Thursday, April 19, 2018
Outdoors

Outdoors news and notes: Tarpon, snook among species up for special status consideration in Florida

Making news

officials seek input on status for Select fish

Tarpon and snook are two of Florida's most popular species among recreational anglers. But should they be given special status? The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will host a series of "webinars" to gather public input on sport fish and game fish status for these and other popular saltwater fish.

These online events, scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Dec. 10 and Dec. 12, are free and open to the public. But because the same topic will be discussed on both dates, state biologists ask that interested parties only register and participate in one webinar, which can be found at fwc.adobeconnect.com/mfm.

Suggested parameters for "game fish" include no commercial harvest, possession or sale; fish could only be targeted with hook and line; and captain and crew of for-hire vessels such as charter boats would have a bag limit of zero. Species that may get game fish designation include snook, red drum (redfish) and spotted seatrout.

The "sport fish" designation, as proposed, would offer a higher level of protection than game fish by including no recreational harvest as well as no commercial harvest, possession or sale and targeting sport fish only with hook and line. Tarpon could become a catch-and-release-only fishery if new rules under consideration by the FWC are adopted. Other species that could get sport fish designation include bonefish, permit and billfish.

Florida has game fish rules for several species of freshwater fish, including largemouth bass, but no similar designation for saltwater species. In most states, game fish status means no commercial sale or harvest. Game fish laws vary from state to state along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Texas lists 12 species of game fish, including red drum, sailfish, marlin and tarpon. Louisiana, however, lists just three species: red drum, sailfish and marlin.

Tarpon, one of the most important recreational species in Florida, already currently enjoy an advanced degree of protection. State law requires that anglers who want to "possess or harvest" a tarpon must buy a tag for $50. During the 2011-12 fiscal year anglers purchased 375 tags but, according to the FWC, just six tarpon were kept.

Anglers who come to Florida in search of a world record need not worry. The International Game Fish Association has developed rules for anglers who want to release fish yet have their catches considered for world records. For example, measurements of length and girth can be calculated to give an estimated weight.

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

Solunar chart

AM PM

Minor Major Minor Major

12/7 0 5:50 12:00 6:10

12/8 12:25 6:30 12:40 6:55

12/9 1:10 7:20 1:30 7:45

12/10 2:00 8:10 2:20 8:40

12/11 2:55 9:05 3:15 9:35

12/12 3:50 10:05 4:15 10:40

12/13 4:55 11:10 5:20 11:35

Comments
Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

Captainís Corner: Trout moving toward the beaches

After significant winds from a front last week, things are calming down and fish are turning on again. Bait has gotten predictable and easier to chum on the flats after moving to deeper water during the front. Iíve been targeting trout at first light...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Captainís Corner: Rush of warmer water in gulf heats up fishing on offshore reefs, wrecks

The rush of warmer water on our offshore reefs and wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico has brought with it a cadre of pelagic fish. Divers and anglers have enjoyed the influx of cobia, kingfish and more. The benthic (bottom) fish are splurging on the balls ...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Captainís Corner: Spring bite is solid despite wacky weather

Bipolar weather continues to confuse both fish and anglers. Fortunately the water temperature has gotten high enough that the effects donít last long and the spring bite continues to be solid. Snook are still the hot bite in many areas around the bay...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Captainís Corner: Kingfish, sharks provide aerial displays

Fishing was good this past Saturday, ahead of the cold front. We fished close to shore about 2 miles. Our approach was simple. We anchored the boat, fished with live baits and chummed heavily. Kingfish action was nonstop for the entire morning. We ca...
Published: 04/16/18

Captainís Corner: Trolling or anchoring up, kingfish bite is hot

Are you looking for line-screaming action? Head offshore. The kingfish bite has been good, though high winds may require a wait for the water to clear. The best numbers have been about 5 miles out on the hard bottom. Trolling for kingfish works well;...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/15/18

Captainís Corner: Spring run is the most wonderful time of the year

The full spring run of all species in our area is in full swing. Whatever species you would like to target, inshore or offshore, is as good as it gets this time of year. Redfish schools have shown up in the flats around Pinellas Point, but they are i...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Captainís Corner: Spanish mackerel, kingfish showing up in big numbers

They are here! Spanish mackerel and kingfish have shown up in the numbers expected of them at this time of year. All we have to hope for is weather that will allow us to get offshore. In most years the hot spots have been the artificial reefs, shipwr...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/12/18

Captainís Corner: Offshore fishing heats up in spring

Spring is here and things are heating up offshore. Kingfish have arrived from Tarpon Springs to Anna Maria. Spanish mackerel are around many of the bridges and piers, and cobia have appeared on the wrecks. Our most interesting discovery last week was...
Published: 04/10/18
Updated: 04/11/18

Captainís Corner: Trout, snook gathering around oyster bars

The recent full moon has finally sent the bait to the flats, although if you prefer the markers, theyíre still there, too. It seems we are finally in full-on spring mode. Trout have been sporadic at best, but when a group is located, they are coopera...
Published: 04/10/18

Captainís Corner: High winds making fly fishing a challenge

Wind has been detrimental lately, not only in fly casting but in finding fish, then getting them to take our offering. Ideally, find some clear water and donít worry about it. Areas with lots of sea grass will filter water for exceptional clarity. Un...
Published: 04/09/18
Updated: 04/14/18