Sport Fish Restoration
She began by explaining what the Sport Fish Restoration Program was all about and continued by teaching us about the FWRI (Fish & Wildlife Research Institute), and how they collect the ear bones from fish to do much of their research. We also learned about stock enhancement and fish hatcheries. But she threw us a curve-ball when she told us that Snook begin their lives as males and then some change into females.
Common snook are protandric hermaphrodites, changing from male to female after maturation. This transition is identified by the presence of both male and female sex cells in the gonads and takes place when they grow to between 9.4-2.4 inches (24.0-82.4 cm) fork length which corresponds to 1-7 years of age. A study conducted in 2000, indicated that the sex ratios for common snook ages 0 - 2 are significantly skewed between the east and west coasts of Florida (USA) due to protrandry and differences in growth and mortality rates. The majority of small common snook are male and most large snook are female. Males reach sexual maturity during their first year at 5.9-7.9 inches (15.0-20.0 cm) fork length. Research shows that female gonads mature directly from the mature male gonads shortly after spawning. The probability that a common snook of a particular size will be a female increases with length or age.
After Heather "wow-ed" us with that little factoid, she changed gears to water boundaries, clarifying the difference between State, Federal and International waters when it came to mileage boundaries and how the regulations can be interpreted differently at times. She put a strong emphasis on the importance of conserving marine habitat by explaining that "no habitat = no fish" and that approximately 70% of Gulf inshore marine habitat depend on sea grass for life. Another factoid she threw in there: sea turtles eat jellyfish. Who knew? Heather closed her presentation by pointing to the FWC display table to her left and invited all of us to scour the educational material she had set up there and pick up a few free packetss of circle hooks and other trinkets, courtesy of the FWC Outreach & Education Dept. It was a pretty good start to the workshop and it got better as the afternoon progressed.
Capt. Craig Timbes -" The Snook Cowboy"
Secret #2 - Fish 3-4 days before a full moon or new (no) moon
Fish 3-4 days after a full moon or new (no) moon
Secret #3 - These are the five most important aspects of a lure: Color, Contrast, Flash, Vibration and Scent. Use as many of those components as you can on one lure.
Secret #4 - Predatory fish will instinctively face into the current. Make a cast that allows your bait or lure to travel with the current...you'll cover more ground that way.
Secret #5 - For 8-12 inches of water, use a top-water lure.
Secret #6 - For mangrove areas, on hot, sunny days, cast under the overhanging branches. They provide shade for redfish.
Secret #7 - "Pre-fish" on Google Maps and locate the deep holes for trout.
Secret #8 - Ask yourself: "Where would a fish hide?"
There was so much more great information that Capt. Timbes gave us that afternoon but quite frankly, there just wasn't enough time to write it all down. The last comment he made before stepping down was this, "If you only get one thing out of the past 15 minutes I've been up here, it should be this: Set your fishing schedule on moonrises and moon sets...that's the key. And if you have any questions about that, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org".
He practically got a standing ovation!
Capt. Rick Karnes
Capt. Karnes passed out a very well written outline for each of us and we followed along as he described the three basic artificial lure types and the five 'W's of who, what, when, where and why they should be utilized. He defined the difference between topwater, swimbait and jigs, and when to use each of them. He reviewed all of the different reasons why artificial lures can be just as productive as live bait and more convenient, too. Finally he went over some general guidelines to follow. The hand-out was great because we didn't have to write too many additional notes and everything he said was right there in black-and-white to take home and refer to again later. Awesome Job, Capt. Karnes!!!
Capt. Scott Swartz
Silent Auction & Raffle
What's for Dinner?
Some folks come for the view
Some come to play in Matlacha
Stop by for a beer or two
From fishermen in tank tops
To dudes in flowered shirts
They all hang out together
In the back on the deck at Bert's!