The Fort Myers Boat Show opens the door to a world of boating possibilities. At the show, you’ll encounter a wide array of boats, accessories, seminars, and much more, all conveniently situated in a single location. Read more “Unlocking the Possibilities at the 51st Annual Fort Myers Boat Show”
Seminole, FL – Congressman David Jolly (FL-13) has introduced legislation that will lead to a more accurate count of Red Snapper and other reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico. The bill, called the Gulf Red Snapper Data Improvement Act, will allow for third-party data collection of fish populations to be used for federal stock assessments, which could ultimately lead to longer Red Snapper fishing seasons for the recreational sectors.
“Many in the fishing community, from private anglers, to charter, to commercial, have questioned the government’s stock assessments. My bill will give each of them a seat at the table. Third-party data collection will expand the information available to the government, particularly Red Snapper, and improve the data used to determine fishing seasons,” Jolly said.
The Gulf Red Snapper Data Improvement Act designates $10 million annually for third-party data collection of Gulf Red Snapper and other Gulf reef species. The data collection program will be managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Southeast Regional Office located in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“This will improve our knowledge of fisheries stocks and if the research shows a larger fish population than the government suggests, this will open the door for a longer fishing season for species like Red Snapper. And a longer Snapper season is an economic and quality of life win throughout our community, positively impacting everyone from local scientists committed to the protection of fish populations, to recreational anglers, to charter operators, to businesses that depend on fishing tourism like hotel and restaurant operators,” Jolly noted.
A member of the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, Jolly was able to secure similar language in the Fiscal Year 2016 House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Bill earlier this year.
For additional information regarding this legislation please contact Preston Rudie, Communications Dir. for Representative Jolly at (727) 418-7722. You may also click this link to visit Representative Jolly’s website.
Spanish, Jacks, Lady fish, And Sharks
In the area around Boca Pass and the straights right across to Burnt Store, schools of bait fish like Thread Fins and Glass Minnows are moving in with the tide, and then move back to the gulf as the tide heads out. Spanish Mackerel can be found under these schools of bait. Below that you can find Ladyfish & Jacks, and under those you will find Sharks. Yes there are layers of fish, and they can be found in the gulf near Trembley Reef or any of the closer ones, during the last half of the outgoing tide and the first third of the incoming tide.
Once the water starts moving in hard, the bait will follow the saltwater into the Harbor and will give you a shot at some reel fun fishing, with fast and steady bites. Light tackle and a small steel leader are a good idea to use. Once your bait gets below the regular fish, you’ll find the Black Nose and Black Tip Sharks. These are a ball on the light spinning tackle.
There are red fish near Burnt Store. Yes, the big red fish are schooling along the bar, and they have been moving from just north of Pirate Harbor down to Two Pines. The Z-man scented paddler, in either the Bad Shad or Root Beer gold colors are your best bet. I use a Z-man jig head but you may rig them with a weed less worm hook if you like. The method I use with the Z-man is sort of like casting with dead/cut bait. Watch for red fish movement, and waves that are moving a bit different from the other waves. Cast it out in front of the moving water and let it sit for a minute, then give it a good twitch and take up the slack and twitch and repeat.
If I do not see fish moving which is often the case, I stay half a cast away from the sand bar and try to cast over the bar to the other side, and then slowly twitch the Z-man across the top of the bar and back all the way to the boat.
For those that prefer to use cut bait, just cast and let it sit. This is dead stinky stuff. Hot dark water means I will not cast out reel in and cast. If I feel the need to move my bait, it will only be a couple of inches at a time. Let the stink of the bait do it’s job.
Here’s a little news for the weird fishin wise. The canals in Port Charlotte are starting to hold fish. Snook is a given. September is when snook fishing should start getting good. But flounder, sheep head, red fish and mangrove snappers, are all in the canals in what could be called fishable numbers.
With all of the rain and the water being so dark, to tell the truth, there should be almost no fish in the canals. The rivers are running at flood stages and the water is so very fresh, and there is even a little salt near the bottom. Why are these fish moving into the canals?
The answers to why the fish are here in the canals could be the temperature. The canal temps have been lower than normal for this time of year, because of the rain and cloud cover. The clouds keep the sun’s radiation from heating up the water, and the water being in the mid 80’s is where it has to be for the fish to move back into the canals. This is rare but not unheard of. With so much rain and clouds, the waters are being kept cool.
The fish have been eating live shrimp, which is their #1 choice, and live pin fish, which is their #2 choice. Cut bait fish or dead shrimp are both a close 3rd. Lures would be D.O.A. shrimp or buck tail jigs.
September 16, 2015
With this post, we proudly launch our Go Boating Pros Series. In it, we will regularly post articles about area boating resources, services, unique products and a host of other topics in order to further enhance your SW Florida boating experiences.
This installment features alternative propulsion craft. Many people might not even be aware that there are options outside internal combustion power. One example we found was the new Island Packet L24e, an electric propulsion launch with solar-assist. A low maintenance boating alternative loaded with comfort and conveniences, this attractive, alternative craft can let you cruise for less than $2/day!
Its freshwater sink, transom shower, drawer-style refrigerator and pop-up electric-ﬂush marine head gives you all there conveniences you could want—all in the quiet ambiance and zero emission operation electric propulsion provides. It even has a remote control hardtop canopy lowers to become a cockpit cover keeping everything safe and sound.
To learn more about this and other electric-powered craft, please visit www.electricmarina.com
Learning begins with the basics. Master the fundamentals of anything and your ability to advance becomes much easier and firmly rooted.
For boaters, there are four basic areas that provide that foundation. Master these, and you are well on your way to becoming a skilled and responsible boater.
Know your boat and equipment
Certified Coast Guard Captains are required to memorize vessel and engine specification manuals that are hundreds of pages thick. This way, they know their equipment down to the last bolt and, therefore, can confidently bring their crew and boat safely through dangerous situations.
In the same way, knowing your recreational boat boat will bring you similar confidence. Start with your boat’s manual (if you have one). This will be your best guide to the features and design of your boat. It should also contain important information for safe operation and maintenance of the craft. Also, make sure you know how to operate the boat’s electronics. At minimum, you should have a VHF-FM marine radio to contact the Coast Guard in the case of an emergency (Channel 16).
Know your water
Purchase navigation charts of the waterways you travel. Store them on your boat taking care to make sure they are wrapped or stored in plastic so they stay dry and legible. Study them often. Be mindful to learn landmarks, hazards such as submerged objects, and safe channel markers. Know where shallow areas are so you are not running aground. Take the time to go on outings solely for the purpose of learning the area, and use your charts to become more familiar with your local waterways. Apps like this one for Lee County, FL are a great resource and a smart added tool.
Beyond this, knowing how to navigate using a compass, GPS, and a chart will allow you to pinpoint your location and chart a safe course. This will all help you to eventually become a skilled navigator, and expand the limits of where your boat can take you.
Know right from wrong (aka the “Rules of the Road”)
Similar to the rules that govern the safe flow of traffic for road vehicles, there are similar rules to govern the safe maneuvering of boats. Called Coast Guard Navigation Rules, they are also known as “Nav Rules.” Although recreational boaters aren’t required by law to know these rules, it is highly recommended. These rules teach boaters safe boating protocol.
EXAMPLE: Do you know who has the “right of way” when you approach a sailboat under sail power alone?
ANSWER: The sailboat does. You must maneuver your boat to allow the sailboat safe passage.
Boating can become dangerous quickly when boaters don’t know these rules, and it’s not safe to assume you can apply road driving rules to marine situations.
Know your safety regulations
Both the U.S. Coast Guard and local marine law enforcement agencies have the authority to board your boat to ensure your compliance with safety equipment rules and regulations. Depending on size, most vessels are required to have navigation lights, a sound signaling device, emergency flares, and life jackets. The larger the vessel, the greater the requirements. Visit the Coast Guard’s regulation page to learn more about these and make sure you are in compliance.
As you master these four basic areas, consider taking a Coast Guard Auxiliary safety course. It is a small investment of time that can make your time on the water safer and more enjoyable.
With Florida Lobster Mini Season just over one week away, it’s time to get out on the water and scout out these tasty Florida creatures. Yesterday, I ventured out on my first prospective dive of the season departing the Hillsboro Inlet on the east coast of Florida in Pompano Beach. The wind was light, visibility was great, but I experienced an unusual and strong south current that brought some confusion to the dive. There have been many scattered reports for the season, and I decided to start off with a deep dive on the third reef in 100′ of water near the Commercial Pier in Ft. Lauderdale. Throughout the dive, I came across about a half dozen Hogfish in the 12-14 inch range. I was fortunate to land my spear shaft in one of these hogfish, and the fish got off my spear and swam into a hole in 93 feet of water. As I swam up to the hole, not only did I see the injured fish, but I found lobster! It is common when diving to find grouper and hogfish seeking shelter in a hole with lobster. Throughout the dive, I came across 4 lobster which were small and well hidden. Of these four, two of the bugs would have met the legal size requirements if season were open.
It is important to remember that the Carapace of the lobster needs to be at least 3 inches and needs to be measured in the water. My favorite technique to catching the lobster is to use a “tickle stick”, a 2 foot metal prong, and a small net. Throughout the state of Florida with the exception of Monroe county, divers can harvest 12 lobster a day during the 2 day mini season which is double the regular season limit of 6 per person. However, Monroe county only allows 6 lobster per person to be harvested during the mini season. Remember to get your Florida Fishing License with a lobster stamp and get out on the water and enjoy the great Florida tradition of lobster mini season on July 30th and 31st.
Capt. Richard Lorenzen, commanding officer of Air Station Clearwater, Lt. Cmdr. Mia Dutcher, chief of response at Sector St. Petersburg, Chief Warrant Officer Steven McDonnell, commanding officer of Station Sand Key, Karen Miller, Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 11 commander, Peter Palmieri, commander Division 11 Flotilla 1, and Manual Sosa, Vice Commander Division 11 Flotilla 1, were present for the proclamation.
“The City of Clearwater, Florida’s only Coast Guard City, recognizes and appreciates the dedication of the men and women of the Unite States Coast Guard.” said Cretekos. “especially during this month of the 223rd anniversary of the Coast Guard, Clearwater and its residents want to extend special thanks to Coast Guard personnel and their families for their service.”
Clearwater became a Coast Guard City Jan. 27, 2012. Please click here to read more.