Florida Keys

Spearing fish in the Upper Keys lands him in jail, cops say

Antonio Maximo Sanchez
Antonio Maximo Sanchez Monroe County Sheriff's Office

A Clewiston man was jailed on multiple fisheries counts following an illegal spearfishing trip just offshore of the Upper Keys on Sunday, police say.

Antonio Maximo Sanchez, 25, was booked into Monroe County Jail on a $10,000 bond on 10 violations, including spearfishing in the Upper Keys — which is illegal — killing an out-of-season snook, and keeping oversized parrotfish and angelfish. The latter are so-called slot fish, which can be either too small or too large to keep.

It is against the law to spearfish in state waters off the Upper Keys, from Long Key north to the Miami-Dade County line.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Matthew Rubenstein questioned Sanchez after he saw him emerge from the ocean at mile marker 74 near the Channel 5 Bridge and hand a woman a snook he speared, according to Rubenstein’s arrest report. Sanchez was hunting for fish along the rocks, the report states.

Rubenstein found Sanchez also speared two parrotfish, an angelfish and a spadefish, according to the report.

The snook was under the 28-inch size limit. Snook are also slot fish and cannot be over 32 inches long to keep. The recreational snook season in both the ocean and Gulf sides of Monroe County does not begin until Sept. 1.