BRADENTON – Snook season will repopen on Feburary 1. Also, the FWC is reminding anglers that this year grouper seaon will not end on the first of the month. A cold front will cause hazardous boating conditions to linger through Thursday. A period of generally light winds and low seas is then anticipated for the late week period and upcoming weekend.
Snook to reopen in Atlantic state waters
- The recreational harvest season for snook reopens on Feb. 1 in Florida’s Atlantic coastal and inland waters (from the Miami-Dade/Monroe county line north), including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River.
- The season will remain open through May 31.
In the Atlantic, anglers may keep one snook per day that is not less than 28 or more than 32 inches total length, which is measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed while the fish is lying on its side. A snook permit is required to keep snook, along with a saltwater fishing license unless exempt from the license requirements. Only hook-and-line gear is allowed when targeting or harvesting snook.
- It is illegal to buy or sell snook.
Reminder: Gulf grouper recreational season will not close Feb. 1
- This is a reminder that the Feb. 1 through March 31 closure that would have affected several species of grouper in Gulf state waters has been removed and will not occur as it has in previous years. This closure was removed at the September 2013 meeting of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
- A similar closure was also removed in federal waters shoreward of the 20 fathom line, or about 120 feet (excluding waters off Monroe County). To learn more about the federal closure, visit the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office at Sero.NMFS.NOAA.gov and click on “Fisheries,” “Gulf Fisheries,” “Reef Fish” and “Gag and Shallow-water Grouper Framework – Recreational Season.”
- The closure would have applied to the following species: black, red, yellowfin, scamp, yellowmouth, rock hind and red hind.
Helping your fish survive helps you
- Imagine for a minute you are out to sea, line wet, with about 150 feet of water separating boat from the bottom. You feel a tug. Instinct kicks in and you want to yank up to set the hook, but you remember that doesn’t work with circle hooks, a required gear when fishing for reef fish like snapper and grouper in all Gulf waters and in federal waters of the Atlantic south of 28 degrees north latitude. So you gently start reeling it in, hoping nothing eats your catch before you can get it to the boat.
- Alas, the fish surfaces, but it is too small to keep and it seems to be experiencing barotrauma, a condition that occurs when the gases in the swim bladder expand after being brought to the surface from depth.
- STOP! The choices you make from here on can greatly impact whether or not that fish you are about to release survives to be caught another day. Do you know what to do?
- Post-release fish survival should be important to all anglers. The more fish that survive being caught and subsequently released, the more fish there will be in general. This can eventually mean extension of open seasons, increases in bag limits and more successful fishing trips.
FWC busy responding to manatee deaths
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has stepped up efforts to respond to manatees in distress and determine the cause of death when possible. During 2013, a preliminary total of 829 manatee deaths were documented.
- Marine mammal staff from across the state and law enforcement responded to manatees suffering from the effects of red tide in southwest Florida from January through May. Florida red tide, which releases a toxin that affects manatees’ nervous systems, caused the deaths of a record 276 manatees during that period.
Weekend Fishing Forcast
The pressure gradient across the area has relaxed with winds and seas below advisory levels ... although exercise caution speeds are expected mainly this morning. A trough of low pressure moves north over the waters Friday into Saturday as high pressure builds in from the Atlantic ... becoming established across Florida into the Gulf through early next week. A period of generally light winds and low seas is anticipated.
North winds 10 to 15 knots diminishing to 5 to 10 knots in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. Rain. Thursday night will bring northeast winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop. A chance of rain.
Northeast winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Friday night will bring east winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop.
East winds around 5 knots then becoming south around 5 knots in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters smooth. A slight chance of showers in the afternoon. Saturday night will bring south winds around 5 knots then becoming southeast around 10 knots after midnight. Bay and inland waters a light chop.
South winds around 10 knots then becoming southwest in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Sunday night will bring northwest winds around 5 knots then becoming northeast after midnight. Bay and inland waters smooth. A slight chance of showers in the evening.