Saturday, November 28, 2009

So long vermilions; hello dolphin, wahoo and SAILFISH!

Some scattered schools of nice-sized dolphin (AKA mahi, mahi-mahi, dorado) have turned up in approximately 200-400 ft. of water. We were happy to find a few of these fish for our anglers to put on the dinner table.

There's been plenty of action on the reef and offshore, including amberjack, barracuda, blacktip shark and wahoo, but some of the most fun of all has been the arrival of sailfish!

As good as the bite has been, we're still going to miss fishing for vermilion snappers and shallow-water groupers over the next few months. The recreational vermilion snapper season is closed from November 1 to March 31, a shallow-water grouper closure will be in effect from January to April, and there is word that more restrictions for other species may be on the way. We recognize that it's important to manage our fisheries in a responsible manner and we appreciate how difficult it is to address the different and sometimes competing interests of everyone involved in all the aspects of fishing. However, we hope that the agencies that oversee our fisheries will craft solutions that will be fair to recreational anglers (residents, visitors and charter customers alike) and allow those who enjoy fishing, and those who are discovering fishing for the very first time, a reasonable accommodation to catch and keep a modest amount of fish for their own personal consumption. In the meantime, don’t think that bottom fishing is over. There are other species of bottom fish that are not closed to recreational fishing and we will continue to bottom fish when the conditions are right. We may have to release some nice fish but we hope that the end result is that these closures will produce some fine catches when the respective seasons reopen.