Saturday, May 26, 2018

Outdoors news: Tarpon, bonefish to become release-only fisheries

Making news

Tarpon status to change to release-only

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted Wednesday to make tarpon and bonefish catch-and-release-only fisheries. Starting Sept. 1, the harvest of tarpon will be eliminated except if the angler is pursuing a world record. To kill a tarpon, the angler must first purchase a tarpon tag, which will be limited to one per person, per year. Anglers will be able to possess a tarpon for the purpose of photos or to measure the length and girth, but fish longer than 40 inches must remain in the water.

Boca Grande jig ban progresses

The FWC moved forward with a proposal to ban a popular type of artificial lure favored by tarpon tournament anglers in Boca Grande Pass. The new rules would include adding language to the current statewide definition for "snagging." At the heart of the matter is a jig that utilizes a weight attached to the bottom of the hook. Proponents of the ban contend the jigs snag tarpon in the body instead of hooking them in the mouth, leading to increase mortality. The proposal must be approved at the Sept. 4-6 FWC meeting before it can become a law.

Long gulf snook closure to end

The FWC voted this week to reopen snook fishing in gulf waters Sept. 1. The season has been closed since early 2010, when cold fronts decimated the population. The regulations will remain the same: one-fish bag limit, 28- to 33-inch slot limit and two annual closures (Dec. 1-Feb. 28 and May 1-Aug. 31).

Terry Tomalin, Times Outdoors/Fitness Editor

Solunar chart


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Captainís Corner: Swimmer crabs attract big permit

Captainís Corner: Swimmer crabs attract big permit

The outgoing tides of last weekendís new moon washed thousands of small swimmer crabs, known locally as "pass crabs," out of the estuaries and into the gulf. This suddenly abundant food source offshore works as a natural chum line and draws big permi...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18

Speckled trout are our most prevalent species around the bay area. They spawn year-round, so their numbers are sustained. They are a flourishing species. For sport, trout are easier to catch than almost everything else we have in the Gulf of Mexico. ...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Captainís Corner: With full moon, tarpon are on the move

With the full moon this next week tarpon are moving down the beaches and making their way out of the bay and moving out to the bridges and the passes to feed before some of them leave to go out and spawn on the full moon. Early in the morning along t...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18

Captainís Corner: Cloudier water improves the bite

Windy conditions this week have actually slightly improved fishing. The waters of Saint Joseph sound had become so clear that it made finding fish easy, but getting bites very difficult. Snook have been gathering in great numbers all along the beache...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Captainís Corner: Red grouper fishing continues to be good

Red grouper fishing continues to be steady in depths of 100-120 feet. Large bait stacks are holding a fish or two, but larger concentrations are on very small rolls and potholes in those depths. Zooming in on the bottom 10-15 feet of the water column...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/20/18

Captainís Corner: Catching a giant cobia

Cobia is the topic this week. Capt. Tom Markham, aboard the Simply Hooked, was beginning his daily bait routine. It turned out that one of the markers located near Clearwater Pass, surprisingly, had a giant fish waiting for him. The captain slid up t...
Published: 05/16/18

Captainís Corner: Tarpon showing up on beaches, bridges

This week shouldnít be a total wash out. While there is a chance of rain every day, it should only be sporadic. Hopefully it wonít dirty up the water too much. If you are a tarpon fisherman and look forward to their arrival like I do, then you are in...
Published: 05/14/18
Updated: 05/15/18

Captainís Corner: This is best time of year for bay area fishing

Itís the best time of year for fishing in the area. Tarpon can be targeted off of any of the bridges. The Gandy, Howard Frankland and Skyway are my top choices. While awaiting a tarpon strike, I kill time by dropping smaller baits for Spanish mackere...
Published: 05/13/18

Captainís Corner: Change tactics for fly fishing success

Most fly fishers would prefer minimum wind and cloudless skies to increase chances for a banner day. This has been a problem lately. The wind makes casting more difficult, unless very experienced, and clouds interfere with sight casting opportunities...
Published: 05/11/18
Updated: 05/14/18

Captainís Corner: Tips on handling burgeoning baitfish

Schools of baitfish have arrived and taken up residence in all depths. Birds are diving on them close to the beach, all the way out to the midwater artificial reefs. Farther offshore, bait schools might not be visible on the surface but can be detect...
Published: 05/11/18
Updated: 05/12/18