BRADENTON – Tarpon season is here! Tarpon are becoming plentiful in the coastal Gulf, according to our contributing captain, Rick Grassett. In addition to tarpon, false albacore and tripletail may also be options there depending on conditions. Grassett recommends looking for reds, snook and big trout on shallow flats or edges of bars in Sarasota Bay. Fishing deep grass flats for trout, blues, and flounder.
Gulf snook to close in Gulf state, federal waters
- Snook will close to all harvest in Gulf state, federal and inland waters, including all of Monroe County and Everglades National Park, starting May 1. Seasonal harvest closures protect Florida’s valuable snook populations and help sustain and improve the fishery for the future.
- Snook is open to harvest in Atlantic state, federal and inland waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, through May 31, closing June 1.
- Both the Atlantic and Gulf will reopen for recreational harvest Sept. 1.
Goblin Shark caught in Gulf of Mexico
- Last month, a shrimp fisherman caught a goblin shark off the Florida Keys. After a few snapshots, he released the shark back, and it just swam away.
- This accidental catch was only the second goblin shark on record in the Gulf of Mexico; the first was seen over 10 years ago.
Stone crab season closes May 16
- The commercial and recreational harvest of stone crab claws in Florida closes on May 16, with the last day of harvest on May 15. This closure occurs each year during the species’ peak spawning season to help protect and sustain Florida’s valuable stone crab resource. Stone crab season will reopen on Oct. 15.
- Commercially harvested stone crab claws may be possessed and sold during the closed season but only if they have been placed in inventory prior to May 16 by a licensed wholesale or retail dealer.
- Stone crab traps must be removed from the water within five days after the close of the stone crab season unless a special extension is granted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
- Learn more about the stone crab harvest season by visiting MyFWC.com/Fishing and clicking on “Saltwater” and then either “Recreational Regulations” or “Commercial.”
Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary founder cited for wildlife-care violations
- On April 30, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Law Enforcement investigators responded to public complaints that the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, a privately run wildlife rehabilitation facility in Pinellas County, was not in compliance with state and federal regulations for the care of injured or captive wildlife and protected migratory birds.
- As a result of the state’s inspection, Ralph Heath, founder and permit holder for the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores, was cited that day for 59 violations of the state’s Wildlife Code.
- “Reports from concerned citizens indicated that the wildlife at the sanctuary were not cared for properly and were living in squalor, which violates the permit conditions under which the sanctuary operates,” said the FWC’s Lt. Steve DeLacure. “When we inspected the facility on April 30, we found animals confined in unsanitary conditions and injured wildlife that had not received proper care, a situation that demanded immediate remedial action.
Wanted: North Florida anglers to collect tarpon DNA
- Volunteer anglers in northern Florida are encouraged to catch and collect a DNA sample from every tarpon they catch that is 30 inches or longer. Since 2006, scientists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) have partnered with Mote Marine Laboratory to use DNA fingerprinting as a way to track the movements, habits and recapture rates of Atlantic tarpon in coastal and inshore waters.
- Anglers can collect a DNA sample by scraping the outer jaw of the tarpon with a small, abrasive sponge. Immediately after collecting the DNA sample, the sponge should be placed in the prelabeled vial. DNA vials can be mailed to FWRI with the accompanying data slip so that geneticists can analyze and compare the DNA sample with cataloged samples to determine if someone caught and sampled the tarpon previously. This recapture information provides evidence of long-term survival and insight into the seasonal and regional movements of individual fish.
FWC seeks public input on largemouth bass management
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will hold a public meeting to discuss a proposed change for largemouth bass management.
- The meeting will be held May 28 starting at 6 p.m. at Gary’s Tackle Box, 5721 NW 13th Street in Gainesville.
- Participants will be encouraged to provide input on the proposal for a statewide five-fish daily bag limit, only one of which could be 16 inches total length or longer.
- The meeting will offer the public a chance to hear from freshwater fisheries biologists about the science behind managing bass fisheries. Biologists will give a presentation and then open up a discussion and a question and answer session. The meeting is open to everyone, and largemouth bass anglers are especially encouraged to attend.
- To learn more about largemouth bass and the FWC’s current regulation, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing, and visit the “Black Bass Management” and “Regulations” links under “Freshwater Fishing.”
An approaching cold front combined with deep tropical moisture will bring numerous showers and scattered thunderstorms to the waters today. Southeast to south winds in the 10 to 15 knot range this morning will become southwest to west and increase to 15 to 20 knots during the afternoon as the front moves south through the waters. Northwest to north winds will increase into the small craft range late tonight through Friday in the wake of the front which will bring some rough boating conditions to the waters. Lighter winds and seas will return to the waters during the upcoming weekend and into early next week as surface high pressure builds in over the region.
South winds around 10 knots then becoming west in the afternoon. Bay and inland waters a light chop. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms in the morning...then numerous showers and scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. Wind and waves higher near thunderstorms. Thursday night will bring northwest winds 5 to 10 knots then becoming north around 15 knots after midnight. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. Isolated showers in the evening.
2014/05/15Thu09:12 PM-0.39 L
North winds 10 to 15 knots. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop. Friday night will bring north winds 10 to 15 knots then becoming northeast 5 to 10 knots after midnight. Bay and inland waters a moderate chop.
2014/05/16Fri10:00 PM-0.42 L
Northeast winds around 10 knots. Bay and inland waters a light chop.
2014/05/17Sat10:52 PM-0.38 L
Northeast winds around 10 knots then becoming east around 5 knots after midnight. Bay and inland waters a light chop.
2014/05/18Sun11:47 PM-0.28 L