Goliath Grouper, Grouper & Snapper Management Meeting Jan 7-9

December 27, 2013 at 9:06 am | Posted in Conservation, Fishing, Florida, Florida Keys, Marine Science, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2013
CONTACT: Kim Iverson
877/SAFMC-10 or 843.571.4366
kim.iverson@safmc.net
Joint Meeting on South Florida Management Issues and the Goliath Grouper Joint Council Steering Committee Scheduled 

A joint committee of the Gulf and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils will meet January 7 – 9, 2014 in Key Largo, FL to discuss South Florida Management Issues. The meeting will be held at the Hilton Key Largo Resort and will begin on Tuesday, January 7th at 8:30 a.m., and conclude on Thursday, January 9th by 12 p.m.

Agenda items for the meeting of the Joint Council Committee on South Florida Management Issues include:

  • Presentation on the South Florida Issues workshops held in July/August 2013;
  • Overview of status and trends for South Florida species; and
  • Discussion of species specific management concerns and next steps for yellowtail snapper, mutton snapper, hogfish, mangrove snapper, shallow-water groupers, Nassau grouper, warsaw grouper, and speckled hind.

Additionally, the Ad Hoc Goliath Grouper Joint Council Committee and the Joint Council Committee On South Florida Management Issues will meet to review the last stock assessment for goliath grouper and to hear a presentation on the recent Goliath Grouper Stakeholder Workshops and survey. Other items on the agenda include the review of recommendations from the Ad Hoc Goliath Grouper Joint Science workshop and a review of ongoing goliath grouper research.

Meeting information including the full agenda can be found at: http://safmc.net/meetings/other-meetings.

Photo Courtesy of Capt. Randy Towe

Tips to Green Your Holidays

December 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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What is most important to you during the Holidays?   Family & Friends is the answer heard most often.  If we focus on Family & Friends we will likely have a fun and loving Holiday experience. It is also I time to think of others. In the spirit of generosity to our fellow man, here are some ideas on how you can “Green Your Holidays.” 

Remember all the stuff you throw away after unwrapping the gifts?  All that packaging is wasted material and wasted energy.  Of course, we try to recycle it but better if we can jump ahead a few steps by buying gifts with less packaging to start.  Here are some easy tips to help you GREEN your Holidays while having fun with Family & Friends: 

1)     Bring reusable shopping bags with you. 

2)    Consider buying reusable gift bags.  Many of these are made out of recycled materials.

3)    Homemade baked goods are a great alternative to nick-knacks.

4)    Use the Sunday comics to wrap presents for kids.  Plain newspaper with a re-used ribbon work great.  Old paper charts work well for the mariner in your family.  The 2013 calendar’s pretty pictures wrap small boxes well.

5)    Save those red ribbons, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

6)    Make sure that your Holiday cards & wrapping paper are made from post-consumer recycled content.

7)    A Fishing Charter, a Dive Trip, Concert, Museum or Sporting Tickets are great gifts for someone on your list.  There is next to no waste and not a lot of wrapping required AND they have the added benefit of time shared together.

8)   Buy a live tree and plant if after the Holidays.  Your family will always remember that tree.  Note: if you live above the frost line make sure to dig the hole while the ground is soft.

9)    Turn off your Holiday lights before you go to bed.  Upgrade to LEDs when replacing lights.

10)  If you are leaving town for the Holidays, turn off your water heater and lower your thermostat to save on heating costs.

AFTER the Holidays

1)    Recycle all that paper and cardboard.

2)    Cancel any catalogs you do not want to receive.

3)    Check with local waste managers to dispose of your tree so that it can be mulched rather than sent to the landfill.  Avoid plastic tinsel as it can not be mulched.

Christmas Sailfish courtesy of David Cartee Photography.

Save the Billfish, Stop Longlining

December 9, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Keep the Longlines Out of the Current Closed Zones!

The closed areas along Florida’s East Coast (FEC) and the DeSoto Canyons in the Gulf of Mexico were established to reduce the bycatch and discards of juvenile swordfish, billfish and other marine life. The benefits of these longline closed zones have been instrumental for the recreational fishing community with great numbers of billfish and swordfish caught in recent years. NMFS is proposing to allow access for longline vessels into these closed zones and must be stopped! If NMFS allows longline fishing in these areas, it could not only have large ecological impacts but tremendous socio-economic impacts on the sportfishing community.

The Longline Closure Established in 2000 Have Resulted in a Beneficial Reduction of Billfish Bycatch

  • Between 2001 and 2003, the years immediately after the longline closures were established, a 49.7% reduction in blue marlin bycatch, a 47.0% reduction in white marlin bycatch, and a 74.6% reduction in bycatch of sailfish resulted compared to the years preceding the longline closures.
  • Between 2005 and 2011, blue marlin, white marlin, and sailfish bycatch reduced by 61.6%, 59.8%, and 66.9%, respectively compared to when longlining was permitted

Stop Longlining, Take Action NOW!

 

Support New Gear Restricted Areas (GRA) in the Gulf of Mexico

NMFS is proposing the use of Gear Restricted Areas (GRAs) in the Gulf of Mexico which would prohibit the use of longlines, but still allow the use of alternative gear like buoy gear or greenstick gear. The most favorable of the proposed alternatives, a 3-month Gulf of Mexico Closure (March-May), would reduce for bluefin harvested by 12% and a reduce the discards of bluefin tuna by 10%. Billfish will also benefit in the Gulf of Mexico with a 3-month GRA and is estimated to reduce bycatch of blue marlin, white marlin, and sailfish by 8%, 4%, and 10% respectively. A 3-month Gulf of Mexico GRA would also result in an additional 12% reduction of under-sized swordfish discards.

TBF’s Suggestion for Gulf of Mexico GRAs

To further increase the conservation benefits associated with the Gear Restricted Areas (GRA) in the Gulf of Mexico, TBF suggests a 4-month Gulf of Mexico GRA (March-June). If implemented, a further reduction of reduce the bluefin tuna bycatch and discards as well as double the conservation benefits for blue marlin, white marlin, and sailfish.

Stop Longlining, Take Action NOW!

 

Big Bahamas WAHOO Season in Full Swing!

November 22, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Get Your WAHOO On!  — Capt. Ned Stone

Late Fall through early spring mean Wahoo season in the Bahamas.  The steep drop-offs and underwater humps of the Bahamas offer some of the most consistent and predictable wahoo fishing in the world.  Five current IGFA World Records were caught in Bahamian waters.  The largest tipping in at 155.5 pounds.  In recent seasons there have been 100+ pound fish caught just off Old Bahama Bay and off shore of the Green Turtle Club.  These oceanic speedsters can top 60 miles per hour on drag busting runs. 

The bonus is that these fish taste great just about any way they are prepared.  From sushi (Ono) to the grill, wahoo are a keeper.  The one trick is to make sure not to over cook them.  My favorite is cut into 2 inch thick chunks, rolled in sesame seeds and seared in a hot skillet. 

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Photo of this 120-pounder courtesy of AFTCO Pro Ryan Griffin.

Vaughn Cochran Catches a Winner with a Blackfly!

November 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Vaughn Cochran Catches a Winner with a Blackfly!

Vaughn Cochran, artist, angler, former guide & Blackfly Lodge owner got in a couple days of fishing on a busman’s holiday near his St Augustine home. The first day’s fishing was tough going with an early season cold front bringing wind and rain but the action heated up with the weather on day two. Vaughn caught this nice Redfish to take Second Place in the Oldest City Red*Trout Celebrity Classic. This bronze beauty took a black crab fly, not to be confused with Vaughn’s award winning “BlackFly.” The Classic is part of the prestigious Redbone tournament series. The event raised over $60,000 for the Cystic Fibrousis Foundation.

Click on the redfish above to check out Vaughn’s BlackFly Lodge, a Guy Harvey Expedition Lodge.

Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts Launches Expedition Outfitters

November 1, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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FORT LAUDERDALE,  FL— OCTOBER 31, 2013—Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts, with properties in Florida and the Caribbean,  has announced the launch of Expedition Outfitters as part of its growing adventure travel lodging business. The announcement was made today by Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts President Mark Ellert and company co-founder Bill Shedd. 

“Expedition Outfitters is being created to complement our collection of Outpost properties and serve our expanding adventure travel customer base,” explained Ellert.  “The Guy Harvey Outpost brand is defined by great watersport experiences and service, and our Expedition Outfitters are the dive operators and fishing captains that make this possible.” 

Expedition Outfitters will feature two membership categories: dive shops and guided or charter boat fishing.  “It’s a logical brand extension for Guy Harvey Outpost” commented Shedd, owner of the big game fishing tackle company, AFTCO, and manufacturer of Guy Harvey sportswear and tee-shirts.   “Our fishing and diving customers want the same level of quality service and ‘top of class’ experience they get at our resorts and lodges.  At Guy Harvey Outpost, we’ve done the homework to make sure our Expedition Outfitters meet those expectations.”    

Captain Ned Stone, a sportfishing veteran of the offshore fishing circuit,  will oversee the new effort as the company’s Director of Program Development.   

Shedd announced the inaugural members of Expedition Fishing Outfitters include acclaimed Florida captains Ray Rosher of Miami , Billy Black of Stuart and Randy Towe of Islamorada and. For legendary offshore action in Mexico,  Anthony Mendillo  and his Keen M Sportfishing team will be the company’s fishing outfitter in Isla Mujeres.  

Earlier this summer, while fishing with Guy Harvey, Mendillo led Guy’s 22 yr old daughter,  Jessica, to catch a 600 plus pound swordfish, the largest swordfish landed on a conventional rod and reel by a female angler in the last 30 years and a new record in Isla Mujeres. “We can guarantee our Expedition Fishing Outfitters know how to put you on the fish, but like Jessica, you’ll have to do the catching,” noted Stone in sharing the story of the Keen M catch. “        

“These captains have the records and testimonials to truly be considered sportfishing ‘legends,’ notes Captain Stone. “We’re honored to have them join the Guy Harvey Outpost system.  And if we don’t have an Outpost resort or lodge nearby, you have a pretty good idea where we’re looking.” The company’s two newest hotel additions include the Islander Resort in Islamorada and the Hotel Playa Media Luna in Isla Mujeres, just off the Cancun coast. 

Tipping his hat to the obvious, Ellert describes the benefit he sees in having a carefully selected system of top-of-class outfitters. “Expedition Outfitters is going to save our customers time planning their next adventure, wherever it may be.  After all, when you want to know who to fish or dive with, ‘we know the Guy who knows the guy’, guaranteed.” 

Help Save Bluefin Tuna

October 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Conservation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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IGFA Call to Action

Please take 30 seconds to sign this petition today and help end the waste of bluefin tuna in the U.S. and ensure that surface longlingers, not recreational fishermen, are held accountable for incidental bycatch.Sign Today!

Surface longlines kill thousands of hard-fighting game fish, including white marlin, sailfish, and bluefin tuna. In 2012, the fishery threw back dead nearly 25% of the U.S. bluefin quota. Please join us in calling on NOAA Fisheries to implement strong measures that will protect spawning bluefin in the Gulf of Mexico and reduce unwanted catch off North Carolina, hold surface longliners accountable for bluefin bycatch, maintain current bluefin quota allocations, and promote increased fishing opportunities for recreational anglers.

It takes less than a minute to sign on your support and help protect this iconic species. Want to make a bigger impact? Check the box to share your signature on Facebook and help us reach 25,000 supporters today!

The International Game Fish Association
300 Gulf Stream Way, Dania Beach, Florida, 33004 USA
www.igfa.org | 954-927-2628 | hq@igfa.org

 

Changing Seasons

October 15, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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How do Floridians know the seasons have changed?  No the palm trees do not turn crimson and orange.  I could give you the old line about “The license tags change colors.”  Another sign of change of seasons is a parade of boats chugging down the Intracoastal Waterway.  Lots of shiny new yachts are headed for the 54th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Sailfish comin at you

If you have lived south of Palm Beach for a long time, you notice the subtle drop in humidity on early October mornings.  The sky is a brighter blue.  The October moon brings higher tides.   If you get out early, you will see the falcons and hawks migrating south.  Fishermen have been watching for the bait to show up on the beaches.   The mullet run brings tarpon, snook, jacks, kingfish and spinner sharks within easy reach of anglers a hundred yards or less from shore.  

<Kingfish on the line

All of this means great near shore fishing.  The wahoo are starting to show at Old Bahama Bay and Green Turtle.   The big wahoo will be in residence before Thanksgiving.  The sailfish will start showing up in good numbers any day now.

I know Fall is here: just this week I saw three falcons and a line at the tackle shop.  – Capt. Ned Stone

Photos Courtesy of David Cartee.

Winning Photos: It’s a Simple Formula!

September 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We are hosting our very first Guy Harvey Outpost Photo Contest and, since I’m not eligible to win, I figured I would pass on a suggestion or two on how you might take home a prize instead!  You will note from the pictures below there are some common elements – a great fish, or perhaps a wonderful smile – and certainly a nod to the Outpost’s spirit of adventure, discovery and exploration.

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Be advised I am not one of the judges nor are these the rules.  But, If you have two of these elements then you are probably in contention, and if you have all three there’s a good chance you will catch the eye of the judges. The competition might be tough but anytime a fish and a pretty girl smile at you like that, you’re already winning!

Don’t wait – start uploading your photos now at the contest web site!

Capt. Ned Stone

Director of Programs, Guy Harvey Outpsot

Kuwaiti Kingfish: Adventure & Friendship Aboard an Army Vessel at Sea

September 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Fishing buddies Mickey Swoyer and Austin Capers, U.S. Army.

Guy Harvey Outpost is all about adventure travel.  As the saying goes: The difference between an ordeal and an adventure is “Attitude.”  In honor of Patriots’ Day on September 11th we thought we would share a fishing adventure from Austin Capers & his pals on the US Army Vessel Lt. General William Bunker.

Austin grew up on the waters of Jupiter, Florida. Fishing was such an important part of his life he became a commercial fisherman and was fishing right up until he joined the Army in 2004. Six months after finishing training he volunteered for a deployment on the United States Army Vessel Lt. Gen William Bunker at Kuwait Naval Base.

Austin and his ship mates arrived in Kuwait mid-May just in time for summer to crank up.  Their mission was to upload battle damaged equipment and transport it to various countries on the Persian Gulf to be fixed or replaced.

On an early mission to Bahrain they found several Okuma rods and reels that had been donated by the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) years before. The guys tried to fish them but the line was shot and they had little or no tackle. Austin’s Dad went to pals at Fishing Headquarters in Jupiter to round up some gear.  Most of us think of Mom’s baked goods when we think of “Care Packages” from home.  Austin’s was full of enough Ande mono to re-spool three rods, heavy mono leaders, a planer and assorted trolling rigs.

Also on board was Mickey Swoyer, a fisherman and “A character”, from the Outer Banks area in North Carolina, who shared Austin’s love for fishing. The Lt General William Bunker is a 274 foot, flat bottom, landing craft with bow and stern ramps for “Roll On – Roll Off” loading.  Picture trolling out of a tuna-tower.

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The ‘Lt. General William Bunker’

On their down time, the two started trying different combinations of trolling rigs, including a couple of Wahoo rigs Mr. Capers sent. The best working rig ended up being a simple pink skirt with a double rigged 6-0 hook set. “We were amazed how they loved that pink skirt!” Attempts to use the planer at cruising speed proved dangerous. “It flew out of the water like a Polaris missile.”

To hear Austin tell it, “The stern of this vessel sits about 20-30 feet off the water so we had to let a ridiculous amount of line out.”  The boat cruised at 9-11 knots which ended up working perfectly. “After we started catching fish our skipper gave us a hand help radio so that every time we hooked up we could yell “Fish ON!!!” into the radio and he would stop the boat. It was awesome!  We caught 6 to 10 kings and an assortment of other strange looking sea creatures.  We lost a massive one at the pilot door that was much bigger than the one pictured here. It was a huge morale booster for the entire 30 man crew.”

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Kuwaiti Kingfish!

Austin went on to spend four more years on active duty including a 15 month deployment to Iraq.  Today he is back in Jupiter with his family.  Mickey has relocated to Daytona Beach with his family and the guys are hoping for a reunion soon.

Thank you Austin, Mickey and all who serve our country.

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