Save Our Snook!

January 19, 2016 at 9:15 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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7988By Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost staff writer

scocking@guyharveyoutpost.com

A favorite cliché among politicians, policy makers and others of the 1980s and 90s proclaimed that, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Overused aphorism that it is, it pretty well sums up my viewpoint on the subject of managing snook in Florida.

Snook is an iconic, much-revered sport fish for many reasons.  It is finicky and will only take a bait when hungry.  The take is so quick that high-speed video cameras can’t quite capture it.  When hooked, the fish leaps into the air and dashes for the nearest obstruction in order to free itself –making an angler’s heart hammer with anxiety when fighting it and swell with gratitude when releasing it.   Despite decades of research into its life history, reproduction and movements, it still holds mysteries to science and angling.

Here in the Sunshine State– the northernmost extent of the tropical species’ range– the snook is doing just fine, according to scientists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and many guides and anglers along both Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

“It is better today than I’ve ever seen it in my lifetime,” declared revered Gulf coast guide captain Scott Moore, who’s been fishing or guiding for snook for more than 50 years.

A just-completed stock assessment by the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute finds that, despite a massive cold kill in 2010; intermittent outbreaks of red tide; destruction of mangrove habitat; and increasing angling pressure, snook on both coasts are rebuilding to achieve the state’s management goal of 40 percent spawning potential ratio.  That means the proportion of breeders in a stock compared to what that number would be if there were no fishing. The 40 percent SPR goal is higher than for other exploited species in the state, but Floridians decided snook is worth the loftier standard. Now that it’s pretty much there, we need to keep it that way and we can do that by leaving the current management measures adopted in 2007 in place.

Those management measures– tightening the slot limits on both east and west coasts; expanding seasonal closures on the west coast; and reducing the bag limit to one fish per person statewide–and the Legislature’s 2010 decision to increase the snook permit fee to $10 helped boost snook to the healthy status it enjoys today.  They created a buffer against the environmental and manmade onslaughts that could have plunged snook stocks back down to the 25 percent SPR level where they stood a decade ago.

The FWC held a statewide snook summit Jan. 13 in Orlando attended by some 300 anglers, guides, scientists, conservationists and others to hear proposals for future snook management. While some argued for staying the course, others called for increasing bag limits; loosening slot limits; and relaxing the 40 percent SPR goal.  Agency officials pledged to consider their suggestions, form stakeholder groups around the state, take their proposals to public workshops, and present FWC commissioners with draft rules in November.

Anglers and anyone else devoted to Florida’ s marine environment need to pay attention and get involved in this exercise to make sure we don’t roll back snook’s gains made over the past ten years.

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Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on GuyHarveyOutpostNews.com/.  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling camping, sailing and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit. 

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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.

FWC Decides Not to Reopen Snook Season on Florida’s West Coast

June 29, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Posted in Art, Conservation, Fishing, Florida, Guy Harvey, Guy Harvey Outpost Ltd. | Leave a comment
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Catch & release still permitted during closure

NOTE: This story was posted today on TampabayOnline.com by Special Correspondent Frank Sergeant

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission ruled this week that the snook fishing season will remain closed on the state’s west coast, rather than reopening Sept. 1 as scheduled.

The season has been closed due to a 2010 cold-kill, which wiped out tens of thousands of fish from Clearwater to Naples.

“This is a wise move,” said snook guide Scott Moore of Holmes Beach. “I’m seeing big fish and a few slot (keeper-sized) fish, but no little fish — we’re missing whole-year classes due to the winter kill, and we need to get more in the pipeline before we start taking them again.”

The continued closure also was supported by the Coastal Conservation Association, which said that the number of adult snook on the west coast was down 20 percent after the freeze, and the numbers of juvenile fish killed was probably much greater.

The season will reopen Sept. 1, 2013, if the commission takes no further action.

Catch-and-release fishing for snook is permitted during the closure.

New GUY HARVEY® Florida Lottery Scratch-Off Game Debuts Today

April 3, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Posted in Art, Conservation, Guy Harvey, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Marine Art, St. Pete Beach, Tarpon | Leave a comment
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Proceeds benefit education and marine conservation in the State of Florida

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL—APRIL 3, 2012— For fans of marine wildlife artist and conservationist Guy Harvey there’s a new collector’s series of lottery tickets that will be available starting today—priced at just $2.

Dr. Harvey and the Florida Lottery today are officially launching the GUY HARVEY® Scratch-Off game, featuring a series of six colorful wildlife illustrations designed by the world renowned marine artist.

During a March 23rd press conference, Dr. Harvey announced that his licensing proceeds from the sale of the tickets will benefit the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, a marine conservation organization that funds educational programs aimed at informing children and young adults about their role in conserving Florida’s marine ecosystem.

Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell anticipates sales of the GUY HARVEY® Scratch-Off Game to generate about $3.5 million for Florida’s education system.

“This partnership with the Florida Lottery is unique and I am happy to launch a product that will help Florida’s schools as well as the state’s precious marine resources,” said Dr. Guy Harvey. “I am especially looking forward to fishing with the winner of the Grand Cayman trip. We will have a great time!”

Dr. Harvey was referring to a Second Chance Promotion that offers players the chance to win the fishing trip of a lifetime.

The $2 GUY HARVEY® Scratch-Off game offers cash prizes of up to $30,000 and overall odds to win of one-in-4.37. Additionally, non-winning GUY HARVEY® tickets may be entered in the Guy Harvey® Sportsman’s Paradise Second Chance Promotion on the Lottery’s website.

Four drawings will be held between April 25 and June 27 with 12 winners selected in each drawing.

Grand prize winners will receive a Sportsman’s Paradise fishing trip for two to one of several fantastic fishing destinations including St. Petersburg Beach, Hawks Cay, Rum Cay in the Bahamas, or Grand Cayman Island, where one lucky winner and a guest will get the opportunity of a lifetime – to go fishing with Guy Harvey himself!

Second prize winners in the drawing will receive an original Guy Harvey® framed watercolor painting and the third prize winners will receive a $200 gift certificate to GuyHarveySportswear.com.

Guy Harvey and Florida Lottery Announce New Guy Harvey Scratch-Off Game and Second Chance Promo

March 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Posted in Bahamas, Guy Harvey, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Marine Art, Marine Science, St. Pete Beach | Leave a comment
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Second chance promotion offers players the chance to win the fishing trip of a lifetime!

WEST PALM BEACH (March 22, 2012)—The Palm Beach International Boat Show got off to a lucky start Thursday with the announcement of a brand new Florida Lottery GUY HARVEY® Scratch-Off game.  Fishing and boating enthusiasts in Florida regularly wear Guy Harvey sportswear and starting on April 3, they can try their luck with this new game.

Capturing the colorful wildlife illustrations created by Dr. Guy Harvey, the $2 Scratch-Off game will feature six scenes of original Guy Harvey® Collector’s Series artwork.

“Today was a fun day to launch this new product that Floridians and visitors can really feel good about purchasing,” said Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell. “Not only do we expect this ticket to generate about $3.5 million for Florida’s education system, Dr. Harvey is also donating his licensing fee to the Guy Harvey Ocean Fund, a non-profit organization that directly benefits Florida’s coastlines.”

The $2 GUY HARVEY® Scratch-Off game offers cash prizes of up to $30,000 and overall odds to win of one-in-4.37. Additionally, non-winning GUY HARVEY® tickets may be entered in the Guy Harvey® Sportsman’s Paradise Second Chance Promotion on the Lottery’s website.

Four drawings will be held between April 25 and June 27 with 12 winners selected in each drawing.

  • Grand prize winners will receive a Sportsman’s Paradise fishing trip for two to one of several fantastic fishing destinations including St. Petersburg BeachDuck Key, the Bahamas, or Grand Cayman Island, where one lucky winner and a guest will get the opportunity of a lifetime – to go fishing with Guy Harvey himself!
  • Second prize winners in the drawing will receive an original Guy Harvey® framed watercolor painting and the third prize winners will receive a $200 gift certificate to GuyHarveySportswear.com.

“This partnership with the Florida Lottery is unique and I am happy to be here in Florida to launch a product that will help Florida’s schools as well as the state’s precious natural resources,” said Dr. Guy Harvey. “I am especially looking forward to fishing with the winner of the Grand Cayman trip. We will have a great time!”

The Florida Lottery is working closely with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to promote the game to Florida’s licensed anglers and to help underscore the importance of conservation to Florida.

“Acknowledged as the ‘Fishing Capital of the World,’ Florida has vast natural resources we are duty-bound to protect,” said Chuck Collins, Regional Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  “Every effort to highlight the beauty of our waters, the abundance of species and our need to respect and conserve them for residents, visitors and our future generations is a worthwhile effort.”

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