FWC's Fishing in the Know - December


December 2017

FWC's Fishing in the Know

Division of Marine Fisheries Management Monthly Newsletter

If a fish is hooked deep in the throat or gut, research has shown that it is best to cut the leader as close to the hook as possible and leave the hook in the fish. Prolonged attempts to remove the hook often do more harm than good.

Snook being released

Andrew Herzog releasing a tagged snook.

Submit your photos by emailing them to Saltwater@MyFWC.comLearn more about our photo guidelines.

Commission Meeting - December

Marine Fisheries items to be discussed Dec. 5-7

Information: The FWC Commission will listen to public testimony on and discuss several marine fisheries management items at the Dec. 5-7 meeting in Gainesville. Commission meetings are open to the public.

Potential regulation changes (final decisions on these topics may be made at this meeting; both presentations are scheduled for Dec. 7):

Cobia: Final public hearing on changes to create a state Gulf/Atlantic cobia management boundary defining all waters north of the Monroe-Collier county line as Gulf state waters, reducing the commercial daily bag limit from two to one fish per person in Gulf state waters, and reducing the recreational and commercial vessel limit from six to two per vessel per day in Gulf state waters.

Greater amberjack: Proposed changes to make regulations in Gulf state waters similar to pending regulations in Gulf federal waters. Potential changes include setting the recreational harvest season to open May 1-30 and Aug. 1 - Oct. 31 each year.  

Draft regulation changes (these items will be discussed Dec. 7 and, if approved, will be brought back to a future meeting for final decision):

Bay scallops: Potential draft changes to create regionally-specific bay scallop harvest seasons. Proposed season dates and locations that, if adopted, would be added into rule and remain the same annually include:

Proposed season dates and locations that, if adopted, would be implemented by Executive Order for 2018 only include:

  • St. Joseph Bay and all of Gulf County: Aug. 17 - Sept. 30 (long-term changes would be established once the population is more fully rebuilt).
  • Pasco County: July 20-29 (this is a trial season, state waters off Pasco County have been closed since 1994).

Permit: Potential draft change to modify the permit spawning season closure inside the Special Permit Zone by adding April to the existing May through July closure.


Hurricane response and recovery report (Dec. 5)

Gulf red snapper recreational season staff report (Dec. 7)

Federal fishery management updates (Dec. 7)

Links for more information:

Agenda [MyFWC.com]

Red Snapper – Atlantic, Federal

Season reopening Dec. 8-10

Information: Recreational red snapper season will reopen in Atlantic federal waters Dec. 8-10. During this season in Atlantic federal waters, the bag limit is one fish per person, per day, and there is no minimum size limit. The bag limit applies to private and charterboat/headboat vessels (the captain and crew on for-hire vessels may retain the recreational bag limit).

The season was previously open Nov. 3-5 and 10-12 in Atlantic federal waters. The season was extended due to inclement weather during the previously open dates and that the catch limit had not been met yet.

In Atlantic state waters, red snapper is open year-round and the size limit is 20 inches total length. If you harvest a red snapper under 20 inches while fishing in Atlantic federal waters, you must motor through Atlantic state waters with your gear stowed.

Link for more information:

Red snapper [MyFWC.com]

Gray Triggerfish - Gulf

Season may reopen Jan. 1

Information: Gray triggerfish is closed to harvest in Gulf state and federal waters through Dec. 31, 2017. Several regulation changes federal waters are currently pending approval by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Similar changes for Gulf state waters were approved by the Commission in July, but will not go into effect until after federal changes are finalized. These changes include a January through February closed season, a decrease in the recreational bag limit from 2 to 1 fish, and an increase in the minimum size limit from 14 to 15 inches fork length.

If these changes are not approved and effective by Dec. 31, 2017, the gray triggerfish recreational season will open for harvest Jan. 1, 2017. If these changes are approved, the January through February closed season will go into effect and the season will not open.

Please visit the link below for updates on the gray triggerfish season and regulations.

Link for more information:

Gray triggerfish [MyFWC.com]


Gulf season closes Dec. 1; Atlantic closes Dec. 15

Information: The recreational harvest season for snook closes:

  • Dec. 1 in Gulf state and federal waters, including Monroe County and Everglades National Park, and will remain closed through Feb. 28, 2018, reopening to harvest March 1, 2018.
  • Dec. 15 in Atlantic state and federal waters including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, and will remain closed through Jan. 31, 2018, reopening to harvest Feb. 1, 2018.

Snook can continue to be caught and released during the closed season.

Link for more information:

Snook [MyFWC.com]

FWC needs your feedback

Information: FWC is collecting feedback on several fisheries issues including shrimp, flounder, and trap fisheries.

Provide comments on these or other fisheries online at MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.

Link for more information:

Saltwater Comments [MyFWC.com]

Angler recognition logo

Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs

Catch a Florida Memory today

Information: These three programs encourage ethical angling while earning rewards for your efforts.

  • Saltwater Fish Life List: A list of 71 different species. Can you catch them all?
  • Saltwater Reel Big Fish: Recognition for extraordinarily-sized catches.
  • Saltwater Grand Slams: Earn rewards for catching three different specified species in a 24-hour period.

Link for more information:



Commission Meeting – December

Red snapper – Atlantic, federal

Gray Triggerfish - Gulf


FWC needs your feedback

Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs



December - January

State waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles in the Gulf and from shore to 3 nautical miles in the Atlantic.  

Dec. 1 – Snook (Gulf) closes

Dec. 15 – Snook (Atlantic) closes

Jan. 1 – Gag (Gulf & Atlantic) closes

Jan. 1 – Several grouper species (Atlantic) closes

Jan. 1 – Greater amberjack (Gulf) opens (changes pending, see Commission meeting information below)

Jan. 1 – Gray triggerfish (Gulf) opens (changes pending, see gray triggerfish section below)

Jan. 16-25 – Blue crab trap closure (St. Johns River)



John Cohee with his tuna catch.


December - January

Lionfish Events Calendar

Dec. 5 – Adult Fishing Clinic – Cedar Key

Dec. 5-7 – Commission Meeting - Gainesville



From the Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program page:

After wildlife is affected by monofilament line, it is great to see the success stories like this brown pelican found wrapped in fishing line. This bird is undergoing rehabilitation in South Florida at CROW - Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc..

For more information on what to do if you find an entangled bird visitwww.myfwc.com/unhook.

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