Catch & release still permitted during closure
NOTE: This story was posted today on TampabayOnline.com by Special Correspondent Frank Sergeant
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission ruled this week that the snook fishing season will remain closed on the state’s west coast, rather than reopening Sept. 1 as scheduled.
The season has been closed due to a 2010 cold-kill, which wiped out tens of thousands of fish from Clearwater to Naples.
“This is a wise move,” said snook guide Scott Moore of Holmes Beach. “I’m seeing big fish and a few slot (keeper-sized) fish, but no little fish — we’re missing whole-year classes due to the winter kill, and we need to get more in the pipeline before we start taking them again.”
The continued closure also was supported by the Coastal Conservation Association, which said that the number of adult snook on the west coast was down 20 percent after the freeze, and the numbers of juvenile fish killed was probably much greater.
The season will reopen Sept. 1, 2013, if the commission takes no further action.
Catch-and-release fishing for snook is permitted during the closure.