Well, today in the 1st day of a 2 day November Commission meeting, the State of Florida has made it final. They are upping the bag limit in the Northern region of Florida to two redfish per day. A max limit of 8 redfish per boat and you will soon be able to transport 6 redfish per person on land.
I just don’t get it. Why try to fix what isn’t broken? They are upping limits on fish that have already seen a large increase in pressure due to the high cost of going offshore (gas prices) and the ridiculous restrictions they have put on offshore species like red snapper, gag grouper and amber jack in recent years. This makes no sense. Inshore fishing in Florida is changing and it’s not for the better. There are more people fishing inshore than ever and the state is upping limits on fish. Don’t forget they are proposing massive changes to the sea trout fishery, both recreationally and commercially. Mostly commercially. Go figure.
There are a few problems I have with this new redfish bag limit in the North region.
Number 1, some areas aren’t that loaded with redfish. We don’t have tons and tons of redfish in the Tarpon Springs, New Port Richey and Hudson areas. Sure we catch our fare share of fish, but doubling the bag limit is sure to make an impact. Myself and the few other full time guides that fish those areas work real hard at not overfishing our redfish. We actively talk to each other about how we’re fishing them and encourage each other to not beat up any particular school too much.
The second issue I have with this is that you will be able to transport 6 fish per person on land. Are you serious? So, if 4 wade fisherman are pulled over in their vehicle as they are leaving a spot where they wrecked the redfish, they couldn’t get cited for having 24 redfish in their possession? Come on!
Thirdly, why the Northern region? Have you seen the sizes of the schools of redfish in Ft. Desoto (Southern end of Tampa Bay), Charlotte Harbor, Flamingo… etc? I have seen schools of redfish there numbering in the thousands. I have never seen that between Tarpon Springs and Crystal River. How did the Northern region get chosen for raising the bag limit? I know the get big schools in the Panhandle and I know they swarm the jetties in Jacksonville but…. I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense to me.
What do you think?
Is your home water so overflowing with redfish that you welcome this change or are you concerned as well? Do you agree with the Northern region being the only region that is having the limit raised? What about being able to transport 6 fish per person? Do you see problems with that?
The new rules are set to go into effect on February 1st 2012. So, mark you calendars… either with a star or a frowny face. Your choice.