by Eric Henson
You are most likely an avid angler or at the very least you enjoy fishing! Ever since the beginning of May, there has been a ban on harvesting three (3) of our favorite game fish “Redfish, Snook, and Trout” here in the Southwest Florida Region due to the previous year’s red tide “fish kill”. Unfortunately, it has had lots of anglers and fishing guides very upset. Many of us were raised that if you didn’t catch your limit that it wasn’t a successful fishing trip, but I think that we really do need to change our way of thinking. Trust me, I do enjoy a fresh catch every now and then, but I gave up on trying to keep everything I catch many many years ago.
There are a lot of different things happening to our waters that are threatening our fish populations. Thankfully, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee (FWC) is trying to help, and this is why they made this law. It is their hope that anyone who truly loves fishing won’t be upset, but, would instead be thinking about what they can do to help our waters for future generations. I hope that we can all see the positives here. After all, we do still have some of the most BEAUTIFUL waters in the country and a world class fishery. But, things are changing rapidly and we all have to do our part now to make the difference for future of our waters and fisheries. If you feel like reaching out to help even more, a couple of my favorite organizations who are trying to make a difference are Captains For Clean Water and CCA Florida. It’s pretty amazing that the fish in the picture above is one of two “tagged Redfish” I caught recently thanks to Duke Energy/ CCA Redtide Recovery Program.
I’ve actually came to love “Catch and Release”. There is a special feeling when you catch a beautiful fish, snap a couple of photos, and then watch the healthy fish swim off knowing that someday I may catch that fish again and it will be even bigger! Also, it will have the chance to make lots of babies. The best way I’ve found to get a healthy release is by using a rubber mesh net, wetting your hands before touching the fish, supporting the fish’s body while you snap a couple of glory shots, and then slowly move the fish back and forth in the water until it feels strong enough to swim away. I want to personally thanks all of you who are doing your part in making difference! Until next time tight lines and tight knots!:)