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Midday fishing: Passes and bridges, use the Silly Willy with an Uncle Neil custom teaser.

“The first day of summer.”  You could have fooled me: It’s felt like summer for a few weeks now.  I do appreciate with every day I live here that this area has the best fishing Florida has to offer.   It’s HOT.   Get used to it.  Life in these United States:  If you are in Florida, make sure your air conditioners are all working.

On the whole:  You want great fishing: Go right now!   Fishing trips have been excellent and likely will remain excellent for a while.    Average:  One trip:   30 pompano.   Another option 50 trout upper to over slot.     Just excellent.   Excellent.

Overcoming bad situations is part of the inshore fishing game.    Sometimes it’s weather.  Marauding dolphin.  Tough tides.  Floating weeds.  But people?  Yes, they can create the worst situations during an outing.  We have had boats come right into locations where we were casting.     Right in front of us.     People know and don’t care.   The clients got a giggle out of it.    “Didn’t you see us here?”     Then a lame reply.   I would say “I guess we have to move because you can’t find a piece of water where no one else is fishing.”    Disappointing.     Leads to an article that will be coming up.     Disappointing Human Behavior.    On and off the water, people do some idiotic stuff.

Pompano are on the verge of being “easy” again.   Good pompano fishing weeks back has steadied but any time now this action should be full swing and easy through August or September.   As I stated in the last report:  “Pompano, quite honestly, are probably the best of the best as far as a fish to eat from the waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.  Pompano, possibly our second most underutilized fish in the area.    Just not a ton of people fish them.    They are more exciting to catch.   It is a different kind of fishing, negotiating cement pilings and deep jigging.  But it is worth it.”   If you want to learn pompano, let me know.

Black drum can be caught easily again using the same lure we put down to the pompano:  The yellow Silly Willy with an Uncle Neil custom teaser.   Instead of hooking ten of them, right now it is two or three per outing so they will continue to arrive in their summer locations but can already be targeted and caught.  Remember:  “Deep water with current, this is not an undertaking for the beginner.   If you have not learned deep water reentry to a kayak, you need to.   The bridge trips need to be done on days with lighter wind.    You have to keep your eyes peeled for thunderstorms now no matter what time of day you go.

Redfish action has remained consistent.   I wish it was the way it used to be.   It is different.

Overall:   Outstanding for “summer.”     Trout on topwater lures:  About as good as it gets.   Pompano:  They are on track for another outstanding summer.    It is happening.   It is good.

Kayak Fishing Skool is coming up on June 28:  8th Avenue Pub in Safety Harbor.

Be careful out there.

Neil Taylor
Owner and guide: 

(Cell) 727-692-6345  LivelyBaits@aol.com
Owner and site administrator:  www.capmel.com

Upper Tampa Bay, Neil Taylor


What’s happenin’ in the upper stretches of the Bay?

It’s hot.  The temperature, not the action.  The action isn’t bad but it is getting tougher.   Highs in the mid 90s, the only thing keeping the action decent is heavy rains.   The action is better deeper than in the shallows.   I’m more likely to send jigs deep than ply the shallows.  I likely won’t do much flats stuff in the upper Bay until October.

A major grass dieoff in one location has made the fishing impossible.

Black drum are back but will arrive in bigger numbers later this month.   Last year’s average size fish was around 60 pounds with many that were caught in the 80 pound category.   Every time out:  Drum over 70 pounds.   Every time.

Pompano action is good but should be about to explode.   Trips have had mixed success.

Not the best time for the North Bay.   It’s just not.   In Fall, it will get better again.

Would you like to get better at fishing?   Look at The Kayak Fishing Academy.   There will be quarterly sessions, being added to the schedule soon.

Kayak Fishing Skool is coming up on June 28:  8th Avenue Pub in Safety Harbor.

See ya the next time around.    As always: Be careful out there!

Neil Taylor
Owner and guide: 
(Cell) 727-692-6345  LivelyBaits@aol.com
Owner and site administrator:  www.capmel.com

Stay alert and make a difference:

Keep an eye out and make the phone calls.    Illegal nets found in Upper Tampa Bay have been confiscated thanks to the tips from citizens.    Working with the field staff, I personally know that they have a great response rate on the calls I make.    Too many people do not make the attempt because they did not get a response in the past.      Trust me, they do the best they can and they do respond as quickly as possible.

The great work of FWC officers to target felony netters and keep an eye on other recreational offenders has led to better fishing for us all.  Their continued efforts to catch felony netters are making the south shore region return as a great fishery again.   But help them out:  Keep your eyes peeled for illegal activity and make a call if you see poaching, 888-404-FWCC (3922).  Your tips will help make cases and you could be eligible for a reward.  If you see a poacher:  Make a phone call.

At the request of my contemporaries, “keeping the message alive”:    If you catch a snook:  don’t take it out of the water for eight minutes taking pictures.    Don’t “get a weight” of the fish.    Enjoy the species if you cross paths, but take extra steps to make sure those fish remain in the living population.     A huge contingency of the best respected fishing guides on the Gulf coast opposed their decision to reopen to harvest, made sincere pleads over and over to get the decision reversed but were ignored.  Do your part and try to give this species a chance to return to prominence regardless of their faulty data and poor decision making.  A released snook not harvested preserves the future of our species, one that could face stresses like algae blooms and another freeze.


Lower Tampa Bay, Neil Taylor


By Neil Taylor, www.strikethreekayakfishing.com

Tremendous.     Fishing trips have been fantasitic.   June:    Will it continue all summer long?   Right now, fantastic.    The pompano have returned where I expected them to be.      We are back to 30 pompano per trip.

Lower Tampa Bay is ALWAYS good.    Right now:   On par.    It is fantastic.

Pompano are big.   Every year this time, a lot of what I do has everything to do with pompano.   They have arrived.    They aren’t big but they usually get bigger as the summer wears on.

Trout:   Not hard.    Use normal trout rules.   It is summer so it is not a bad idea to look deeper.   5 feet deep or more with grass bottom.

Redfish:  Be aggressive.   You can get them but you have to find them.

“The bloom of snotty algae and something called “blue-green algae” (a diatom) is a pseudo nitzschia species and is considered harmless.   But the fish don’t seem to like it.   Locations where the fishing was easy a week ago do not have the same action in the presence of this algae.   “   This algae has been nullified after some heavy rains.   The snot is still there and can make certain locations a challenge.

It was probably worse a month ago but it will be around the rest of summer.

This stuff is bad.   And because of it, I have moved my trips until this stuff has run its course.

Flounder are an option.    I’m sure of it even though I have stopped going down there.  Not as good as two years ago.   Yet.    But they can be caught.   Will it be like it was?  Things change every year.

Pompano trips:   About one cobia hooked per trip.   Sometimes small:  Sometimes they are 40 pounds.

The Skyway Piers are pretty dependable for mackerel action.   Call ahead to ask how the bite is, they don’t mind.   But get down and enjoy the Skyway Piers, our newest advertiser on capmel.com and Captain Mel Radio!!

To get detailed reports, check The Skyway Report on capmel.com.   Written by Paul Bristow every week, he keeps you on the heartbeat of the Skyway bite.  Get out and enjoy the easy action on the Skyway Piers!  Thank you Paul for dedicated, detailed reports EVERY SEVEN DAYS!

Would you like to get better at fishing?   Look at The Kayak Fishing Academy.   There will be quarterly sessions going up on the schedule shortly.    $30 for a three and a half hour crash course.    Kayak Fishing Skool is coming up on June 28:  8th Avenue Pub in Safety Harbor.

As always: Be careful out there!

Neil Taylor
Owner and guide: 
(Cell) 727-692-6345  LivelyBaits@aol.com
Owner and site administrator:  www.capmel.com


In a battle that is never really over: The great work of FWC officers to target felony netters and keep an eye on other recreational offenders has led to better fishing for us all.  Their continued efforts to catch felony netters are making the south shore region return as a great fishery again.   But help them out:  Keep your eyes peeled for illegal activity and make a call if you see poaching, 888-404-FWCC (3922).  Your tips will help make cases and you could be eligible for a reward.  The fishery survives the pressure of poaching, a lot of anglers and just continues to be a great location to go.

North Pinellas, Stewart Ames

Summer fishing is in full swing.  Big snook have invaded the beaches and have provided some spectacular action.  When east winds predominate and waters become clear, these large snook become more cautious as baits can be more closely scrutinized.  On the other hand, when waters become less clear and there’s decent surface chop, these same fish can become downright careless.  Grass grunts and large whitebait are the best offerings.  Half of the difficulty in hooking these fish is identifying the bite.  Many anglers assume that a 10 – 15 lbs fish is going to grab a bait, immediately turn, and take off on a drag screaming run.  In many cases, nothing could be further from the truth.  Big snook will often rise up, eat a bait, and glide back to the bottom.  If these fish feel no hook or tension from the line, they will not run.  As a result, the only thing the angler feels is the “tick”.  This tick is a solid thump on the line (when the fish eats the bait), often followed by nothing. The experienced snook fisherman will detect this “tick” and reel down on the fish, which generally initiates a strong response from the fish…a jump or blistering run.
Over the last month, quality sized trout out on the beaches have dwindled….typical as May turns to June in the Clearwater / Palm Harbor area. On the bright side, redfishing has remained consistent.  Consistent over the last month has meant that large schools have not been located but quality fish are being caught on almost all trips (25 – 28 inch fish).  Casting into mangrove pockets on the higher phases of the tide has been productive…but expect to have to cover some ground.  One or two fish may be located in a given area, but setting up and landing 20 fish off one spot has not been the situation lately.  Hopefully, some larger schools will make an appearance over the next month and targeting these hard pulling fish will become even easier.
Tarpon have been abundant recently in the passes early and late in the day although hooking them has been far from automatic.  Grass grunts, thread fin herring and crabs all represent good bait choices.  Drifting these baits with and without a bobber will produce, as long as bait drift speed is neutralized with the tide.  Good luck and good fishing.

The Skyway, Paul Bristow


It was a week of finding peak fish feeding periods at the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Piers, as species seemed to take a signal from the intermittent tidal flows & passing storms in the Tampa Bay region.  Spanish mackerel were one example of a feeding-window bite, as these fish aggressively fed during mid-to-late afternoon periods right up until sunset.  Mangrove snapper were definitely on an after-sundown bite and many nighttime visitors caught all of their best fish underneath the lights.  Gag grouper remained on a good feed, but anglers continued to report large numbers of short fish versus keepers.  Funky Florida summertime aquatic visitors like barracuda & houndfish are commonly being spotted on the surface.  Tarpon were strong this week and some monster sharks are beginning to become a weekly occurrence at the piers.

Mangrove snapper were taken in good numbers, but with the days heating up & sunlight reigning down, the best fishing occurred after sundown.  Anglers seeking the largest mangos should focus on the hours around a tide change in the overnight hours and free-line a small live bait.  Daytime visitors that want some nice eating fish for a fish fry need not be concerned.  The bite on various types of grunts & porgies has been solid.  Key West grunts & spot tail porgies are the most common species being pulled from the artificial reefs.  Both fish are excellent eating and can be prepared using a wide variety of fish cookery methods, just like mangrove snapper.  Fishing the artificial reefs for snapper & porgies & grunts needs only simple terminal tackle rigging.  The first choice is live-bait-style versus knocker-rig style with the difference being that the knocker sinker slides right to the hook.  Use 20 lb. to 30 lb. fluorocarbon leader material and size 1/0 to 2/0 circle or octopus style black nickel hooks.  About 24″ of leader will allow a few break-offs and a swivel is used as a sinker stopper in the live bait approach.  The swivel at the start of the leader can also keep a knocker rig from spinning & twisting the line in the knocker rig.

Spanish mackerel remained deep and on an afternoon feed this past week as most fish were taken from the bait shop areas on out.  Despite baitfish schools surfacing regularly each day now, mackerel seem to be hanging deeper than in previous years.  This could be that much of the surface baitfish activity is from very large threadfin herring that are too big for all but trophy-sized Spanish mackerel.  When mackerel are deep, Gotcha lures & silver spoons fished behind a trolling weight will be a best bet because both lures can be fished deep.  With the spoon, you can either go from 2 oz. to 3 oz. – 4 oz. on the trolling weight or you can slow roll the spoon using a jigging motion on the rod.  The same jigging motion can be used to make a Gotcha lure probe the depths and split-shot sinkers can be added ahead of the Gotcha Lure for even more weight without much impact to the action.

When the mackerel bite slowed on artificial lures, some visitors did take a few nice fish by presenting natural baits like live sardines, live shrimp or cut strips of sardines or herring deeper in the water column.  Strip belly baits of scaled sardines or threadfin herring are great because of their wobble on a long shank hook.  Use a scissors for the best strip & the cut will look just like a white canoe.  Only hook the very end to ensure the most enticing action.  You can use floats to stay near the surface or split-shot sinkers to reach deeper in the water column.  Presenting strip belly baits can also yield a bonus species like a snapper, grouper, or cobia.

Some truly monstrous sharks are beginning to become commonplace at both piers in the nighttime hours.  A large tiger and lemon shark were caught this past week, with both fish being released according to FWC regulations.  Hammerhead & bull sharks are now nearly a nightly occurrence as both species not only follow tarpon schools as they migrate into Tampa Bay, but also prefer the waters of the estuary for rearing their young pups.  Bring heavy tackle, massive baits, and a crew of anglers to fight these beasts from a fixed structure.  Fish outgoing tides to increase your odds of actually taming a massive shark at the piers.  The closed side pier pilings on an incoming tide with a fish over 200 lbs. are not hospitable to anglers.  Many of the largest shark species are catch-and-release only, so consider fishing closer to the toll booth areas if you would like a picture of your trophy along the rock retaining walls prior to release.

Anglers were spotting some toothy visitors other than sharks cruising the surface at the piers this past week.  Both barracuda & houndfish were spotted and hooked over the past few days.  These truly sub-tropical species only visit Tampa Bay when waters are warm like they are becoming right now.  Both species are ultra-aggressive and put on a memorable fight.  Barracuda have bars, black spots, and a broad body & tail.  Houndfish look like a much larger & broader-billed version of our year round resident needlefish.  Both fish are great fighters and make for fantastic memories & menacing photographs of a catch that has a vampire-like smile.

When it’s tarpon time, it’s also shark time



Tarpon get most of the attention when talking about exciting fly action for large fish in our area. Baitfish are more prolific, and large tarpon follow their forage and populate most of our local waters. Following them are fish that consider tarpon their favorite food. These top-of-the-food-chain predators are a variety of sharks. Waiting for a tarpon to take a fly can make for a long day. How many times have you seen sharks patrolling your tarpon hot spot? If you cast to them with a tarpon setup and get a hookup, a frayed leader and lost fly are usually your reward. A slight modification in your tarpon setup is needed. Ideally, have a second rod rigged and ready to save time and not ruin your tarpon chances. A 10-weight fly rod, 200 yards of 30-pound backing, and a leader with a 4-foot, 60-pound butt section, 20-pound class tippet and a 1-foot wire bite tippet will attach to the fly. Use a Bimini twist or haywire twist to double the section next to the 40-pound single-strand wire. Attach the wire to the double-strand leader with an Albright knot. A bright orange or red fly, size 3/0 will require a haywire twist to complete the connection to the wire leader. Cast ahead of the shark, working the fly with a slow, teasing erratic motion. A hookup will need several serious strip sets low and to the side for good hook penetration. When using single-strand wire, a right angle back-and-forth motion will break the tag end of the wire with a clean, smooth finish. Using a tool to cut the wire will leave a very sharp result that will injure you or cut your leader while playing the fish.

Pat Damico runs charters in lower Tampa Bay and can be reached at captpatdamico.com and (727) 504-8649.

This is your best time for tarpon fishing



Now is the best time to target tarpon. Silver kings are cruising the beaches on their yearly migration up and down the state’s west coast. This week’s strong new moon tides and the strong full moon tides in two weeks provide some of the best action for tarpon fishing. They will congregate in the deep 90-foot hole off of Egmont Key, waiting for the falling tide. Once the current is at its fastest, crabs will flush out with the tide. Tarpon are in the hole waiting for the flush of crabs. Two of the biggest problems are that people make the mistake of dipping crabs in the “drift” and they run on plane through the pack of boats that are fishing. Crabs are all over the place; there’s no reason to interrupt everyone’s drift who is fishing. Once the drift is over, go out and around the pack of boats, not through the fish and the people fishing. Running on plane disrupts the fish and causes unnecessary boat wakes. I use a rod that can handle heavy 65-pound braided line with 80-pound flourocarbon leader with a 4/0 Super J hook. This setup will land big fish quickly, preventing it from becoming exhausted. Tarpon will fight for long periods of time, so take time to revive the fish by putting the boat in gear and flushing water through the gills.

Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit captainrobgorta.com.

Turn attention to gag grouper and red snapper



Attention has turned to gag grouper and red snapper for many offshore fishermen. Red snapper can be best targeted in waters 105 feet and deeper, with some available in water as shallow as 60 feet. Although the snapper will be found on high profile structures such as wrecks and ledges, we have found most of our fish inhabiting the same swiss cheese bottom as red grouper. It has become standard operating procedure to deploy a stinger rigged flatline with a live or frozen sardine to entice pelagic fish such as kingfish, blackfin tuna, or a barracuda when fishing in the deep blue water. We normally put out 50 to 60 feet of line to allow the frozen bait to suspend in the water column. A pleasant surprise has occurred several times when the flatline went off with a powerful surge, and when the fish was landed it turned out to be a red snapper. We are now putting out as much as 100 feet of line and chumming with small slivers of sardine. The bait remains suspended at a much deeper depth than customary and has produced more strikes on some spots that the usual bottom fishing methods. Spanish mackerel are not as abundant close to the shoreline as they have been, and best results have occurred on the band of hard bottom that is about 3 miles from shore. Look for the dark patches that indicate rocky areas and troll between them until fish are located, which should not take long. No. 1 planers, a silver or gold 0 or 1 spoon with 30 feet of leader is all that is needed.

Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (727) 397-8815.

The Meatheads of the Week








Officers T. Basford and N. Basford were patrolling in St. Andrews Bay and stopped a vessel to conduct a resource inspection. The operator showed signs of being impaired. After the officers completed the resource inspection, the operator was administered field sobriety tasks. The operator was taken into custody after completing the field sobriety tasks for suspicion of BUI. Breath alcohol samples were provided and returned .138 and .129. The operator was booked into the Bay County Jail for BUI.




Officers Clark and Long contacted a subject who had no life jacket in a kayak on the Intercoastal Waterway under the Theo Baars Bridge. Officer Clark instructed the kayaker to come ashore to speak with him on the proper safety equipment needed to safely operate on the waters of the state. The subject refused, turned and started to paddle away. Officer Clark entered the water and grabbed the kayak to prevent the subject from escaping. While addressing the violations, Officer Clark could smell a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. He also noticed his eyes were very bloodshot and glassy. He asked the operator if he had been drinking and he advised he had. He also stated that he was not intoxicated and that he had mostly smoked marijuana. Officer Clark conducted field sobriety tasks on the subject to determine if he was impaired. The subject was subsequently arrested for BUI and transported to the Escambia County Jail where he provided a breath sample of .079 and .084. Officer Long conducted an inventory on the kayak and discovered 6.6 grams of cannabis along with paraphernalia. A criminal background check conducted by FWC dispatch revealed the subject had at least four previous convictions for DUI of drugs or alcohol, making this BUI arrest a felony charge. The subject was also cited for possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia, and interference with an FWC officer.


Lieutenant Hahr was patrolling the Escambia River when he saw a vessel returning to the dock with several people on onboard. While conducting a safety inspection, he saw indicators of impairment from the operator. Lieutenant Hahr conducted field sobriety tasks on the operator to determine if the operator was impaired. After completion of the field sobriety tasks, Lieutenant Hahr arrested the operator for BUI of drugs or alcohol. The operator refused to submit to a breath test and was booked into the Escambia County Jail.


While conducting saltwater fisheries inspections on the Pensacola Bay Bridge, Officer Pettey found a subject to be in possession of over the daily bag limit of mangrove snapper. The subject had nine mangrove snapper, four over his daily bag limit. Four of the nine mangrove snapper were under the legal-size limit of ten inches. The subject was issued a citation for over the bag limit and a written warning for undersized mangrove snapper.


Officer Allgood saw a subject driving a vehicle erratically on Interstate 10 in Pensacola. Officer Allgood activated his lights and siren and attempted to stop the vehicle. The subject initially did not stop and slowly exited the interstate. After about a mile, the subject eventually stopped at a residence that was not his. Officer Allgood had the subject exit his vehicle. He initially did not comply with the officer’s orders. Officer Allgood ordered the subject on the ground and he eventually complied. The subject was taking into custody and was cited for DUI of drugs or alcohol and felony fleeing and eluding.




Officers Travis and Kossey were working an oyster detail around the Cat Point Oyster Bar. They saw a vessel with one person onboard actively harvesting oysters. They pulled alongside the vessel to conduct a resource inspection. They retrieved a bag of oysters from the vessel and measured and counted each oyster. The oysters in the bag were 70% undersized. The subject was cited and 251 undersized oysters were returned to the water alive.


Officers Travis and Kossey were working an oyster detail in the Eastpoint Area. They saw a vessel with two people onboard returning from harvesting oysters and stopped the vessel for a resource inspection. They located two bags of untagged oysters onboard the vessel. Both subjects were cited and two bags of oysters were returned to the water alive.


Officer Pestka was working an oyster detail in the Eastpoint Area. She saw a vessel returning from harvesting and stopped it to conduct a resource inspection. Officer Pestka inspected a bag of oysters found onboard the vessel. After counting and measuring each oyster, she determined the bag contained 46% undersized oysters. She cited one subject and seized 260 undersized oysters. The undersized oysters were returned to the water alive.


Officer Peterson and Reserve Officer Martin were working an oyster detail in the Eastpoint Area. They saw a vessel returning from harvesting oysters and stopped it to conduct a resource inspection. Officers Peterson and Martin inspected a bag of oysters found onboard the vessel. After counting and measuring each oyster, they determined the bag contained 72% undersized oysters. Officer Peterson cited one subject and seized 306 undersized oysters. The undersized oysters were returned to the water alive.




Officers M. Webb, H. Webb and Gerber conducted a fisheries and boating safety inspection on a vessel returning from offshore fishing. The operator showed signs of being impaired and was administered field sobriety tasks. He was subsequently placed under arrest for suspicion of BUI. Breath alcohol samples were provided and returned .102 and .101. The operator was booked into Gulf County Jail for BUI.


Officers M. Webb, H. Webb and Gerber conducted a boating safety inspection while patrolling St. Joe Bay, near the tip of Cape San Blas. During the inspection, the operator displayed signs of being impaired. After completing the inspection, the operator was administered field sobriety tasks. The operator was placed under arrest for BUI and booked into the Gulf County Jail.




Officer Yates and Gore received information that an alligator was harvested, including details of the individual responsible. The ensuing investigation revealed the subject killed a 3-foot alligator. The appropriate charges were filed with the State Attorney’s Office for the violation.




Officer Pifer, Officer Letcher and Lieutenant Clark were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Crab Island area in Destin during the Memorial Day weekend. A 20-foot runabout vessel was stopped, and during the safety inspection, the officers saw several open containers of beer on the boat. The inspection revealed there were insufficient number of life jackets on the boat for all occupants. It was determined that all occupants were under the legal age of 21 to possess/consume alcohol. The boat operator was issued a notice to appear citation and a citation for insufficient number of life jackets.


Officer Corbin and Major Duval were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Crab Island area in Destin during the Memorial Day weekend. The officers saw a paddleboat being operated by a female on the west side of Crab Island without a lifejacket or sound producing device onboard. Officer Corbin contacted the operator and determined the paddleboard was rented. The officers instructed the operator to return to the livery so she could be issued a life jacket and whistle. The officers followed the operator back to the location of the livery and spoke with the employee who rented the paddleboard. When asked, the employee stated that she had forgotten to issue the renter the required safety gear. The employee was issued a notice to appear citation.


Officer Corbin and Major Duval were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety and resource inspections in the Destin Harbor during the Memorial Day Weekend. The officers saw a PWC displaying improper registration numbers. The PWC had a current Alabama registration decal with partial Florida registration numbers displayed on the starboard side and only letters displayed on the port side. The operator had owned the PWC for eight years. The safety inspection revealed that the fire extinguisher was not charged and there was no sound producing device. The PWC had a cooler and a rod and reel. The fisheries inspection revealed that the operator had harvested a red snapper. The season for red snapper is closed. The operator was issued a notice to appear citation for possession of red snapper during closed season. He was also issued a citation for improper display of vessel registration and warnings for the other safety violations.


Officers Corbin and Wilkenson were on vessel patrol conducting boating safety inspections in the Crab Island area in Destin during the Memorial Day Weekend. The officers saw two jet skis being operated on the south side of Crab Island without registration numbers displayed. The officers stopped both jet skis and conducted a boating safety inspection. Both operators were following their father who was operating a runabout vessel just ahead of them. They explained that their father was the registered owner. While speaking with the father, it was determined he failed to title both jet skis in his name within 30 days of purchase. It was determined the jet skis were purchased in September 2017. The owner was issued a notice to appear citation.


While patrolling during Subtropical Storm Alberto, Officer Corbin saw fresh tire tracks leading into the Eglin Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The officer followed the tracks and saw where a vehicle had spun out and damaged management lands. Officer Corbin located the vehicle and saw two individuals in the truck. Neither individual possessed the required recreational user permits to access Eglin WMA. Throughout the officer’s investigation, the driver was very nervous. Officer Corbin could smell the distinct scent of burnt cannabis. The driver admitted that there was cannabis in the truck. The driver was issued a notice to appear citation.


Officer Wilkenson responded to a single vessel boating accident that occurred in the Destin Pass. The vessel involved was a PWC and the operator was transported with non-life-threatening injuries to a local hospital. An Okaloosa County Sheriff’s marine deputy at the hospital obtained the operator’s contact information and a written statement. The PWC involved was a livery jet ski. The operator of the jet ski was an employee of the livery. The investigation revealed the operator was jumping waves in the Destin Pass. The maneuver caused her jet ski to twist and land on its side. Upon impact with the water, she was ejected off the PWC. The operator struck her head on the ski and briefly lost consciousness. A fellow employee skiing with her was close enough to respond and pulled her to safety. The operator also had some water in her lungs. The operator was issued a citation for careless operation.




Officers Hughes and Korade were conducting vessel patrol near St. Marks during the Memorial Day weekend when they stopped a vessel to conduct a boating safety and resource inspection. The two occupants of the vessel told the officers they had caught seven spotted sea trout. Measurements of the fish revealed that four of the trout were undersized. Citations were issued to both subjects and the four-undersized trout were seized.


Officers Hughes and Korade were on patrol conducting welfare checks before the arrival of Subtropical Storm Alberto when they noticed a vehicle stuck in a ditch on the side of the road and an individual trying to pull it out. They stopped to determine if he needed assistance. During the encounter, the subject displayed multiple signs of impairment. The subject stated that he had been consuming alcohol and was driving home when he swerved into the ditch to avoid an alligator. The subject refused to perform field sobriety tasks, but the officers determined that enough probable cause existed for arrest. The subject was transported to the Wakulla County Jail and cited for DUI, refusal to submit to breath test and driving with a suspended license.




Officers Letcher and Tison were checking subjects fishing along the shoreline of Choctawhatchee Bay and conducted a fisheries inspection which revealed one of the subjects had an undersized redfish in his bucket. The subject was cited for the violation.


Officers Brooks, Tison, and Bradshaw responded to a golf course in Freeport after learning three golfers were bitten by a fox. The officers located the fox and turned it over to the Walton County Health Department for rabies testing. All three individuals were treated at a local hospital and released.




Officers Cushing and Land were on a multi-day trip aboard the offshore patrol vessel NW FINCAT. They saw a state charter “six pack” vessel in state waters in the Gulf of Mexico with seven persons actively fishing. A state citation was issued for not having the proper charter license. The following day on the return trip, Officer Land boarded a fishing vessel that was currently under charter in federal waters. The vessel did not have a federal gulf reef fish permit. The appropriate actions were taken for the violation.


Officers Cushing and Land were on patrol aboard the offshore patrol vessel NW FINCAT. They approached a large privately-owned sport fishing vessel in federal waters. The officers saw fish being dumped overboard and recovered one cold red snapper. The captain admitted to having the fish in a bucket of ice. He stated that they intended on cooking and eating the fish. The appropriate action was taken for harvesting red snapper in closed season.


Officer Cushing and Land were on patrol aboard the offshore patrol vessel NW FINCAT. They conducted a marine fisheries inspection of a federally permitted charter vessel that was on a “fun trip” with family in federal waters. Officer Land discovered two undersized gray triggerfish. The appropriate actions were taken for the violation. Later that day, the officers saw persons onboard a recreational fishing vessel in Florida waters of the Gulf of Mexico actively fishing. Officer Cushing initiated a conversation with the operator. He admitted to having a red snapper onboard. Officer Land located and verified the snapper in a cooler. A state citation was issued to the operator for harvesting red snapper during closed season.






Officers Sauls and Richardson targeted speeding violations in the bird nesting zone of St. George Island State Park. The officers issued five citations and 11 written warnings for subjects speeding through shorebird nesting zone.




A multi-agency targeted enforcement detail was conducted on Holmes Creek at Cypress Springs. The patrol efforts centered on public and boating safety due to the congested waterway and numerous complaints from the public. The officers arrested two individuals for BUI, two individuals under 21 years of age for possession of alcohol, issued eight infractions and 17 written warnings. Approximately 51 vessels were inspected and 70 users checked.






Officer Basford and Reserve Officer Cooper responded to a medical call on Shell Island. An individual was walking a paddleboard through the rough surf when a wave caught the board, causing it to strike him in the head. The individual complained of head and neck pain. The officers transported EMS from the Panama City Marina to the island and the subject was placed on a backboard. He was then transported back to the city marina where EMS took him to Bay Medical Hospital.






Officer Maltais presented a “Summer Safety Stand Down” presentation to the Navy/Marine Corps F-35 Fighter Squadron called “Grim Reapers.” The presentation centered on hurricane season, safe boating, distracted driving, and outdoor recreational activities to include state parks and beaches and the dangers of rip currents/warning flags. It was estimated that 240 military personnel attended.




Officers Greene and Yates participated in the Bethlehem High School End of School Year Block Party. The officers used marked patrol units along with a vessel as a static display. Other agencies and local partners participated in the event centered on a career day outreach event. There were approximately 150 educational contacts with students and many more in attendance.









Officer Browning was returning from training when he saw a vehicle operating erratically and running vehicles off the road. Officer Browning turned around to stop the vehicle but the driver fled at a high rate of speed. The vehicle crashed on the side of the highway and the driver fled on foot. Officer Browning pursued the subject on foot and made an arrest in a nearby field. The subject was booked into the county jail for driving under the influence, possession of cocaine, fleeing and eluding and driving on a suspended license.


Citrus County Officers worked a detail focusing on blue crab violations. The detail resulted in two FWC citations, seven boating citations, and 54 written warnings.


Officer Ulrich was on patrol when he checked a subject that was in possession of two undersized red drum and snook out of season. The subject was issued a citation for the snook and warnings for the red drum.


Environmental Investigator Starling received a complaint regarding the storage of waste tires at a residence located in Floral City. The defendant had been storing waste tires at an unpermitted facility and was issued a written warning in November 2017 regarding the violation. Recently Investigator Starling received another complaint regarding the property and it was determined the defendant had failed to remove the tires. Approximately 450 waste tires were stored at a private residence in violation of FSS 403.161(1)(b) FAC 62-711.400(4)(a). Investigator Starling issued a resource citation.




Officers Christmas, McGregor and Sweat along with Lieutenant Wright worked a resource and safety inspection near Wayne B. Stevens ramp located in Duval County. A subject operating a vessel approached the ramp as Officer Sweat and Lieutenant Wright were dealing with a separate subject for a safety violation. There were four ramps at this location, three of which were not being used. The operator approaching the ramp started screaming for everyone to move and get out of his way. The operator was informed the subjects near one of the four ramps were FWC officers and they were dealing with a violation. The operator got furious and started to scream louder, insulting everyone nearby including FWC. He then started videoing himself as he screamed and cursed everyone near this location. Officer Christmas saw this subject attempt to load his vessel onto a trailer and almost hit a passenger who had gotten out of the boat to assist him. After the vessel was loaded, Officer Christmas went over to speak to the operator regarding his careless operation and to conduct a safety inspection. The operator showed signs of impairment, was read his Miranda rights, and asked to perform field sobriety exercises. The operator performed poorly on the exercises was arrested for BUI. He was transported to the Duval County Jail where breath samples provided a .115 and .113. Appropriate citations and law enforcement action was taken for the violations.


Officers Christmas and McGregor were working resource and safety inspections at Jim King Boat Ramp located in Duval County when they contacted a subject who just came in from fishing. Officer Christmas spoke with the operator after he loaded his vessel and saw signs of impairment. The subject had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath, his eyes were bloodshot and watery and his speech was slurred when he spoke. He was also very unsteady on his feet. Officer Christmas read the subject his rights and requested that he perform field sobriety exercises. The subject performed poorly on the exercises and was arrested for BUI. He was booked at the Duval County Jail where he refused to provide a breath sample.


Officers Sweat and Christmas were on water patrol at the Sister’s Creek Manatee Zone. Officer Sweat saw a vessel in violation of the slow speed zone. He stopped the vessel and detected signs of impairment as he spoke to the operator. Field sobriety tasks were conducted at the Jim King Boat Ramp and the operator performed poorly. He was transported to the Duval County Jail where he submitted breath samples of 0.093/0.093.


A Jacksonville national tire business contacted FWC for assistance after approximately 150 waste tires were illegally dumped behind their business over the past 2 months costing the business nearly $500 in disposal fees. Environmental Investigators Terrones, Starling and Delgado conducted after hours surveillance of the business and apprehend two different suspects that dumped tires. Both were issued appropriate citations.




Officers Dasher, Albritton and Wilder were patrolling in federal waters offshore Taylor County. The officers saw a vessel coming in and stopped the vessel. During a resource inspection officers located 7 gag grouper in the vessel’s cooler. Gag grouper season is currently closed in federal waters. Officer Albritton seized the gouper and issued the appropriate criminal citations to the captain of the vessel.


Officers Albritton and Dasher were working a trespass complaint around Blue Springs Lake at Keaton Beach when the officers saw a parked vehicle at the entrance of the rolloff site at the end of Blue Springs Lake Road. When the driver of the vehicle saw the officers, he tried to drive away. The officers stopped the vehicle and found the driver to be driving with a suspended driver’s license, second offense. Officer Dasher issued the appropriate criminal citation.


Officers Albritton and Dasher worked a trespass complaint based on information they received from Four Rivers Land and Timber. The officers followed ATV tracks to a residence in Keaton Beach. During the investigation, the officers located two subjects and gained post Miranda confessions for trespass. The officers will be direct filing the appropriate criminal charges for trespass.


Lieutenant Guy was fishing with his family in the Big Bend WMA Hickory Mound Impoundment when he saw several subjects catching undersized red drum. Lieutenant Guy left the impoundment and called Investigator McMillan. Investigator McMillan in plain clothes watched the subjects until Lieutenant Guy could return to the impoundment on duty. Once at the scene, Investigator McMillan told Lieutenant Guy that he saw the subjects placing an undersized red fish behind the seat of their vehicle. Lieutenant Guy conducted a resource inspection and located an undersized red fish in their cooler and an undersized red fish under the vehicle seat in a plastic bag. The subject was issued a citation. Lieutenant Guy located two other subjects nearby with red fish violations. One subject was found in possession of an oversized red fish and the second with an undersized red fish. Both subjects were issued criminal citations.


Lieutenant Guy saw a vehicle weaving on Cow Creek Grade of Four Rivers Timber Company. The driver stopped in the road and was staggering and trying to change clothes. Lieutenant Guy contacted the driver who appeared to be extremely intoxicated and had vomited all over the interior of his vehicle. Field sobriety exercises were conducted and the driver was placed under arrest for DUI. The driver refused a breath test and was booked into the Taylor County Jail.


Officer Colasanti was on patrol during Subtropical Storm Alberto on Hwy 98, approximately two miles west of Cow Creek Grade. He discovered a single vehicle accident where a vehicle hydroplaned into a telephone pole. The subject was traveling home during the storm and lost control of the vehicle. Being first on scene, he began to treat the subject for injuries sustained during the accident. The subject had a broken leg, multiple lacerations on his arms, and a head injury.


Officer Johnston was patrolling Ichetucknee State Park and encountered several subjects consuming alcoholic beverages and one subject smoking a dab pen containing THC oil. After interviewing and conducting his investigation, Officer Johnston cited one subject for possession of drug paraphernalia and another subject for consuming alcohol by a person under 21 years of age. Several other infractions were issued to others present for consumption of alcohol within a state park. The drug paraphernalia was seized and transported to the FWC Lake City Regional Office evidence compound.




Lieutenant Humphries and Officers Boone, Ransom, Vazquez and Davenport were targeting boating under the influence at the confluence of the Santa Fe and Suwannee Rivers. Officer Ransom conducted a boating safety check on a vessel where the operator displayed several signs of impairment. Further investigation determined that the operator was boating under the influence. The operator was arrested and transported to the Suwannee County Jail.


Officer Ransom received a complaint of illegal artifact digging on state park property. While conducting the investigation two suspects were located and provided written statements of digging on state property. Officer Ransom while conducting a consensual search of the associated vehicle discovered a shotgun with no serial number that was seized as evidence for further processing. The appropriate charges will be filed with the state attorney for further prosecution.


Lieutenant Humphries, Officer Davenport and Boone responded to a boating accident on the Suwannee River. The operator of a vessel hit a wake which threw the operator from the vessel. The vessel continued to run until it hit the nearby bank where it came to rest. The operator suffered no injuries and the boat had minor damage. The operator was given the associated paperwork to file reference the boating accident.




Officer Starling was on patrol in Goethe State Forest during a special opportunity hog hunt. He spoke with two men driving a pickup truck with a dog box and hog dogs. The two men stated that they had got back in the vehicle from attempting to catch a hog just several minutes before and were going to attempt to find another location to try to catch a hog before they went home. Officer Starling told the men that the special opportunity hog hunt had ended one and a half hours earlier and that they were hunting past the legal time. Each received a citation for hunting during a period closed to hunting.


Officer Starling was on patrol in Goethe State Forest during the special opportunity hog hunt. He saw two men standing around two pickup trucks with several dogs. Officer Starling informed the men that the legal time to hunt began one and half hours after sunset and that they were hunting 47 minutes before legal time. Each was issued a citation for hunting during periods closed to hunting.


Officer Fox was on land patrol in Cedar Key and saw an SUV with two occupants towing a vessel trailer without a tag and no working trailer lights. He stopped the SUV and the driver said they had been commercially harvesting oysters. Officer Fox conducted a resource inspection of the oysters and found 29% of them to be under the legal-size limit. A check of the subject’s information revealed that the passenger had an active warrant. Officer Fox placed him under arrest and transported him to the Levy County Jail. The driver was cited for the traffic violations and issued a citation for possession of over the maximum tolerance of undersized oysters.


Officers Willis, Wells and Johnston were dispatched to the Highway 40 boat ramp, Yankeetown, on a complaint of six men stealing crabs from commercial blue crab traps near the islands adjacent to the boat ramp. When they arrived on scene witnesses identified the persons responsible for the trap theft. Officers Johnston and Willis spoke with the suspects about the complaint. The men admitted to having taken crabs from the commercial traps. One of the men had marijuana in his vehicle which was in plain view. The man did not have a medical prescription for the marijuana. That subject was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. The trap robbing charges were direct filed through the Levy County State Attorney’s Office felony division.


Officer Wells was dispatched to assist Cedar Key Police Department about a traffic stop on the number 3 bridge in Cedar Key. Officer Wells arrived on scene and spoke with the Cedar Key Police officer and the detained subjects. The subjects had been harvesting oysters after sunset and had approximately 22 bags (by volume) of oysters in their vessel, unbagged, unculled, and untagged. Oysters cannot be harvested after sunset, must be culled at the harvest location, and must be properly tagged as to harvest location and time. The oysters were also lying in the bottom of the vessel, not separated from spilled fuel and bilge water. Oysters must be kept free of any contaminant while harvesting and processing for public health reasons. Lieutenant Umhoefer arrived on scene to assist Officer Wells. The officers cited the subjects for harvest of oysters during period closed to harvest, quality control violations, and tagging violations.


Officer Willis was on patrol in the Goethe State Forest during the Special Opportunity Hog Hunt when he saw a red pickup truck and a black pickup with dog boxes and dogs parked on the side of the road. Three male subjects were on the side of the road holding a flashlight towards the ground, indicative of hog sign tracking. Officer Willis asked when the group was hunting and they said that they hunted around 15 minutes ago. Officer Starling arrived on scene and spoke with the group of subjects. He asked them if they knew what the legal time was for the hog hunt, and they said that they thought it was sundown. Officer Willis explained that the legal hunting time was one and a half hours after sundown until one and a half hours before sunrise. He told them that they were hunting almost two hours before legal hunting hours. Each of the three was issued misdemeanor citations for hunting during periods closed to hunting.






Officers assigned to the Florida Folk Festival responded to a report of a lost hiker on the Florida Trail. The hiker left from Stephen Foster State Park, headed west, and got mixed up on which way to go back to his vehicle. After a brief search utilizing agency UTVs the hiker was located and made his way back to the state park and his vehicle.


Lieutenant Douglas and Officers McDonald and Yates responded to a distressed veteran, who called the veteran suicide hotline advising of doing possible harm to himself. The officers responded to the Osceola National Forest along with Columbia County Sheriff’s Office deputies, located the veteran and brought him back to the Deep Creek Community Center.




Officer Boone and Davenport, along with the Lafayette County Sheriff Office, responded to a search and rescue for two lost subjects reportedly missing for several hours. Both officers responded to the location and located the subjects in a nearby swamp.


Lieutenant Humphries and Officer Ransom responded to a drowning in the Suwannee River near Telford Springs. Working closely with Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office, they provided vessel support along with crowd control. The missing person was located and the family was notified.




Officer Vazquez responded to a boating accident on Cherry Lake in which a boat with nine people aboard ran into a dock. The vessel was a complete loss, however all nine occupants escaped the accident with no injuries. The boating accident is under investigation and the appropriate paperwork will be filed.


Lieutenant Humphries, Investigator McMillan, and Officers Ransom and Nichols responded to a complaint of a missing subject on the Withlacoochee River. The missing subject had decided to float down the river on a blow-up raft and did not arrive at the predetermined designation to be picked up. After checking several boat ramps, associated properties along the river, and maneuvering a vessel through shallow waters the subject was located and safely reunited with family.









Officers Berry and Dias were patrolling in the Ocala Wildlife Management Area (WMA) near Halfmoon Lake when they saw a suspicious vehicle pulled off in the woods. When they approached the vehicle, they saw an individual sitting in the driver’s seat. While talking to the individual, the officer’s saw sifters, shovels and a wagon in the bed of the truck. Further investigation revealed the driver’s floorboard was full of flint flakes and artifacts. The individual stated he was waiting for a friend to return from the woods. A short time later a second individual exited the woods, saw the officer’s and returned to the woods. Officer Berry made contact and a records check revealed the individual had active warrants out of Marion County. Post Miranda the individual stated they were looking for a place to dig artifacts, but had not been digging. The officers backtracked to individual’s foot sign down a freshly cut trail to the edge of the lake, but no fresh digging was found. Officer Berry placed the individual under arrest for the active warrants.




Officer Mason was on patrol at the Palatka City Docks when he conducted a fisheries inspection. It was found that a male subject was in possession of a red drum that was 30-inches in length. The subject was cited for possessing a red drum over the slot size of 27 inches.


Officer Guirate and the Palatka Police Department responded to a sexual assault and false imprisonment complaint at Ravine Gardens State Park. While in route to the call, Palatka PD saw a subject matching the description in the area. The subject was positively identified by the victim and was taken into custody.


Putnam County units responded to a UTV crash with entrapment that occurred at Dunn’s Creek State Park. One female subject died in route to the hospital and two other female subjects received minor injuries. The Florida Highway Patrol worked the crash as a traffic homicide.


Lieutenant Dickson and Officer Guirate responded to Etoniah State Forest about a hit and run traffic crash involving forest service property. Upon finding parts left on scene, both units canvassed the area and developed a suspect. The suspect and vehicle were located approximately four miles away. The driver was issued a criminal traffic citation for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage.




While on patrol Officer Hastings saw a subject fishing with a cast net in a pond near downtown Orlando. The individual stated he did not possess a freshwater fishing license and was fishing for Tilapia. Officer Hastings conducted a resource inspection of the subjects catch found him to be in possession of two bluegill, five redear sunfish, and two largemouth bass. The subject admitted to catching the panfish. The subject was issued a citation for taking gamefish by illegal method.




Officers Malicoat and Pelzel were checking subjects at the south jetty in New Smyrna Beach when an adult male was found to be in possession of an out of slot size snook and other fisheries violations. He was issued a criminal notice to appear for the snook violation.


Officers Edson and Bellville were on water patrol on the St. Johns River when they stopped a vessel for improper display of registration numbers. During the stop the officers detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the operator and saw signs of impairment. The operator admitted to drinking four or five beers. Officer Edson began to administer seated field sobriety exercises. During the investigation an intoxicated male passenger in the boat with the operator became verbally abusive and belligerent. His conduct made it impossible for Officer Edson to conduct his boating under the influence (BUI) investigation. After numerous warnings, Officer Bellville arrested the passenger for interference with an FWC officer. The BUI investigation was concluded and Officer Edson determined that the operator’s normal faculties were impaired. He was arrested for BUI and transported to the Volusia County Jail, along with the passenger. The operator refused to provide a breath sample.


Officers Sapp and Vanas were performing resource inspections in Ormond Beach when they encountered a man fishing under the Granada Bridge in possession of two redfish that were less than 11-inches in length. The man was issued a warning for no saltwater shoreline permit and a citation for possession of undersized redfish.




Officers Thomas and Lawrence were on late night water patrol in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in central St. Johns County. The two officers remained on water patrol several hours after all-day rains chased most of the boaters off the water by 8 p.m. Around 11 p.m., the officers contacted a vessel operated by a man with two women passengers. The boating party had just left a local waterfront restaurant after visiting another one just north on the ICW a couple of hours earlier. Officer Lawrence saw signs of impairment from the operator and conducted the afloat battery of Standardized Field Sobriety Tasks (SFSTs). Following the completion of the SFSTs, Officer Lawrence arrested the man on suspicion of operating a vessel while impaired.


Officer Harris, acting on a tip from Volusia County and Duval County FWC officers, ventured offshore in very rough seas with National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Enforcement Officer Boots to contact a Louisiana shrimper fishing in state waters off of south St. Johns County. Shrimping is closed in state waters during the months of April and May in northeast Florida. Officers Harris and Boots boarded the shrimper 1.9 nautical miles offshore and directed him into St. Augustine Inlet and Matanzas Bay to inspect his Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in the calmer waters. Officer Lawrence and Lieutenant Zukowsky met with Officers Harris and Boots to assist with the inspection. Following the inspection, Officer Harris cited the captain for the state violation of shrimping in state waters during the two-month closure and Officer Boots issued the captain warnings for a few TED rigging violations which the shrimper corrected on the spot.




Officers Mendelson and Presser conducted water patrol on West Lake Toho for Memorial Day. While conducting a resource and boating inspection, one subject was found to be in possession of five black bass. All five-fish measured over 16-inches. The fish were photographed and returned to the water alive. The individual was issued a notice to appear in Osceola County for over the size limit of black bass.


FWC officers responded to a UTV crash inside Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area that resulted in one fatality and multiple injuries. Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, EMS, and Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) also responded to the scene. FHP Traffic Homicide Investigators are conducting the investigation.









While on water patrol near the Placida Boat Ramp, Lieutenant Frantz and Captain Carpenter saw a boat with several people on board pulling up to the dock. When they attempted to contact the operator and passengers to conduct a boating safety inspection, everyone ignored them. Only after Lieutenant Frantz loudly announced their presence did the operator give them his attention. During the inspection, the operator displayed several signs of acute impairment. Investigator Cooke arrived to assist. During the boating under the influence investigation, the operator refused to perform any of the standardized field sobriety tasks. Investigator Cooke arrested him and booked him in to the Charlotte County Detention Center for operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or chemical or controlled substances.




While on night patrol, Officer Cloud and Officer Geeraerts spotted a pickup truck traveling slowly down County Road 663 in south Hardee County while a passenger was shining a spotlight out of the side window. Officers Cloud and Geeraerts conducted a traffic stop after following the truck for over a mile. Five males were in the front cab and six dogs in cages in the bed of the truck. All the dogs had GPS tracking collars and a few were outfitted with cut vests. Three of the passengers in the truck had GPS receivers. One of the passengers in the back seat admitted to shining the spotlight out of the window. When Officer Geeraerts asked them what they were doing, the driver replied they had permission to hunt on private property, but were hunting for hogs as they drove to the property. All five occupants were given a notice to appear for hunting off of the roadway.




Officers DeWeese and Rarick were on airboat patrol on Lake Istokpoga. The officers saw a vessel operating at an unsafe speed and conducted a stop and vessel safety inspection. During the inspection the officers saw signs of vessel operator impairment. The officers conducted field sobriety tasks/tests upon the operator and arrested and transported the operator to the Highlands County Jail for boating under the influence. The operator was also issued three infractions for vessel safety violations.




Lieutenant Holcomb and Officer Wise conducted a fisheries inspection on an individual fishing in the Palm River. The individual was in possession of four red drum, two of which were under the lawful size limit. The subject admitted to catching all four of the red drum. He was cited for possession of undersized red drum and possession of red drum over the daily bag limit.


Officers Wilkins and Godfrey were on water patrol near downtown Tampa. They saw a vessel without proper navigation lights operating with its spotlight on, blinding other boaters. The officers initiated a stop to address the issues and immediately noticed signs of impairment from the operator, shot glasses strewn about the vessel, and that two of the passengers were passed out in the vessel. Officer Godfrey conducted seated field sobriety exercises with the operator who performed poorly and was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI). The operator was also found to have marijuana cigarettes in his pocket and was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail for BUI and refusal to submit urine for testing.


Officers Wilkins and Martinez were on water patrol near Culbreath Isles in Tampa when they saw a vessel violating the speed zone. The officers noticed the operator slurring his words, falling over when he attempted to retrieve safety equipment, and other signs of impairment. Officer Wilkins conducted seated field sobriety exercises with the operator who performed poorly and was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI). The operator was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail for BUI and submitted a breath sample of .22 breath alcohol content, over twice the legal limit.




Officer Price was on patrol when he saw several people fishing from a vessel which was tied up to the railroad tracks on the Caloosahatchee River. As he approached, one of the men reached into a hatch and pulled out a small snook and tried to toss it overboard. Officer Price told the man to put the fish back in the boat. The snook was measured and found to be less than twenty-inches long. When asked about the fish, the man admitted he caught it earlier in the day. He was issued two misdemeanor citations for possessing an undersized and out-of-season snook.




Officers Dalton, Davidson and Gonzales were on water patrol around Long Boat Key near Jew Fish Key. While on patrol, they stopped and performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel that was transiting near the key. While conducting the boating safety inspection, it appeared to the officers that the operator of the vessel was under the influence of alcohol. After a boating under the influence (BUI) investigation by Officer Gonzales, the operator was arrested and taken to jail for BUI and will have to appear in court for his violation.


Officers Dalton, Klobuchar and Rivard were on water patrol around Long Boat Key. While on patrol they stopped and performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel that was operating near the key. While going through the boating safety inspection, it appeared to the officers that the operator of the vessel was under influence of alcohol. After an investigation by Officer Rivard, the operator was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI) and taken to jail. The operator was also cited for a felony because he had been arrested several other times for driving and BUI in the past. He will have to appear in court for his violation.


Captain Carpenter, Lieutenant Hinds, Officers Gonzales and Davidson were on water patrol around Long Boat near Jew Fish Key. While on patrol they stopped and performed a boating safety inspection on a vessel that was operating nearby the key. While going through the boating safety inspection, it appeared to the officers that the operator of the vessel was under influence of alcohol and looked as if he were under age twenty-one. After an investigation by Officer Gonzales, the operator was charged for .02 violation which is the legal threshold limit for a juvenile’s breath alcohol content. The vessel operator was also charged for possession of alcohol by a minor and will have to appear in court for his violations.




While on land patrol at the Anclote Boat Ramp, Officer Ferguson stopped a vessel to conduct a boating safety inspection and resource inspection. After completing the safety inspection, Officer Ferguson asked if there were any fish on board and was told about some bait fish by the vessel captain. Officer Ferguson saw larger fish in a live-well and asked to inspect the fish. At the conclusion of his inspection, Officer Ferguson found three red drum, one of which was over the legal size. The captain of the vessel was subsequently cited for possession of an oversized red drum.




While on land patrol in Pinellas County, Officer Guerin saw an individual in the mangroves that appeared to be cleaning a fish. He approached the subject and identified himself as a Fish and Wildlife Officer. The subject was in the process of filleting a 14-inch gag grouper. The individual was cited for possession of an undersized gag grouper and possession of gag grouper during closed season.


While on water patrol in Pinellas County, Officers Caldwell and Pettifer conducted a resource inspection on a vessel displaying a dive flag. The officers checked several legal fish onboard. During the inspection, the officers noticed a dead gag grouper floating near the vessel. They retrieved the grouper and found puncture wounds near the gills. One of the individuals admitted to spearing the fish. He was cited for the violation of taking gag grouper during the closed season.


While on patrol at the North Skyway Fishing Pier, Officer Pettifer conducted a resource inspection on an individual fishing. During the inspection, he discovered the individual to be in possession of eight undersize mangrove snapper. The man was issued a citation for possession of undersize mangrove snapper.


While on patrol near Indian Rocks Beach Officer Pettifer conducted a resource inspection. Through the course of the inspection, Officer Pettifer discovered an individual to be in possession of a snook during closed season. He was cited for the violation.


While on water patrol near John’s Pass, Officer Martinez stopped a vessel for a boating safety inspection and immediately noticed signs of impairment from the operator. The operator had difficulty following instructions and completing a boating safety inspection with Officer Martinez. Officer Martinez began seated field sobriety exercises with the operator who performed poorly. The subject was arrested for boating under the influence (BUI) and booked into the Pinellas County Jail for BUI and refusal to submit a sample of his breath.


While on land patrol at the Courtney Campbell Causeway Bridge, Lieutenant Van Trees approached two men and saw a snook by their belongings. Before the men could see Lieutenant Van Trees approaching, he hid underneath the bridge and waited for someone to take possession of the fish. After waiting for approximately thirty minutes, one of the subjects walked over to the snook, grabbed it and began to walk away. Lieutenant Van Trees stopped the subject and began a resource inspection. After Lieutenant Van Trees read the men their Miranda Rights, one subject admitted to catching the undersized and out of season snook and was cited accordingly for his violations.




Officer Karr was on patrol when a saw a truck parked approximately 200 feet off the road on commercial private property off Agricola Mine Road. As Officer Karr approached the truck, he saw three males standing behind the truck near a boat ramp.

Officer Karr asked the men if they had permission to be on the property. Officer Karr also noticed a monofilament cast net and a blue bucket near the men. One of the men replied they did not have permission to be on the property. None of the men could produce valid identification. Since none of the men could produce identification, they were all arrested for trespassing and taken to the Polk County Jail.


Officer Adams saw a vehicle in Babson Park passing another car in a no-passing zone. A computer check through dispatch revealed that the driver had an active warrant in Polk County for failure to appear for a petit theft charge. The subject was arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail.


While conducting water patrol on Lake Hatchineha, Officers DeWeese, Rarick, Earls, and Sweat saw an airboat with men fishing from it near a water structure on the south side of the lake. Officer DeWeese and Rarick conducted a resource inspection. Their inspection revealed one of the subjects to be in possession of twelve black bass. The officers seized the illegal fish and issued the subject a resource citation for over the bag limit of black bass and over the slot size for black bass. The subject was also issued an infraction for a PFD violation.






Officer Martinez, Officer Pulaski, and Lieutenant Parisoe conducted a joint resource operation with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO). The officers and PCSO deputies targeted the commercial bait shrimp harvesters in Pasco County. The teams inspected numerous vessels on the water and dockside. The inspections resulted in arrests for narcotics violations and outstanding warrants.








While on patrol in western Broward County, Officer Tarr and Officer Cornell stopped an individual fishing near the S8 pump station for a resource inspection. While Officer Cornell was conducting the resource inspection, Officer Tarr could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from a vehicle near the suspect. The suspect advised Officer Cornell and Officer Tarr that the vehicle was his and that he had a “jar” of marijuana in the vehicle. A search of the vehicle produced over 20 grams of marijuana, marijuana brownies, and various drug paraphernalia items. The subject was also in possession of small baggies and a scale which further indicated his intent to sell the marijuana. The subject was arrested and booked into the Broward county jail for felony and misdemeanor charges.


Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera concluded an investigation into a subject selling wildlife online. One subject was found to be in possession a baby raccoon illegally taken from the wild. The raccoon was seized and taken to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Five criminal citations and two infractions were issued to the subject for the illegal possession and related violations.




Officer Brodbeck was conducting surveillance at the Indian Prairie Canal. After several hours, a vessel approached the ramp with a single occupant and fishing equipment in plain view. Officer Brodbeck conducted a resource inspection and asked the vessel operator if he had any fish on board. The subject pointed to a blue cooler located on the bow of the vessel. Upon inspecting the contents of the cooler, 89 bluegill were discovered. The daily limit for all panfish is 50 per person per day. The subject was issued a notice to appear (citation) for violation of the daily bag limit for panfish, as well as two warnings for boating safety violations.


Officer Brodbeck was at the Sportsman’s Canal boat ramp conducting boating safety and resource inspections when he saw a vehicle with three occupants pull into the parking area, see the marked patrol vehicle, and quickly depart. After completing the resource inspections, the officer departed in the same direction and found the vehicle parked in a strange location. Officer Brodbeck attempted to make contact but the vehicle again left the area. When checked through law enforcement databases, the tag on the vehicle came back assigned to a homemade trailer. A traffic stop was initiated to address the violation. The driver of the vehicle was found to have a suspended driver’s license, and neither passenger had a valid driver’s license. The driver of the vehicle was issued misdemeanor traffic citations for driving while license suspended and tag not assigned, as well as an infraction for no insurance. The vehicle was towed and the tag seized.




Officer Keen and Officer Brodbeck were on water patrol on the Caloosahatchee River during the Memorial Day weekend when they initiated a vessel stop to conduct a boating safety inspection. The operator of the vessel showed signs of impairment and Officer Brodbeck asked the operator if he would be willing to perform seated field sobriety tasks. The subject refused and was placed under arrest for BUI. The subject was transported to jail.




Officer Hudson and Officer Kirkland were patrolling the Cypress Creek Natural Area when they noticed evidence that a vehicle had driven through a closed gate where no vehicles are allowed. They entered onto the South Florida Water Management District land and followed the tire tracks through the thick grass and old orange groves and found two vehicles. One vehicle was stuck in the mud and the other was trying to pull it out. The drivers were cited accordingly for violating the special use license that allows vehicular access to certain areas of the property and for driving in a closed area.




Officer Webb saw a vehicle with no tail lights in the Corbett WMA at night. During the vehicle stop he detected an odor of cannabis coming from the vehicle. A search of vehicle revealed a plastic bag containing cannabis. The driver was released on his own recognizance after being cited for possession of cannabis under 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia. The subject was also issued a citation for no tail lights after the officer learned the subject had been warned for not having tail lights the previous week by another law enforcement agency.


While conducting land based freshwater fisheries patrol, Officer Morrow and Officer Pecko saw a vehicle trespassing on the Palm Beach County Pine Glades natural area. Upon approaching the vehicle, the officers saw fishing equipment in the bed of the truck and determined it was unoccupied. The officers then conducted foot patrol of the area and located the subject engaged in fishing. Once the contact was made with the subject, he was issued a misdemeanor citation for fishing in a closed area.


Officer Pecko was on vessel patrol in the Jupiter Inlet. Upon conducting a fisheries inspection on a vessel, four undersized mahi were found in a cooler. The subjects were cited accordingly.


Lieutenant Hankinson and Officer Spradling responded to a complaint involving three subjects illegally cast netting freshwater game fish. Upon arrival, Lieutenant Hankinson conducted a fisheries inspection and found several red ear sunfish in their possession. Once the subjects were identified, it was discovered that one of them had a warrant for his arrest. Lieutenant Hankinson and Officer Spradling apprehended the subject and booked him into Palm Beach County Jail. All subjects were cited for not having a valid freshwater fishing license.


Officer Schroer conducted a fisheries inspection on a vessel that returned from offshore. During the inspection, Officer Schroer found the captain of the vessel to be in possession of three king mackerel. In the Atlantic, each person is subject to a bag limit of two king mackerel per day. Officer Schroer then conducted a vessel safety inspection. The captain of the vessel was unable to produce serviceable visual distress signals (flares). The captain of the vessel was cited for being in possession of over the daily bag limit of King Mackerel and was issued a warning for not having serviceable flares aboard the vessel.




Investigator Turner, Officer Irwin and Officer Arnold were on vessel patrol when they saw a group operating personal watercraft near Jaycee Park. The area is a designated swimming area that included numerous adults and children. One of the personal water craft was operating dangerously close to the swimmers. Investigator Turner charged one the operators with operating a vessel in a reckless manner. The operator was transported and booked into the St. Lucie County Jail.


Officer Shermetaro was on land patrol at the Bear Point Sanctuary when he saw a parked vehicle with a large cast net near the back of the vehicle. He then saw three individuals wading in the water with a cooler, a bucket, and a cast net. After contacting the individuals, Officer Shermetaro conducted a license and resource inspection. The inspection revealed oysters in the cooler and bucket. He then asked if they had any other fish in the vehicle. The individuals opened the vehicle and pulled out a large cooler of fish and two buckets of oysters. Inside the cooler was an undetermined amount of mullet, an undersized snook and an undersized sheepshead. After counting the mullet, the three individuals were found to be 54 mullet over their bag limit. The subjects had no fishing licenses or snook permits. Two of the subjects did not have any form of ID. Contact was made with the Sheriff’s Office to provide use of a rapid ID device. While conducting a rapid ID, two of the subjects came back with different names than they had provided from previous arrests. Both subjects were booked into jail for providing false names, possession of undersize snook and undersize sheepshead, illegal method of take (snook), harvesting oysters from unclassified area, and over the bag limit mullet. The third subject was also cited for the violations and then released.






Officers responded to a vehicle that went into a canal in the Hungryland WEA. The driver said a deer jumped out in front of him and he swerved to miss the deer and lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle hit a tree and went into the canal. The driver and passenger escaped and safely make it to land.


Officers Merizio, Morrow, Pecko, and Lieutenant Filip responded to the Hungryland WEA about a vehicle in a canal. Upon arrival, Filip located a car nearly fully submerged in the canal. All subjects freed themselves from the vehicle and were uninjured.




Officers responded to a boating accident in Lake Osbourne over the holiday weekend. Two PWCs collided head-on, which caused injury to one operator. The victim was air lifted to a nearby trauma hospital and is expected to recover.


Officers were in the area when a call was received that a Jeep was stuck and taking on water in Corbett. When officers arrived, they found a family with small children in a stock style Jeep swamped in a buggy hole. They assisted with recovering the occupants from the vehicle. During this time of year, it is illegal to be off certain designated roads in the WMA. Also, with the extensive rains that the area has received over the past weeks, many places are underwater. The driver of the Jeep was issued a citation.


Officers Merizio and Norbrothen, along with Investigators Booth and Warren and pilots Perez and Simons, were dispatched to a call of stranded motorists inside the Corbett Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The motorist had sunk his vehicle on a closed trail and could not drive out. Using GPS pings from the caller’s cellphone, officers found the motorist and escorted the subjects to safety. The driver was issued a citation for operating his vehicle off a named/numbered road in violation of Corbett WMA rules.






Lieutenant Hankinson and Officer Schroer responded to an injured loggerhead sea turtle near Coral Cove Park in Jupiter. As a team effort with the Loggerhead Marine Life Center and Good Samaritans, the large sea turtle was carried to a rescue van. Loggerhead Marine Life Center transported the sea turtle to their facility for evaluation.






Officer Morrow conducted patrol of mooring fields and anchorages throughout Martin County to identify possible “at-risk” vessels in the area prior to hurricane season. Multiple violations were located and nine citations for “at risk” vessels and registration decal violations were issued.









While on routine patrol under the Julia Tuttle Bridge Officer Gomez noticed a subject carrying fishing rods and other fishing gear. He contacted the subject just as he was loading his gear into the vehicle. While conducting a fisheries inspection Officer Gomez found a white bucket with fish. The bucket contained one grunt, three mangrove snapper, and four mutton snapper. After measuring the fish, the subject was found to be in possession of two undersized mangrove snapper and four undersized mutton snapper. Officer Gomez educated and cited the subject accordingly.


Officers Delgado and Sample were on nighttime water patrol near Haulover Inlet during the Memorial Day weekend. Nearby Subtropical Storm Alberto had created unpleasant boating conditions. The officers encountered a vessel with a non-serviceable navigation light and initiated a vessel stop. While alongside, the officers noticed the vessel operator was displaying signs of impairment. Field sobriety tasks were administered and the operator was arrested for boating under the influence. When taken to a nearby US Coast Guard station and asked to provide a breath sample, the defendant refused. In addition to being jailed for BUI, the defendant was issued a $500 citation for the breath sample refusal.


That same evening, Officers Sarmiento and Cartaya were at Homestead Bayfront Park boat ramp when they saw a vehicle pulling a vessel and trailer from the water. The driver towed the vessel/trailer to some nearby trash cans but in doing so, he struck one of the cans, toppling it over. The officers then watched the driver and his companions throw trash and alcohol bottles from inside the vessel toward other trash cans – missing them most of the time. No effort was made to pick up the trash from the ground. The driver pulled the vessel/trailer to a nearby wash-down station where the officers approached the driver to address the littering issue. The officers detected signs of impairment and initiated field sobriety tasks. Based upon the poor results, the driver was arrested for DUI and taken to a nearby police station for a breath test. The defendant’s test results were .12 and .10, over the legal limit of .08. In addition to being cited for DUI, the defendant was also cited for careless driving and littering and was transported to the local jail.


Captive Wildlife Investigator Smith successfully captured a Muntjac deer using chemical immobilization equipment. The investigation revealed that during a recent storm, a tree fell on the enclosure which led to the escape of four Muntjac deer. The owner of the deer, who was properly licensed to possess them, captured three of them. Investigator Smith was contacted to capture the fourth and the deer was returned to its owner. A warning was issued for the escape.




Officers Wagner and Rubenstein were on land patrol in the Middle Keys when they saw two individuals searching the water of the shoreline near a boat ramp. One of the individuals was holding a long pole net and snare commonly used to harvest lobster. They were both wet up to their waists. When questioned about their activity they stated that they were “trying to capture fish.” The officers asked if there was a vehicle nearby that they would put their fish in and they replied there was not – that they walked there. The officers continued patrolling on foot and noticed the two individuals quickly leave the area and make their way across the street. Officer Rubenstein followed them while Officer Wagner searched the area for signs of them harvesting lobster. Officer Rubenstein watched the men hide their net across the street. A man approached Officer Wagner and said he saw the men netting objects in the water and place them in the bed of a truck next to them. Officer Wagner looked in the back of the bed of the truck and noticed lobster antennae sticking out from under a bucket lid. Officer Rubenstein approached the men and asked them to come back to where the truck was parked. One of the men claimed it was his truck. Upon consent, the officers inspected the contents of two buckets which contained 20 out of season lobster, 18 of which were undersized, and 6 of which had their carapaces punctured. The men claimed they only harvested 5 and a man had sold them the rest a few hours earlier. Both individuals were arrested and cited accordingly. Officer Mason transported them to the Stock Island Jail in Key West.


Officers Conrad and Garcia were patrolling around Fiesta Key and conducted a fisheries and boating safety inspection of a vessel returning to the marina. The operator stated he caught one fish and showed a Spanish mackerel. When asked if there was anything else on board, the operator said yes and showed a cooler with eight wrung spiny lobster tails. The defendant was placed under arrest and cited for eight misdemeanor counts of possession of undersized lobster, one misdemeanor count of over the bag of spiny lobster, one misdemeanor count of possession of spiny lobster out of season, and one misdemeanor count of possessing spiny lobster not in whole condition while on the water.


Officers Conrad and Garcia responded to a single vessel boating accident in Cowpen’s Cut. During the accident investigation the operator showed signs of impairment. The operator refused to consent to seated field sobriety tasks and was arrested for boating under the influence and boating under the influence with property damage. The defendant declined to provide a breath sample.


Officer Conrad was patrolling around Jewfish Creek near North Key Largo. While conducting fisheries inspections at the bridge Officer Conrad saw an individual actively fishing. Upon inspection, the individual was found to be in possession of nine gray snapper, seven of which were undersized. The defendant was cited accordingly.






Lieutenant Lyne’s squad received a call from dispatch regarding a woman with possible suicidal intentions. The woman’s daughter stated her mother had been going through a significantly hard time recently. The daughter stated that the mother took their vehicle, left the house without saying a word and left what sounded to be a “goodbye” voicemail on her phone before shutting the phone off all together. The daughter pinged the last location of the phone at John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo. Officer Miros and a MCSO Deputy arrived at the park and located the woman’s vehicle. Shortly after they located the woman near the beach area. Officer Miros stated the woman seemed to be very upset. Officers Schroth and Baumgartner stayed with woman, building rapport and support with the woman until her children arrived. A couple hours later, the family was reunited and the children were beyond thankful for the response and support for their mother.






Officer Messier was on the scene of a grounded vessel near Summerland Key. While working with Sea Tow to get the vessel removed, Officer Messier checked the IDs of everyone on scene. He found that one subject had a revoked driver’s license for a prior DUI and three DWLS violations. While sitting in his patrol truck completing his paperwork he saw the man who had the priors get into a black SUV and drive down Ocean drive. Officer Messier apprehended the fleeing subject and arrested the man for his fourth DWLS violation which is a 3rd degree felony.

The Keys

Florida Keys Fishing Report week of 6/11/2018
Provided by:
(this report may be reproduced in any media format as long as credit is given to:www.islamoradasportfishing.com)

The second week of June provided plenty of Dolphin for charters and tournament anglers alike. Most of the Mahi caught were of the “school” size, meaning from 4 to 8 pounds. That size is what the charter guys refer to as “lifters”, meaning no gaff is required to put the fish into the boat. Charter boats such as the Southern Comfort out of Whale Harbor Marina racked twenty or so Dolphin for a day catch and even bay boats such as Captain Juan Garcia’s 24 foot “Beatsland” cleaned up with nice catches of Dolphin in the Bluewater. Captain Don on the Kay K IV was in the process of baiting a school of Dolphin when they turned their attention to a different species and caught a 60 pound White Marlin. One local Dolphin Tournament attracted 395 anglers and the heaviest Dolphin caught was 28 pounds.
Even with the good Dolphin action some opted to stay close to home and fish the reef. The Indigenous out of Bud and Mary’s Marina had a limit of Kingfish and a 15 pound Blackfin Tuna. Captain Billy Chrisman on the Vera Vita fished the reef and boated a nice bunch of Yellowtail Snapper. Captain Paul on the Reef Runner caught some King Mackerel and had a few Dolphin swim up in 150 feet of water too.
Gulf and Bay:
In the western area of the bay, adjacent to the Gulf, the Trout action is good. Captain Lou Brubaker fished a father and son out near Sandy Key and caught a load of Trout putting just enough in the cooler for dinner. There are some nice Mangrove Snapper taking the jigs offered to the Trout out there too. There are Sharks and Tarpon in the channels that drain the huge expanses of shallow water out to the west, so look for a good bite on the tide changes in those channels. The Mullet are very plentiful in that area, so live Mullet or even a fresh dead chunk will prompt a bite from either Tarpon or Sharks.
Flats, Backcountry and Flamingo:
Captain Fred out of Smugglers Cove Marina reported getting into some Redfish and Snook in the infamous Snake Bight channel last week. Captain Bob Baker found some Snook and Redfish pitching baits into a mainland drain creek out west of Flamingo. Islamorada guides have been putting the full court press on the Tarpon last week, fishing all hours of the night and corners of the day. The Tarpon action was everything from sensational to where the heck are they? Or as they say, “from a hero to a zero”. That just shows that the Tarpon have a mind of their own and even with conditions that look good, there can be that unknown variable that puts them off. Guides have been baiting the Tarpon with Mullet, Crabs and chunk baits, mostly in the channels.