Saturday, June 23, 2018

Outdoors news and notes: Gag grouper season closed

Making news

Gag Grouper season closed

The recreational gag grouper season closed Wednesday in most state waters of the Gulf of Mexico (within 9 miles of shore). The state season will reopen in July, except for the waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties, which will be open April 1 through June 30. Monroe County is also excluded because it follows Atlantic rules for gag grouper. But if you are bottom fishing offshore for other species, you are bound to catch gags, so make sure you have the right gear aboard so the fish can survive upon release. Federal law no longer requires anglers to carry a venting tool on board, but they are required to have a dehooking device. When used properly, dehooking devices allow anglers to retrieve the hook from the catch without touching the fish's body and harming the slime layer that protects the fish from disease. Anglers are also required in both state and federal waters (beyond 9 miles in the gulf) to use circle hooks when bottom fishing. These contraptions dramatically reduce the chance of gut-hooking a fish.

State sets days for license-free fishing

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently approved more license-free fishing days, so mark you calendars. These days should remain in place from year to year. All eight free fishing days will fall on the same day from year to year, which will allow fishermen to plan in advance. The free saltwater fishing days will be the first Saturday and Sunday in June, the first Saturday in September and the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The free freshwater fishing days will be the first Saturday and Sunday in April and the second Saturday and Sunday in June. All other fishing and boating rules and regulations still apply. See fishing for all the details.

Send news to Terry Tomalin at [email protected] or call (727) 893-8808.

Solunar chart


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12/6 8:20 2:10 8:55 2:40

12/7 9:25 3:15 9:55 3:40

12/8 10:20 4:10 10:50 4:35

12/9 11:15 5:05 11:45 5:30

12/10 0 5:50 12:00 6:15

12/11 12:30 6:35 12:45 7:00

12/12 1:15 7:15 1:25 7:40


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