Photos by Capt. Budd Neviaser. Take a kid fishing as he or she will be a better person from the experience as demonstrated by this youngster, at left. At right, it should not be long before the Cobia start showing up.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Our weather is atypical for this time of the year.
Either we've had a very brief winter and it is time for the snowbirds to go back to the north or more likely Mother Nature is playing tricks on us again, in which case the snowbirds had better sit tight.
The sea surface temperatures, however, are only in the mid to high 60s, which does not correlate with Spring water temperatures.
The outspoken frustrated bluefish seeker, Capt Rich A., was disappointed to hear that once again Karenia Brevis, the Florida red tide organism, was not detected this week in water samples from the lagoon or in samples taken off Crystal River.
However, background concentrations of Karenia Brevis were detected this week in samples collected along the Sarasota, southern Lee, and Collier counties.
So far no adverse effects have been noted. The bluefish, black drum, sheepshead and weakfish have been landed from the folks fishing from the piers and by surf fishermen. The whiting bite was not as hot as it usually is as was the case for pompano. In the Inlet, aside from the snook kill in Spruce Creek and other tributaries to the Halifax when it was so cold, jacks, redfish, ladyfish. trout and mangrove snapper gave been producing good action.
In the Tomoka River snook have been caught as well as redfish, mangrove snapper and trout. Reports from offshore suggest the Kingfish bite continues to be good. Wahoo, Cobia, Red Snapper, Grouper, Mangrove Snapper and some sailfish activity is also good. Several headboats did their usual thing of sharks, black sea bass, an occasional triggerfish, ruby lipped grunts, and other bottom dwellers.
In the lagoon, action has also been good with the redfish in medium to large groups ranging from fifty to several hundred fish schools in areas where there is deeper water on the flats. The clear and low water in the lagoon seems to have made the fish more spooky.
The second annual banquet for the Mid-coast chapter of Florida CCA was a huge success. A special thanks to all, who donated things for auction – the proceeds of which go solely to the promotion of marine conservation.
The Florida Antique Tackle Show will be at the Plaza Resort and Spa on Saturday, Feb. 21.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved a rule recently that changes the recreational state water harvest season for the Gulf of Mexico red snapper. This means that Florida’s Gulf of Mexico red snapper recreational harvest season will match the currently established season in Gulf federal waters.
The sport harvest season will now be open from June 1 thorough Sept. 30. Previously the season in Gulf waters occurred from April 15 through Oct. 31. The thinking behind this move is that the red snapper is overfished in the Gulf and by shortening the season, it will help rebuild the red snapper populations and hopefully minimize the need for further fishing restrictions. The FWC recently also amended a rule to help reduce the number of traps that can be used in the commercial spiny lobster fishery. This move will end a five-year moratorium on the reduction of lobster traps in Florida. The number of traps will be reduced only when a commercial lobster fisherman decides to sell or transfer his FWC-issued trap certificate to someone outside his immediate family. The new rule allows the harvester to sell or transfer all but ten percent of those certificates. This will help decrease the total number of traps used in the lobster fishery and will benefit the fishery and the sensitive South Florida habitat where lobsters are harvested. This rule takes effect on July 1.
The FWC recently proposed a draft that would establish penalties for violating the requirements of the Blue Crab Effort Management Program, which was developed for the management of trap usage in the commercial blue crab fishery. The proposed administrative penalties are authorized by FS 379.366 and apply to violations such as untagged traps, trap theft, trap molestation, and illegal barter of traps.
The proposed rule would standardize penalty assessments by creating a tiered system that allows penalties to be assessed not only relative to the severity of the violation but also to the number of previous violations up to a statuary maximum. The rule would be consistent with existing rules establishing administrative penalties for spiny lobster and stone crab fishery violations. At the April 15-16, 2009 FWC public meeting in Tallahassee, a final public hearing will be held. For further information on this subject matter, please go online to: www.myFWC.com/commission/2009/Feb09/docs/2009_Feb_9B_DR_BlueCrabCivilPen... Beginning with the 2009-'10 hunting season, quota-hunt permits will be non-transferable but allow a guest permit for archery, muzzle-loading gun, general gun, wild hog, mobility impaired and spring turkey hunts.
The FWC also approved new regulations regarding various wildlife management areas (WMAs). The FWC also approved new season dates and regulations for public hunting lands within the Babcock Ranch Preserve and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. The FWC recently approved rules to add new fish and invertebrate species to marine life (also known as aquarium species) regulations, which establish and change size and bag limits as well as gear specifications for several marine life species. The rules go into effect July 1.
After numerous meetings, the FWC finally approved a new rule which will help in efforts to identify and remove lost or abandoned crab traps from Florida waters. The new rule establishes six closed seasons, each with different dates per region lasting up to 10 days. The new rule prohibits the harvest of blue crabs with traps in all waters of the St. John ‘s river system from January 16-25, all other coastal waters from the Florida/Georgia line south through Volusia County from Aug. 20-29, all waters from Brevard County through Palm Beach County from August 10-19, all waters of Broward through Pascoe counties from July 10-19, all waters of Hernando through Wakulla counties from July 20-29, and all waters of Franklin County to the Florida/Alabama state line from January 5-14. Except for the St. John’s system closure, all of the proposed blue crab trap harvest closures will extend from the shoreline out to three nautical miles and include all inland waters in the regions. This will allow authorized people and groups to clean up debris left in the water during the closed seasons. The closures apply only to standard blue crab traps.
The harvest of blue crabs by other means, such as using dip nets and fold-up traps, will still be permitted during the closures. The closures will also apply to recreational harvesters who use standard blue crab traps unless the traps are attached to private property. The rule goes into effect July 1, 2009. An existing September 20-October 4 blue crab closed season in the Gulf of Mexico from 3-9 miles offshore will remain in effect. The FWC also reviewed and discussed management of flounder and various federal fishery management issues.
The FWC also recognized Ed Moyer, who retired from the FWC in 2008 for his 35 years of service to the agency, and the Wildlife Foundation of Florida presented its Louise Ireland Humphrey Achievement Award to Carol Knox, the Manatee Program administrator for the FWC. FWC officers rescued a an injured 200 black bear Tuesday night Feb. 3, from the Florida Turnpike near U.S. 27 in Dade County.
The FWC was dispatched by the Florida Highway Patrol after a driver reported hitting the animal. FWC officers found the bear in a nearby culvert and administered two immobilizing darts. The animal was then transported to a wildlife rehabilitation center where its injuries could be evaluated and treated. The bear’s injuries were not serious and the animal required no treatment.
The FWC believes returning bears to the wild without rehabilitation is the best course of action. Bears are incredibly resilient and are normally able to heal and survive vehicular injuries. Injured wild bears taken into captivity for rehabilitation risk further injury as they learn to associate people with food. That can create human-bear conflicts once the bear is released. When bears pose a threat to humans, euthanasia is the only option left to the FWC. This bear was released into the Picayune Strand State Forest in Collier County.
It has been written; “A fish on the hook is better than ten in the brook.” So whether you charter, ride a head boat, run your own vessel, stay in the river, surf fish, or fish from shore or a bridge- there are fish to be caught. Fishing is not a matter of life or death, it is so much more important than that.