Rosemary White caught this amazing black drum during a special opportunity fishing event for the International Women’s Fishing Association (IWFA) at the Suncoast Youth Conservation Center in Apollo Beach.
For more information about the IWFA please visit: IWFA.org
We are hosting a day-long public discussion on redfish biology and management in Florida, including a presentation on an updated stock assessment, information about habitat and water quality, and interactive discussions about future management of the fishery.
Information: The FWC Commission will listen to public testimony on and discuss several marine fisheries management items at the Aug. 4-5 meeting in Bonita Springs. Advance comments should be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, July 30, 2021.
Decision making (regulation changes are anticipated to be made on this topic):
Atlantic coast: spot and Atlantic croaker (CONSENT AGENDA – Aug. 4): The Commission will consider the creation of new species-specific regulations for spot and Atlantic croaker in state waters from the Florida-Georgia border through Miami-Dade County. Proposed changes include establishing a daily recreational bag limit of 50 fish per person for each species and establishing commercial vessel limits of 2,200 lbs. for spot and 1,200 lbs. for Atlantic croaker.
Discussions (no regulation changes are anticipated to be made on these items; both items are on Aug. 5):
Coral reef disease response and restoration efforts: FWC staff will summarize the status of the ongoing Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease.
Federal fishery management updates: The Commission will discuss outcomes of recent meetings of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.
Snook, redfish and spotted seatrout catch-and-release
Snook, redfish and spotted seatrout are catch-and-release in Tampa Bay through Sept. 16 due to recent impacts from red tide. This includes all waters in Manatee County north of State Road 64, Hillsborough County, and in Pinellas County. The Braden River and all tributaries of the Manatee River are also included, but not Palma Sola Bay or the Anclote River.
Spiny lobster opens for recreational and commercial harvest Aug. 6.
The recreational daily bag limit and on-the-water possession limit is six lobster per person.
Spiny lobster must have a carapace longer than 3 inches and, when harvested by diving, must be measured in the water. The carapace is measured beginning at the forward edge between the rostral horns, excluding any soft tissue, and proceeding along the middle to the rear edge of the carapace.
Harvest is prohibited in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, the Biscayne Bay Card Sound Spiny Lobster Sanctuary, in the no-take areas of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and in the five Coral Reef Protection Areas in Biscayne National Park.
Always use a divers-down warning device when in the water.
Catching a large tarpon is a thrill like none other. But before you capture that moment forever in a photo, it’s important to remember that all tarpon over 40 inches must remain in the water, especially the gills. The only exception to this is if you are in pursuit of a state or world record and using a tarpon tag. Don’t ruin an epic photo with a temporary lapse in judgement. Keep that tarpon in the water to help it regain strength and survive upon release.
The bay scallop season starts Aug. 16 in all state waters from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County to the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County. The season will remain open in this region through Sept. 24. NOTE: The area marked with FWC buoys south of Black’s Island is a Bay Scallop Restoration Area and no scalloping or anchoring is allowed there.
We’re halfway through the 2021 Lionfish Challenge and 8,000 lionfish have already been turned in! The Lionfish Challenge rewards lionfish harvesters with prizes for submitting lionfish. Participants who remove the most lionfish in the recreational and commercial categories through Labor Day (Sept. 6) will be crowned the 2021 Recreational Lionfish King/Queen and the Commercial Champion. Register today or learn more about the program at FWCReefRangers.com.
State Reef Fish Angler
Do you fish for reef fish like snapper, grouper or triggerfish from a private recreational vessel off Florida's Atlantic or Gulf coasts? Then you are a State Reef Fish Angler. Sign up for this no cost required designation even if you are normally exempt from purchasing a fishing license at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or learn more at MyFWC.com/SRFS.
Florida Coral Crew
If you want healthy, beautiful coral reefs and would like more information about Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease and what the FWC and partners are doing to help, join the Crew and sign up today: FLCoralCrew.com. And while you’re out enjoying the water this summer, remember these tips:
Avoid touching corals while diving.
Don’t anchor near corals.
Clean diving gear between dive sites.
Use environmentally friendly sunscreens.
Catch a Florida Memory
William Lux with his first ever tripletail that earned him a Catch a Florida Memory Reel Big Fish Recognition and qualified him for Reel Big Fish Tier 1 Recognition.
From the angler: "My line started zipping off the reel and I knew I had a good fish on! It fought really hard and I thought it was a shark but when I saw it was a tripletail, I was super excited! This was one of the top species of fish I’ve been wanting to catch for a long time. So excited I finally got one and from a pier of all things! I can’t wait for my dad to cook it on the grill, I heard they are one of the best fish to eat."
Submit saltwater catches and earn rewards
Have you caught a Florida memory? Submit photos of your saltwater catches to earn rewards for various achievements while targeting a diversity of species and reducing fishing pressure on the most commonly sought-after catches.
Join the Triple Threat Club and earn even more prizes (including a long sleeve performance fishing shirt and more) by participating in all three programs. Anglers must qualify for each of the three programs to be eligible.
Do you buy fishing gear? Fuel up your boat? Purchase a fishing license? Every time you do, you improve fishing opportunities through the federal Sport Fish Restoration program (SFR). Learn more about how you contribute and programs SFR supports at MyFWC.com/SFR.