Thursday, April 12, 2007

New Snook Proposal

Centropomus undecimalis

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the snook population along the Gulf Coast and other areas of the state is considered to be just fine. But, like anything else, it could be better.

That’s the word from a 22-member snook working group – a consulting body of guides, sport fishermen, researchers and outdoor writers organized by the Commission to design a blueprint for Florida’s future snook population.

Their recommendations will be considered by commissioners April 11-12 when the board meets in Tallahassee to consider a number of proposals on the table. A draft rule amendment concerning snook is probably one of the most important for Florida’s recreational fishermen and has a lot of merit.

The new proposal centers around narrowing the slot limits on snook and cut the length of the season by six weeks.
Currently, fishermen are allowed to keep snook measuring 26 to 34 inches. Under the proposed rule changes, it would be 28 to 33 inches.

The season would be shortened to March 1 to April 30 and Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, eliminating a month on the front end and cutting two weeks off the back end.

Daily limits of one fish per day per person along the Gulf Coast would remain in effect.
I believe these are good ideas and something commissioners should consider this month or at their next meeting in June in Melbourne. I would sanction catch and release only, but that is likely to have much effect since even today their are snook for sale at practically any golf course for the right price. Market fishing is still live and well in SWFL.

The times have passed where you can count on a snook dinner from a few hours works, I remember the days not too long ago when I could head over to my favorite snook hole at night and have at least one in the cooler in a half hour. No more. Today I have shifted my effort to other edible species and save the snook and tarpon for those special times when you just want to fish.

Today in Tallahassee the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to reduce the slot-size limit on Gulf Coast snook to 28 to 33 inches, down from the current 27- to 34-inch size range.

The closed season also would be expanded for Gulf snook, including snook caught in the Everglades and Monroe County. The proposed winter closed season would be from December through February, an increase of 44 or 45 days over the current winter closure from Dec. 15 through Jan. 31.

Gulf and Atlantic populations are managed separately.

On the Atlantic Coast, the snook bag limit under proposed changes would be reduced from two fish to one, and the slot-size limit would be reduced to 28 to 32 inches, also down from 27 to 34 inches.

No changes to the closed seasons are proposed for Atlantic snook - June through August and Dec. 15 through Jan. 31. The May through August closed season for Gulf snook also would remain unchanged.

Another proposed change would allow more than one cast nets on vessels with snook aboard. Currently a vessel with snook may have only one cast net aboard, secured and stored.

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