BRADENTON -- The FWCC has named four license-free fishing days, April 6, June 1, June 8 and Sept 1. The FWCC has also proposed a 44-day recreational red snapper season for Gulf of Mexico state waters, set the 2013 recreational gag grouper season for Gulf of Mexico state waters, tabled a decision to create official saltwater game fish and sport fish designations and approved two changes to how gray triggerfish are managed in Gulf of Mexico state waters in an effort to help rebuild this overfished species. Capt. Rick Grassett recommends looking for trout, Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano and more on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay and looking for reds around docks, in potholes and on the edges of bars when the tide is low or on shallow flats on sunny afternoons when the tide is high.
Get your fishing equipment ready for 2013 license-free days
- With more than 3 million anglers in the state, it is likely you either know someone who fishes, or you are someone who fishes. Either way, Florida’s license-free fishing days are the perfect venue to try your hand or introduce a friend to some of the finest fishing in the world.
- During its Feb. 13 meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) selected Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, Sept. 1 as the 2013 saltwater license-free fishing days. On these days, the requirement to have a recreational fishing license is waived for Florida’s residents and visitors while they are saltwater fishing.
- The FWC offers four license-free fishing days a year: two saltwater and two freshwater. While the Commission selects new saltwater license-free fishing days on an annual basis, freshwater license-free fishing days are set to the first Saturday in April and the second Saturday in June.
- This year’s freshwater license-free fishing days are Saturday, April 6 and Saturday, June 8. Use these days to catch the big one and get rewarded for it. Sign up for an FWC freshwater angler recognition program in advance at www.TrophyCatchFlorida.com and you will be entered into a drawing for a Phoenix bass boat powered by Mercury. If you catch, photograph and release a largemouth bass heavier than 8 pounds, you’ll be eligible for great rewards or certificates for catching qualifying freshwater fish from among 33 exciting species in the program. The FWC will honor license-free freshwater fishing days as a legal exemption for fish caught on these dates.
Commission proposes 2013 Gulf recreational red snapper season in state waters
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) proposed a 44-day recreational red snapper season for Gulf of Mexico state waters at its meeting Feb. 13 in Orlando.
- This season would start June 1 and end July 14. The proposed 2013 season is inconsistent with the current proposed federal season, which is currently expected to be about 27 days but may be shortened once state seasons in all Gulf state waters are finalized.
- The Commission will make a final decision on this season at the April Commission meeting in Tallahassee.
2013 gag grouper recreational season set for Gulf state waters
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) set the 2013 recreational gag grouper season for Gulf of Mexico state waters at its meeting Feb. 13 in Orlando.
- The season in most state waters is slated to start July 1 and end Dec. 3.
- State waters off the coast of Taylor, Jefferson, Wakulla and Franklin counties, including waters of the Steinhatchee River, Apalachicola Bay and Indian Pass, will have a gag grouper open season of April 1 through June 30. This four-county region will not be open during the July 1 through Dec. 3 season.
- The Commission selected the April-to-June season for the four-county region to allow fishing opportunities for private recreational anglers in this area when gag grouper are closer to shore and can be safely accessed by smaller boats. Because it is the least densely populated region of Florida’s Gulf Coast, fishing effort for gag grouper is relatively low in these counties. By replacing the July 1-through-Dec. 3 season with a shorter but more desirable season in the Big Bend, the Commission hopes to balance the economic and social needs of this region with the conservation needs of gag grouper.
Commission discusses game fish, sport fish designations
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) tabled a decision to create official saltwater game fish and sport fish designations Wednesday, Feb. 13, at its meeting in Orlando and directed staff to develop catch-and-release provisions for bonefish and tarpon.
- The Commission directed staff to bring the draft proposal to the FWC’s April Commission meeting in Tallahassee and gather public input on the issue before the meeting.
Changes to rebuild Gulf gray triggerfish population approved
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved two changes to how gray triggerfish are managed in Gulf of Mexico state waters in an effort to help rebuild this overfished species.
- More than 60 percent of gray triggerfish caught in the Gulf of Mexico come from state and federal waters off Florida, which makes the state’s management of the species integral to the success of the federal rebuilding plan.
- The changes, approved at the Feb. 13 Commission meeting in Orlando, will make state regulations consistent with pending federal regulations and will include implementing a June 1-through-July 31 closed recreational season and a two-fish daily recreational bag limit.
- Federal fishery managers also approved changes to the commercial harvest of Gulf gray triggerfish. These changes include a 12-fish trip limit and a June 1-through-July 31 harvest closure. The FWC requires fishers harvesting gray triggerfish commercially in Gulf state waters to have a federal reef fish permit. One condition of the federal reef fish permit is that harvesters must follow federal reef fish rules, even when they are fishing in state waters. This means that when the new federal commercial trip limit and closed season take effect sometime in April or May, harvesters in state waters must abide by these rules.
A High pressure will build in from the northwest tonight through Thursday. The high will move off the southeast coast of the United States Thursday night and Friday. Another cold front will slip southward into the marine waters during the upcoming weekend...before lifting back northward as a warm front early next week.
East winds around 10 knots then becoming south in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Thursday night will bring southeast winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop.
Southeast winds around 15 knots then becoming south in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. Friday night will bring south winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop. A slight chance of thunderstorms. Areas of sea fog reducing visibilities to a mile or less after midnight.
Southwest winds around 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. A slight chance of thunderstorms. Areas of sea fog. Saturday night will bring west winds around 10 knots then becoming northwest around 5 knots after midnight. Bay and inland waters a light chop. A chance of showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms.
Northeast winds around 5 knots then becoming east in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters smooth. A chance of showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Sunday night will bring southeast winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop. A chance of showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms.