I attended a meeting in Tampa last Monday, the 8th day of November. The meeting was conducted by Salt Water Fish Commission under the management of NOAA. Several things came up that seem to be predetermined and the first was sector separation. Sector separation is what they are calling it when they are trying to separate what the recreational fisherman or the charter boat fisherman or even the head boat fisherman can catch and how many fish during a year. In other words, when they get all of us separated into individual groups, then they are going to tell us how many fish we can bring to the dock in one year’s time. The big question that we all raised was how are they going to acquire valid data to determine how many fish can be effectively harvested. We were able to bring up the most important subject of the fact that NOAA does not have and is not obtaining at this time valid catch data from the recreational fishermen. After several hours of discussion and then a general presentation, it did not appear that all of our input had any impact on their objective. When they presented a review of all of the meeting, the only thing that came out was their original objectives. So, we are at the point that the only way we are going to change their control is to start at the top which means every fisherman, whether it be the individual or a charter fisherman, needs to contact their representative or senator and ask them to please take some control into the government organizations that are bound and determined to stop us from catching any fish anywhere.
The offshore fishing is just getting better and better every day even with the allowance for us to bring home red snapper on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until the 29th of last month. We did not even put a dent in the number of red snapper taking our bait. There is still so many, that it is hard to get a bait down to where the grouper might have a chance to get a bite on it. There is still an abundance of amberjack, vermilion snapper, scamp, and trigger fish to go along with plenty of gag and red grouper. The only thing you need to worry about at this time of the year, particularly in December, January, and February, is check the weather before you plan your trip.
Inshore fishing is still coming on strong. The whiting are more numerous along the beaches than I have seen all year. The pompano are showing in good numbers and the red fish and speckled trout just keep getting larger and larger. Everybody enjoy this holiday season and hope for the better for our fishing allowances for the coming year.
Don’t forget to file a float plan, and let somebody know when you are going to return.