September 1st: The Idiocy of “Snook Season”

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September 1st means the opening of snook to harvest. For years now this is a major mistake. Even in their statements about snook opening they are telling people not to keep them. No one I know who has any clout at all would kill a Snook. The situation with this species is not particularly great. If you like 17 to 20-inch snook everything’s fine. The problem lies in that all of those fish must pass through the slot. The state says it’s okay to keep them in the open months so anyone who catches a legal-size snook kills it taking it out of our population and preventing that from being a fish that I take people to catch for the next 20 years. The goal should have been to manage the species back to a lot of big adult female breeders. The state failed. Moving forward, I will be working with some people I hadn’t intended on being affiliated with. It is more reach out from them to me than vice versa. Ultimately the best situation will be to improve marine fisheries. That is what I’ve been about the whole time. I would love to see snook go back to way they were in the year 2009. Even with proper management that would still be years away. Time Heals all wounds? Well these wounds heal faster if you have smarter people involved.

 

Snook catches.  Unimpressive.   I know where to go to find big ones.   In my opinion, in good conscience I can’t bother those fish.   They are under enough pressure as it is.     They are battling.    You have to figure:  Between poaching, this harvesting- if we have another freeze or a bad red tide, we are in serious trouble.    All the experts I know feel the same way.

What we didn’t do.   We didn’t give them protection enough to create a larger base of adult female breeders.    Harvest killed that opportunity.   The common guy who didn’t know any better, took those fish home instead of letting them go to improve our future.

 

If snook were so “recovered” like has been claimed:  Wouldn’t we be catching them on accident?   Ten years ago, you would catch 3 to 5 snook while doing other fishing.    These days, we only catch an accidental snook every few weeks.   Right there is evidence “recovery” simply hasn’t happened.

 

You can say I don’t know what I’m talking about.    I can give you the names of the people I took to catch world class snook in the past.     Before they were wiped out I was one of the premier snook guides in the state of Florida.

 

Sorry, but that is just simply fact.   I’m am out there every day.   I see what is going on.    Snook remain in a precarious position.  No harvest:  We would be approaching a recovery.   If those fish that were harvested passed slot and remained in the population the future of snook would be starting to take shape again.   Right now, it isn’t very impressive.     The people who say it’s fine.  The same people that are beating on the few fish we have.     Also, part of the problem, we face serious challenges with this species with what “might happen.”

 

Be a sport.   Let them go.      You want something to eat?  Keep one of the other 100 species that aren’t in any danger.

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Neil Taylor

Full time kayak fishing guide, Neil was an advocate for conservation since before the time he started guiding. Outdoor writer, speaker and radio show host, Neil connected closely with Captain Mel Berman and did many positives with Mel to promote ethical angling. After Mel passed away, Neil managed www.capmel.com and eventually became that web site’s owner.