It is kind of sad how short sighted so many people are in this world. You called it: Opening to harvest created pressures that have hurt the recovery. I wanted to tell you that now, in my area, the first post freeze spawn has a lot of slot size fish in the habitat. And they are getting hammered. My fishing pals won’t keep them. But we are in the minority. We have met with ire for saying anything about it. It’s a shame. It is not right. I wanted to let you know what’s going on here because it matches all the arguments you posed in the articles you wrote and meetings with the state. What a pity they didn’t re-modify and extend the closure. We are suffering the price now more than the previous two years.
Worst case scenario: Guides keeping snook. Some guys who are are not in good graces with those of us who have heard about it. The state’s mistake should not be our burden to bear. DON’T KEEP SNOOK. Pretty easy, keep any other species. We would be seeing great gains now if that wasn’t being undone by these people killing the fish that just arrived to legal size. It is outright depressing.
We have people killing a few per person per week. With what we had here that will eradicate a lot of what we had of the most mature fish in the population. Now we are worrying about the winter and a looming red tide, something we haven’t had for eleven years. The decision to let people keep a snook however long ago that was: Harming our future for this species. We are all very disappointed around our area.
Before this happened, the FWC had my support and respect. This was handled so badly that I applaud your move to create an entity that will advise them in the future. Snook are important to my own business and in my opinion our overall economy. But there are so many other issues out there too. Thanks for taking the heat and being that person who did not accept what is not good for any of us.
A neighbor of mine was keeping snook. He caught three to five per week (harvest) and over the course of two months wiped out most of what we had. I thought of you. We warned him. He said “They say it is OK, I am going to keep every legal one I get.” Anyway, that one guy really killed it for us in our neighborhood population Very few fish were over the slot. The biggest fish we really had were the ones he killed. In the future I hope we have an input. What I had to say was ignored.
I wasn’t sure what to think a couple of years ago. But I watched what you all were saying. You were practically clairvoyant. The last harvest period starting Sept 1 2015: Wiped out all of the largest fish we had where me and my close friends go. A massacre. A complete loss for the future of the species. A real shame because as you guys said “It doesn’t have to be this way.” Pity they didn’t react to what you had to say even after they made their decisions.
I’m glad that someone stood up to them. What a joke. Three years AFTER they made the claim we DO NOT have snook recovered 80%. I fish the whole state, predominantly areas with snook. They are not in great shape in most locations. Where they are, they are getting hammered because of it. You all did great. I would like to see your impact in the future. They need the help, badly.
I am catching a few snook. I have not caught that many snook since the freeze and the ones I find now are mostly little ones. I stay away from the bigger ones for a very good reason: They don’t need the pressure. It pains me to see the people handling big fish or worse yet, taking them home. It will be a long time before things resemble what they were in 2008 and 2009.
It hurts. What we had, versus what we have now. What the authories say, versus reality. I wish snook were more resilient. They are in a bad way. They have another decade before we may have some opportunities again, all because the authorities aren’t intelligent enough to make the right management choice. I have caught fewer than ten snook in three years. I used to catch 10 or more every single time I went out.
This is a tough one because I like to fish so much. Snook? I had to watch the common guy just punish our populations since September of 2015. And I mean punish it bad. What would have been a majority of the biggest fish we have, are dead and gone. Who is to blame? I have my choice. Personal decisions are part of it. A contingency of people like Captain Scotty Moore, kayak guide Neil Taylor and other of the most reputable in the state pushed hard to encourage people not to keep them. I saw “Good for them” even though their reach really wasn’t wide enough. I would have to say that given the setup for continued harvest, I will not see snook return to prominence in my lifetime. And that is too bad. How great did we have it for close to 30 years? And how close would we be to having it back if they were still closed?
Three years later. They want to give themselves accolades for their mistakes? There should be a review board. I will make some phone calls.
The decisions of the commission: Often challenged. Snook is a perfect example of their failure. They close the door after the horses are all gone. They missed on this one. They had it pointed out to them. They didn’t do anything about it. The result: A sub par fishery. I have fished here for 50 years. This is the worst this fishery has been in that entire time. The harvest is the reason. If not for last years harvest, an entire generation of fish would have escaped to untouhable. Instead: Dead. Think about where we would be if we left protection for the first couple of spawns post freeze. We have small fish. That is great EXCEPT they have to pass through the slot. They will die. Very few will escape to adulthood.
We have hundreds of snook off my dock. Average size, 14 inches. We have about a dozen oversize fish. I have lived on this property for 28 years. This is not a good population. Compare to pre freeze conditions: It would have been reverse, it would have been a thousand oversize fish and a small percentage of babies. Numbers, not even close. The actual size of snook, they are not big. The problem, these small fish we have will be killed during their open seasons. Almost none of these fish will escape to be big adult snooks.
It is not good. We have almost zero snook in my area. You have to go 20 miles to see any at all. And even those ones? They’re small. You have to shake your head on this one. The people who manage our resources failed us big time here. The idiots who keep snook, and there are a lot of them, wiped out our future. Why? Because the state endorsed it. Guys like Scott Moore, Neal Taylor and others did what they could to get people to ignore the state and continue releasing all snook. That only went so far. The slot fished out, those were our fish for the next 20 years, eliminated from existence. That is very sad.
I was gone from the state during the freeze. I heard stories. I got back, things were worse than I had heard. Then, reopen to harvest? Things are not improving. They would be if they didn’t open them up to the abuse of harvesting. Dead snook, used one time does not compare to a single snook caught and released 50 times. I have visitors who aren’t coming anymore because the snook fishing is that bad. It would stand to reason, we would have done better to protect a species back to greatness instead of letting people put them in coolers. I am not the only one who feels this way.
It hurts. Not so much the condition of snook. The reality that they can’t put more importance on a fish that is more valuable alive than dead. All of this so people could keep them? The people in these jobs, they should find others. If it was a good system snook would have remained closed for 7 to 10 years.
I followed this your whole trek. I was sorry to hear these people never connected with your group and I appreciate you letting me know. I will support you however I can. Financially or otherwise. You care. That puts you in a category separate from these people. They want their paycheck. In my 40 years, I only ever ran into one person that I believed they were in it for the more sincere reasons. This commission, these scientists: They wanted their snook stamp money. I will gladly fund anything you want to do to help make changes. You have earned it. You do more for coastal issues than anyone else I have ever known. You stood up to the system when they made these atrocious mistakes and you made them answer for it. Please keep me in the loop.
Irony: They tell you that they are right. You, a guy out there 300 days a year, what do you know? I am friends with three other premier guides. All three are right there with you. Snook would be coming back to prominence if it wasn’t idiots in charge of their rules. So much of it just simple logic, it is a shame that they did not change their decisions based on your previous efforts. Nonetheless, they ruined it. Tell a man he can keep a fish, he will. So, it came to be, the common idiot kept our future instead of those fish being our greatest state asset. Absolute idiocy.
I am very sad about the management of snook. I wrote letters. They never wrote back. It isn’t any better. I would catch 20 snook a day back in 2009. I might not have caught 20 total in the last seven years. Pleased with your effort. Saddened that they just ignore you. I would say that you should keep trying. Because you are in the right. Snook are in a very perilous condition.
The FWC. I formerly supported what they do until this situation. They made their decision without talking to anyone. We all continue to suffer because of it. I can attest: We do not have big snook around this general area. Fishing here for 35 years, snook used to be our first target. Now it isn’t a choice at all. What a shame. If they left them closed until now, all those fish would be there for us. Snook are in worse shape than right after the freeze. Spawning, gives us small snook. None of those fish are surviving their harvest period. You tell these morons they can keep snook, they keep snook. And they ruin our future.
So Wiley actually said his scientists were right? That alone is reason to remove the guy. I don’t know anyone who says snook are recovered. The accounts I hear, it may be worse now than right after the Freeze. And that might make sense. 30% more people fishing them. Very few adult fish after the freeze. Predation. Poaching. And the absolute idiocy of allowing harvest of fish we should be protecting to adulthood. It was a miss. The guy standing behind his scientists. He should be taken into a field and whipped. Sincerely.
Momma used to tell me if I don’t have something nice to say, to keep quiet. She has allowed me to talk about snooks. The state’s management of our most important fish, a lesson in why we should have more qualified people in these most important positions. They compound mistakes. How sad it was to make the mistake. But then to not correct it? So what do we have? We have the setup for disaster. We have a poor snook population. We have the possibility of another freeze or catastrophic event. Then where will we be? We didn’t protect any fish to female size. So, we don’t restock the entire gene pool for what survives a bad event. It is shortsighted. I hope they enjoyed their snook stamp money. That is all this was ever about.
Man do I love me some snook. On the end of my line not dead in a cooler. I lost two good friends who said “It’s legal, I’m keeping them.” To hell with guys like that. What we have in snook is a state treasure. What we have with the FWC is people too stupid to realize the value of the fish alive versus allowing these mental deficients to remove these fish from our entertainment fair. Pathetic. It’s too bad snook don’t go into Federal waters, then maybe we could get someone intelligent involved in their management?
I read your reports as you post them. It was depressing to read that the director of the FWC still doesn’t get it. You, a guide who doesn’t bend to the almighty dollar: You haven’t even offered snook to your clients since the freeze. Other guides should have followed suit. The ones I know the best ended up pulling snook trips because there just weren’t enough fish to target. I get out once a week. So, say I fish 50 times a year. That would be 350 to 400 trips since the freeze. I keep records. I have only caught 29 snook since 2010. Think about that. I, like you, not targeting snook- would say that is a great sampling. 29 accidental snook in seven years? That does not bode well for what our population is, especially considering where I go. I’m in areas where I would be finding lots of accidental snook. They are just not there. Your proposition on regional management was the best of all. Tampa Bay should have remained closed for three more years. Other areas of Florida: Maybe. People I know in other areas have way more snook but a lot of them would like to see a lot more big fish. I admire your effort. I am saddened that they don’t make any kind of an effort.
Don’t fault the Commission. They just went by what their scientists said. That is where the blame is. Florida science: I used to believe in it. After this with the snook, I can’t figure out how I can believe anything they have to say. We are about 20% recovered 7 years later. A year into it they were saying we were 80% recovered??? The commission’s failure was to not take action to override the science. An entire fishery in trouble because of it, they don’t want to admit they are wrong. But what an idiotic move, to claim their scientists are right There isn’t anyone out there that says their science is right. In vast areas there are no snook at all. Other places, they are predominantly small The locations with bigger fish, getting hit pretty hard including some poaching. The big picture: The future of snook does not look good in this state. And it all is because of faulty “science.”
I actually had my best snook fishing I have had since the bad weather in 2010. I can tell by talking to others I was just lucky. Most people I know say that they are still leaving them alone. Harvest? Who would keep one. Anyone who has any concern about that species wouldn’t keep one. You guys did a great job trying to facilitate that but it didn’t work. The common idiot, they will take them home if they measure. That is the world we live in.
What a pity no one listened. Can you imagine where we would be if all those fish weren’t harvested last Fall and they weren’t being killed right now? We could be making true progress toward a recovery. Instead, we are at a standstill. Some people think we are going backwards and they may be right. Stresses on the biggest fish and the inability for fish to pass slot size to become Future Fish: We may be in decline.