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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2018

BOATING
America’s Boating Club, well-known for its courses that enhance boaters’ knowledge and skills while having fun on the water, will offer five 60-minute seminars at no cost.
CONSERVATION
Join CCA-Florida on September 22, at Frank Pate Park in Port St. Joe and lend a hand in cleaning your local waterways of trash and debris while enjoying a day on the coast.
DIVING
Wind Creek Hospitality is the latest entity to partner with the Alabama Gulf Coast Reef & Restoration Foundation (AGCRRF) to expand recreational diving opportunities off Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

ENFORCEMENT
A Coast Guard 29-foot Response Boat-Small law enforcement
boatcrew conducted a boarding on a 26-foot rental pontoon and determined the vessel was operating
with passenger counts exceeding the legal limit of 12, with no crew provided by the rental company.
EVENTS
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites veterans to fish for free Saturday, Sept. 8 at Montauk State Park’s Veterans’ Fishing Day event, 7:30 a.m.to 7:15 p.m.
Follow DNR Go FishIN coordinator Clint Kowalik on Sept. 20 and 21 as he travels the White River on a fishing adventure.

FISHERIES
Here are a few key facts about this landmark, sportfishing-focused legislation and what it means for America’s 11 million saltwater anglers and the 440,000 jobs that depend on this industry.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is transitioning its federal fishing regulations to the Fish Rules mobile application. Fishermen using the Council's current Gulf of Mexico Fishing Regulations mobile application are asked to download Fish Rules and uninstall the former application.
The California legislature voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill to end commercial drift gillnet fishing and sent it to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature.

ICE FISHING
Whether you're after panfish or walleye, the new Arctic Fire Combos offer the best in sensitivity, action, and rod length to feel, set the hook, and land more fish.
INDUSTRY
Seaguar has introduced a “quarter-pounder”, a new 600-yard spool size of the popular InvizX fluorocarbon line that saves anglers money and keeps them supplied with this great line year around.
A team of marine industry experts at this year's MRA Educational Conference, will present a practical and interactive examination of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and how the Act and enforcement can impact a marine business.
The National Park Service (NPS) has joined several federal agencies and private organizations, including NMMA, on an unprecedented memorandum of understanding (MOU) – which calls for the development and expansion of cooperation on planning and implementing mutually-beneficial projects and activities to promote recreational fishing and boating conducted on public lands and waterways.
FLIR Systems, Inc., a leading manufacturer of thermal imagers and marine electronics for the hunting, shooting, fishing and boating markets under the FLIR andRaymarine brands, announces its participation at the 62nd Annual Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers’ (AGLOW) Conference, September 10-13, inBismarck/Mandan, North Dakota.
Based on numbers in the new 2018 Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation the number of anglers increased 8.0 percent since the 2011 report and fishing equipment sales grew more than 21 percent.
ORGANIZATIONS
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is pleased to see a series of reports released today by the American Sportfishing Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, showcasing expenditures made for hunting, target shooting and sportfishing gear and services in 2016 supported 1.6 million jobs and provided $72 billion in salaries and wages.
Recreational anglers are lending their support to a bill that proposes to advance the scientific understanding of harmful algal blooms and improve methods to detect, monitor and assess the damage associated with such events.
RADIO
This week, Dan Small Outdoors Radio features kayak instructor Jon Small, Ruffed Grouse Society CEO Ben Jones, Buckhorn State Park manager Heather Wolf, Buckhorn Store owner Tim Voll and archery expert JC Chamberlin. Dan heads to Bismarck, ND for the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers conference.
We've got lots of hunting news plus Eric Winther is going to share how things are going with this year's Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Fishery Program as we enter the homestretch of this season on select portions of the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
SCHOLARSHIPS
B.A.S.S. and Alabama Power are partnering to award two $5,000 scholarships this year for students currently attending, or planning to attend, a technical school or community college in the state of Alabama.
SHOWS
The 2018 Progressive® Insurance Tampa Boat Show is anchoring at the Tampa Convention Center, Sep. 7-9, bringing the best in boating to downtown Tampa for three days.
SPONSORSHIPS
Yamaha Wolverine X4 Sweepstakes Supports Outdoor Sports and Conservation; Annual NHF Day set for Sept. 22
STATES
A newly opened water trail – the Beaver Island water trail in northern Michigan – offers the unique experience of paddling around an island. The water trail wraps 42 miles around the island in Lake Michigan, sitting about 30 miles off the coast near Charlevoix.
The California legislature has sent a bill to end commercial drift gillnet fishing to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for his signature. Senate Bill (SB) 1017 phases out the use of mile-long nets that drift in the open ocean, compensates drift gillnet fishermen, and encourages a transition to innovative new swordfishing gear.
The meeting will cover proposed fishing regulations for 2019 as well as other topics.
Part of the dam’s principal spillway intake structure suddenly failed, requiring a drawdown for repairs.
Rotenone will be applied Sept. 6 at Pelican Lake on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) south of Valentine to remove common carp.

By Brett Fitzgerald, Snook and Gamefish Association

(Hint: log more, log now - it's never been more important!)

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has temporarily mandated that snook and red drum are 'catch and release only' in the areas most impacted by the 2018 red tide bloom. The closure runs from the northernmost point of Anna Maria Island in Manatee County, and runs along the coast down through Collier County to Gordon Pass.

The change of status to "catch and release only" is set to expire at midnight on Oct. 12, which will allow commissioners time to hear an update the next FWC Commission meeting, (September 26-27 in Havana/Tallahassee).

An executive order has not been used to shut down the harvest of any "fin-fishery" to harvest in Florida since the historic 2010 cold-kill, which had massive impacts on the snook population. (Scallop seasons have been closed or delayed due to red tide in the past, most recently in 2016 and 2017.)

Similar to the situation in 2010, FWC felt compelled to take action to protect these fisheries without the benefit of hard supporting science. In circumstances such as these, it is understandable that the decision was difficult, but made with the best intentions. "We have no idea how much these fisheries have been impacted," said Jim Estes, Deputy Director of Marine Fisheries Management. "We did see issues with recruitment after the 2005 red tide bloom for certain species," Estes added. This, combined with other factors such as interviews with stakeholders throughout Florida, prompted the temporary change of fishery status.

Back in 2010, snook anglers were called to action - FWC and their research arm the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) worked with the Snook Foundation to develop a self-reporting system called the Angler Action Program, which led to the development of the iAngler smart phone app. "The information gathered by iAngler was very helpful after the 2010 cold event, and it played a significant role as the snook fishery recovered," noted Dr. Luiz Barbieri, Program Administrator, Marine Fisheries Research at FWRI.

Once again, we are asking anglers to contribute valuable information through Angler Action. "I encourage anglers to report their catch in iAngler," Jim Estes said. He has been a direct point of contact between FWC and Angler Action, and says this information can only help them understand the health of the fishery.

Over the next week, we at SGF/Angler Action will be working directly with FWC and FWRI staff to ensure that recreational anglers are dialed in. "Right now, our focus here is to help FWC get a handle on what is really going on with fish populations throughout Florida," said SGF Chairman Mike Readling. "iAngler continues to be the best way anglers can communicate what they are catching - and not catching," pointing out that 'zero-catch' trips are extremely valuable.

"We want to remind all anglers that using iAngler doesn't mean that you  must handle fish any more than a typical release," Readling points out. Anglers do not need to include a photo with their report. While length information is very important, anglers can leave that box blank too.

For now, we ask that you stay tuned. Understand that the rule change means you CAN fish in the areas within the map above, you just must release any and all redfish and snook. If you are fishing anywhere in the state, these are our two asks of you: Log your trip in iAngler, and emphasize best-release practices.

Angler Action's Best Practices for Catch & Release Fishing

Access to fisheries is an important part of conservation in America, and for many of us that access includes 'catch and release' fishing. In such cases, we want every fish we let go to survive so they can continue to thrive and contribute to the future of their species.

With that in mind, here's a refresher on some pointers that will significantly increase the chance of survival of those fish you let to. If you wish to have something added to this list, let us know!

Fish Handling

  • Try to keep the fish in the water at all times.
  • Minimize handling, since this can remove protective slime from the fish.
  • If you handle a fish, use clean, wet hands.
  • If you do remove the fish from the water, support the fish beneath the head and belly.
  • Minimize exposure to air, maximum 15 seconds.
  • Avoid using mechanical lip-gripping devices on active fish, since this can cause jaw injury.
    •  If a fish's weight is desired, attach a cradle to the scale to support the fish's weight.
  • Keep fingers away from the gills, damaged gills make it harder for the fish to breathe.

Hooks

  • Use barbless hooks, since this reduces the amount of handling needed to remove the hook.
  • When fishing with bait, use circle hooks.
  • If a hook is deep within the throat, cut the line as close to the hook as possible.
    • This causes less damage than removing a deeply-set hook; most fish are able to reject the hook or the hook dissolves over time.

Fight Time

  • Keep the fight short, but not too short.
    • Long fight times result in an exhausted fish, which is more vulnerable to predators.
    • A fish reeled in too quickly may thrash about, increasing it's chances of injury.
  • Use tackle that matches the fish and conditions.
  • If a fish looses equilibrium (it rolls over or goes nose down on the bottom), retrieve it until it can swim upright, then shorten the fight time on future fish.
  • When retrieving a fish, be sure that water passes over the gills from front to back.
    • Move the fish forward or hold it upright in the water allowing it to pump water through it's gills.
  • High water temperatures may negatively impact survival after release for many species.  In warmer water, reduce fight and handling time.

Predators

  • Since predators can decrease survival of fish after release, when predators become abundant and appear to become attracted to your fishing activity, consider moving to another fishing location.
  • If you have caught a fish and potential predators are near, consider using a circulating live-well to hold your fish for a short time to allow releasing it some distance away from them, unless that fish is not legal to possess. 

Count Your Catch

  • Use AnglerAction.org or the iAngler phone app to record your catch info while fishing or soon after.  (Remember to record all sizes and 0 catch as well).  
  • If you are fishing in areas where the fish population is stressed, remember that you don't need to photograph each fish in iAngler.
  • If you are unable to obtain an accurate length without excessive handling, it is better to leave that box empty. However, provided lengths are immensely helpful when using this data to better understand the health of a given fishery.
FISHING CALENDAR
September 8-9
Reef and Beach Cleanup at Palmetto, Florida

Prizes to $500 for most trash weighed in; www.suncoastaquaventures.com.

September 14-15
Saltwater Sisters Ladies Tournament

Pirates Cove Resort and Marina in Stuart Fl.; www.stuartsailfishclub.com.

October 12-13
AFTCO Collegiate Bass Open

Lake Dardanelle -- Russellville, AR
Website

October 31 - November 4
Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
 
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