Outdoors notebook: Tarpon tournament awaits ruling



The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, scheduled to meet Thursday and Friday in Pensacola, could take final action that would effectively put the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series, held in Southwest Florida’s Boca Grande Pass in spring and summer, out of business.

Nearly all anglers in the televised catch-and-release tournament use circle hooks with weighted jigs attached at the bottom to hook tarpon. But commissioners concluded at a June meeting in Lakeland that the gear snags the fish rather than enticing them to bite.

The commission Thursday will discuss a final rule that would enhance the definition of snagging and prohibit the kinds of jigs now used in the Pass to catch tarpon.

Also, a new rule designating tarpon and bonefish as catch-and-release only species takes effect Sunday statewide.

The new measures: eliminate all harvest of tarpon in state waters unless it’s in pursuit of a world record and in conjunction with a tag; limit tags to one per person per year except for licensed fishing guides; allow temporary possession of small tarpon for photography and measurement while tarpon greater than 40 inches must be kept in the water; and eliminate an exemption allowing tournament anglers to transport bonefish to weigh scales.

Read more Outdoors stories from the Miami Herald

Boaters and divers look for lobster off Cape Florida on Wednesday July 30, 2014.


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  • Fishing report

    Captain Gil Gutierrez of Lucky Fishing Charters out of TNT Marina in Keystone reported that nighttime snapper fishing on the reefs offshore of Miami has been red hot. Plenty of mangrove, mutton and yellowtail snappers are biting cut bait over the reef in depths of 25 to 60 feet of water. Captain Bill Hauck from the party boat Sea King out of Marathon reported the nighttime mangrove snapper fishing on the reef is off the chart. Nighttime snapper anglers are having no problem catching a limit of snappers, which are eating ballyhoo and threadfin herring.

  • Outdoors notebook

    Off-road vehicles such as swamp buggies, street-legal 4x4s, ATVs and UTVs will be allowed back in the Big Cypress National Preserve on Friday, marking the end of the annual 60-day recreational closure to ORV access. Only the designated primary trails in the backcountry will be open. All secondary trails will remain closed for an additional 60 days. The closure does not affect landowners’ access to private property using permitted trails. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/bicy.

Miami Herald

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