Sunday, December 17, 2017

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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6/14 10:40 4:30 11:05 4:50

6/15 11:25 5:15 11:55 5:40

6/16 0 6:05 12:15 6:30

6/17 12:45 6:50 1:00 7:10

6/18 1:25 7:30 1:40 7:55

6/19 2:10 8:20 2:30 8:55

6/20 3:10 9:10 3:20 9:40


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 ...
Published: 12/16/17

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