/09/17
Updated: 12/10/17

Captainís Corner: Fishing will return to normal, but when?

The severity of this cold front will determine the fishing forecast for the next several days. Bait that had been abundant inshore will scatter. Nearshore gulf waters will muddy, and water temperatures. at least temporarily. will plummet. How cold, h...
Published: 12/08/17
Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

Captainís Corner: Planning around fronts can lead to productive days

I canít believe we are in the last month of the year. And while this is one of my favorite months to fish, it will be controlled by weather. As cold fronts become more frequent and harsh, planning your trips around them will make the biggest differen...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/09/17

Captainís Corner: Strong results for redfish, speckled trout

This is a great time for variety. Combined trips for speckled trout and redfish are achieving excellent results. With the correct approach, great catches of both species are a reality now. The best anglers use the lightest tackle. Light rods and reel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Captainís Corner: Take advantage of abundant gag grouper before season ends

Gag grouper fishing and spearing is hot. The season for these grouper in the Gulf of Mexico is winding down, with a slated closure at the end of this month. The cooler water has the gags moving closer, and they are happy when the bottom temperatures ...
Published: 12/05/17