Adopt just a few simple habits using proper handling techniques to help increase the survival rate of fish you release. How-to Videos Handle and release sharks in a way that increases their chance of survival.
Large species such as sharks, billfish and tarpon should be brought alongside the boat within 20 minutes of being hooked. If you are consistently landing exhausted fish that require extensive efforts to resuscitate, consider using heavier tackle.
Never hold on to or tow a fish not allowed to be harvested to a different location to weigh or measure it. Hooking tools allow anglers to quickly release their catch while minimizing injuries and handling time.
This allows water to be forced through the mouth and over the gills, essentially giving it a “breath of fresh air.” Always be aware of current regulations and know how to measure the fish you target.
This minimizes handling time when determining whether you can keep the fish you caught. Use tackles heavy enough to bring the fish in quickly and avoid using multi-hook rigs or lures.
Capturing a catch on camera is a great way to share your experience with others and to create lasting memorabilia. It is okay to take a picture of a fish that is not allowed to be harvested while it’s in the process of being released, but it still must be let go immediately after.
A fish should not be held out of the water for long periods of time just for the purpose of taking a picture. Remember, when taking a picture of your catch, hold the fish horizontally and support its weight with both hands.
Fish that struggle intensely during capture are usually exhausted and stressed from the accumulation of excessive amounts of lactic acid in their muscles and blood. Circle hooks are designed so the point is turned perpendicular to the shank to form a circular or oval shape.
They are best used with natural bait (live or dead) and are 90% more likely to hook fish in the mouth instead of in the esophagus or stomach. And the less time you spend handling a fish and keeping it out of the water, the greater its chances of survival.
A pair of pliers or small hand crimped should work to flatten a hook’s barb. You ’ll provide the greatest conservation benefit when you use barbless circle hooks that are non-offset and non-stainless steel.
Also cutting off one of the three points from the remaining sets of trebles makes it easier to recover the lure from the fish. Hooking tools come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit the need of the angler.
Remember, even a pair of needle nose pliers is considered a hooking tool. If an angler is fishing from a boat with a high gunwale, the hooking tool may need to have a longer “shaft”.
If targeting fish with large teeth, spines or sharp barbs, use a long hooking tool to keep hands and fingers out of harm’s way. If the vessel is anchored, point the fish head-first into the current to gently force water through the mouth and over the gills.
If the vessel is not anchored or there isn’t a current, hold the fish in the water alongside the boat and gently nudge the boat into gear, forcing water through the gills of the fish. Fish that are caught in deep water and released may face additional challenges to survival.
When fish are pulled up from deep water (typically depths greater than 50 feet), the change in pressure can cause the gas in the swim bladder to expand and in some cases burst. Damage to the swim bladder or other internal organs that is caused by such change in pressure is called barotrauma.
When a fish suffering from barotrauma is released, it is unable to swim back down to capture depth making it difficult to survive the elements and avoid predators. Knives or an ice-pick are not venting tools because they do not allow the expanded gases to escape from inside the body.
Gently hold the fish on its side and insert the needle into the body cavity at a 45-degree angle under a scale. The area to insert the venting tool is approximately 1 to 2 inches behind the base of the pectoral fin.
Venting helps release gases that may over-expand in the body cavity when fish are brought to the surface from deep water. Remember to only use a venting tool or descending device when one or all of the signs of barotrauma are present.
These links are provided to help anglers find a descending device and do not constitute an endorsement of any product. Mouth clamps are attached to a rod and reel and use a pressure sensor (releases fish automatically at a predetermined depth selected by the angler) or a weighted spring release mechanism (lets go of fish after the angler gives a sharp tug on the line).
A fish elevator, such as an inverted milk crate with a rope attached to the top and weights at each corner, creates a bottomless cage which allows the gases to recompress while the fish is brought down to capture depth. Learn about the tools available to treat barotrauma, a condition that occurs when fish are brought up from deep waters.
Knowing how to and using venting tools and descending devices can help fish survive after being released. Watch VideoExpand All | Collapse All Many of our most popular recreationally targeted species are regulated and sometimes must be returned to the water.
Most anglers would agree that anything we can do to minimize harm to fish being released will benefit the resource in the long term. They have helped to restore or sustain several valuable fisheries, including shook, red drum and spotted sea trout.
As the number of anglers continues to grow, it becomes more important than ever to release those fish that cannot be harvested in as good a condition as possible. Can identify most of the species commonly caught in their area and knows the current regulations for each.
Protects habitat and wildlife by following safe boating practices such as knowing the waterways, keeping a slow wake when necessary, and poling through seagrass beds. Keeps trash out of the water, disposing of monofilament fishing line, napkins, food containers and other waste in a proper receptacle ashore.
Teach your children and inexperienced anglers these few simple procedures to help ensure abundant fish populations for the future. Big Catch Florida | State RecordCertified state record fish must be legally caught using an active hook-and-line method (including a proper license or exemption) by sport fishing methods.
Uncertified state records (indicated below by an asterisk) are believed accurate based on reliable witnesses and other evidence but are not certifiable, or they were caught by other than legal sport fishing methods. If you cannot contact the Regional Office you may leave a message for Doris Swain at 850-617-9495.
** Following genetic and other analyses, it is now believed that redye bass do not exist in Florida. Shoal bass have been officially described as a species primarily living in some of Florida's northern rivers.
Large mouth Bass17.27 poundsunavailable7/6/1986Billy O'Berry Polk County×Largemouth Bass20.13unavailable5/19/1923Frederick FriebelBig Fish Lake, Pasco CountyThis fish was weighed on a postal scale and witnessed, but an FCC (or GFC) biologist did not document it at the time to establish an official record. It is now recognized that these fish were misidentified by the public and likely one of the other black bass species.
Johns River, Völuspá CountyLongnose Gar41.00 poundsunavailable4/14/1985Evan MerrittLake Panasoffkee, Sumter CountyAlligator Gar123.00 poundsunavailable7/8/1995Zachary PhillipsChoctawhatchee River, Walton County Florida Gar9.44 poundsunavailable3/25/2001Patric A. McDanielLake Lane, Orange CountyButterfly Peacock Bass9.08 poundsunavailable3/11/1993Jerry Gomez Kendall Lakes, Made Countywide: Larger butterfly peacock bass have been documented by FCC biologists, but not all state record reporting requirements were met. Oscar2.34 poundsunavailable3/16/1994Jimmy Cookware Okeechobee Mayan Cichlid2.37 pounds13.6”13.1”11/28/2016Jonathan Johnson Golden Gate CanalCollierJaguar Guapote2.78unavailable6/29/2017Jerry MartinS napper Creek (C-2) CanalMiami-DadeBlue Tilapia9.57 poundsunavailable8/31/2010Pamela Henry St.
These programs collect valuable data through citizen-science, encourage fishing and conservation and bring enjoyment to Florida anglers. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, 620 S. Meridian St., Tallahassee, FL 32399.
“Venting tools” are basically a pick to deflate an expanded swim bladder of a fish reeled to the surface too quickly. Lesser amber jack (Serious fascia ta) are olive green or brownish on back with silver sides with a dark band that extends backward from the eyes.
Greater amber jack (Serious numerals) have a dark strip from the nose to the front of the dorsal fin. Bluefish (Potatoes aviatrix) are blue or greenish-blue on the back, silver on sides, with large, prominent teeth.
They usually travel in large schools, and are found inshore in spring and summer, migrating offshore in the fall and winter. Cobra, or long (Rachycentron Canada) are long, slim fish with a dark lateral strip from the eye to the tail.
There is a 33-inch minimum length and a one-fish daily bag limit or a total of no more than six per vessel, whichever is less. Dolphin (Coryphée hippies) have a greenish-blue hue on their back, with yellow sides.
Flounder (Paralichthys ambiguity) are brown, flat fish that are predominantly bottom dwellers. Goliath grouper, formerly called Jewish, (Epimetheus Tamara) are one of the longest-living fish at 50 years.
They have irregular dark vertical bars on the sides and can grow up to 800 pounds in size. Goliath grouper were heavily harvested, prompting fishery regulators to class them as a protected species in the United States in 1990.
Scamp (Mycteroperca final) have reddish spots that tend to be grouped into lines. Yellow fin grouper (Mycteroperca Vanessa) have bright red spots and grows to 20 pounds.
Yellow mouth grouper (Mycteroperca interstitial is) are tan or brown with small spots fused into lines and grow to 15 pounds. Red grouper has a 20-inch size minimum, with two fish per person per day in the Gulf.
King fish, or king mackerel (Scomberomorous cavalry) are silver with black or bluish-green backs. Permit (Trichinosis falcate) are a South Florida fish that is starting to extend its range into local waters.
This bull-headed fish has a gray back with silver sides and is similar in shape to pompano, although much larger at 25 pounds. You may also possess one fish of more than 20 inches daily, although like permit, no more than two big pompano can be on a boat at any time.
One of the more popular local fish, redfish or red drum (Sciences cellars) are copper-colored with a distinctive black spot at the base of the tail. Juveniles are found inshore, and migrate offshore to spawn, usually from August to October.
Makes (Taurus oxyrinchus) are had deep blue backs with white bellies, and are usually seen offshore near the surface. Bonnet head sharks (Smyrna bureau) are gray with a distinctive shovel-shaped head.
Hammerhead sharks (Smyrna Lewin) are brown to olive with a hammer-like head. Sleepyhead (Archosargus probatocephalus) is one of the more popular winter fish caught near docks and piers in the area.
They are silver, with distinctive vertical black bands along the sides. Black fin snapper (Mutants buccaneer) are generally bright red with comma-shaped dark marks on the pectoral fins.
Cuber snapper (Mutants cyanopterus) are dark brown or gray with a reddish tinge. They have distinctive canine teeth, grow to 40 pounds and are found inshore as juveniles and offshore as adults.
Dog snapper (Mutants Jock) are brown with a bronze tinge, with enlarged canine teeth and a blue line under their eyes. They grow to 12 pounds in size and are found near mangroves and seagrass beds inshore, near rock reefs offshore.
Mahogany snapper (Mutants mahogany) are grayish olive, with a dark spot below the dorsal fin. Mutton snapper (Mutants anal is) have olive-colored backs with a reddish belly.
Red snapper (Mutants campechanus) are pinkish-red in color with a white belly and are found offshore to 20 pounds in size. Vermilion snapper (Rhomboplites aurorubens) are red with yellow streaks on the sides.
Yellowtail snapper (Occurs chrysalis) have olive or bluish backs with a yellow stripe running from the eye to the tail. Shook (Centrosomes decimals) are powerful fish that are usually found in bays of just off beaches.
They have a large mouth with a protruding lower jaw and a distinctive black lateral line. For insider anglers off Anna Maria Island, the current slot limit for shook is now 28 to 33 inches.
Sea trout season is closed November and December in the “south region,” which includes Anna Maria Island. Florida ’s premiere game fish, tarpon (Mega lops Atlantic) have dark blue or greenish black backs that shade to bright silver on the sides.