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Fishing Ethics

 
 

Equipment

 
 

Terminal Tackle

 
     
     

Florida , and in particular the Charlotte Bay area, has a legacy of superb fishing. Little Gasparilla Island is in the heart of the Charlotte Bay area and, as such, contains some of the most fertile and abundant fishing grounds in the entire state. In fact, it offers one of the most diverse fishing experiences found in the Southeastern United States . One can fish off the dock, flat fish around the mangroves, fly fish in the flats, surf cast on the beach, sport fish for tarpon or go deep sea fishing along the continental shelf.
Adding to the diverse fishing choices is the abundant fish populations that are increasing year by year. This abundance has not always been the case. In the early 1990’s, the Florida citizens overwhelmingly voted to ban commercial fishing nets. All the nets were gone by July 1, 1995 . The results have been stupendous.

Fish populations of all species have rebounded making this area a sport fishing paradise. This does not mean that the good old days of catching as many fish as you can has returned as State regulations now govern saltwater fishing. What this does mean is that the net ban and the fishing regulations have combined to create one of the greatest and most diverse fishing ecosystems in the world.
We suggest that you know the rules before dropping your line in the water. The best source of the rules is to obtain a copy of Florida Fishing regulations and you can click here to go to a pdf file.
         
If this is your first time fishing in Florida , Teresa and I suggest you hire a guide. A qualified guide can make the difference between a memorable trip with great photos of your catch and a memorable trip with great photos of just the boat and water. Guides have the local knowledge of where to go to catch fish, what time of year is best for catching a certain species and they can improve your fishing skills in a very short time.

FISHING ETHICS

Fishing ethics is straight forward and rather simple. It really boils down to using a little common sense. We ask that you not litter, don’t throw any trash overboard or in the water, obey the regulations and respect your fellow anglers and other boaters.

Catch and release fishing is becoming more and more popular. For some species or during a specific season, this may be mandatory. Catch and release makes sense in most situations. Clearly it is a major contributor to preserving fish estuaries.

Many fishing and outfitting stores now sell barbless hooks. If you don’t have any you can always make one by filing the barb off or pinching the barb off of a standard hook. This simple concept will go a long way in reducing fish injuries.

Don’t spend a lot of time fighting a fish to exhaustion. Bring it in quickly. Once you land the fish keep it in water. Don’t toss it back with a big splash; release it slowly by letting is swam away from you while holding it gently by the tail and body. Never, never ever throw monofilament line into the water. This is consumed by turtles, manatees, and other mammals and it ends up choking them.

Equipment

Bays and Backwater
A standard or fast action 6 – 7 foot rod with a spinning reel is all you need. Be sure to load at least 150 feet or 8 to 18 pound test line. Typical lures are jigs, lutes, and the most popular is live bait. If tarpon is your goal, you need a stiffer rod that can hold 150 to 300 yards of 15 to 20 pound test line.


Saltwater fly fishing

uses a 7 – 9 weight rod and reel for all but tarpon. Big tarpon require an 11 or 12 weight rod. If you can only bring one fly rod, go with a 9 weight.

Off the Dock
Any standard light weight 6 to 8 foot rod will do nicely. Most any test line will work, perhaps 8 to 10 pound test line. You won’t need much line; 50 to 100 feet will do nicely. Again, typical lures are jugs and lutes but by far the most popular is live bait or shrimp.

Surf casting
Iis very popular as it only requires a 7 to 10 foot fast action rod rigged with 10 – 17 pound test line. There is a shallow trough that runs along the shore line favored by snook, redfish, pompano and flounder. Surf caters can fish from the beach or wade out into the water a few feet for a longer cast.

Offshore
Most off shore fishing requires ground tackle. Use a 5.5 to 6.5 foot stiff rod with a good quality free spooling reel with a star drag. Have at least 200 yards on line. A strong running fish might requite 400 yards.

Terminal Tackle

Most saltwater rigs include a leader. This is not be necessary when fishing the flats. Most leaders are a 4 to 6 foot monofilament line. When fishing for snook, redfish, spotted sea trout and other common coastal species, use a 6 foot30 to 40 pound leader. Bigger fish require stronger leader material.

There is no standard. Saltwater hooks are typically coated with a rust preventing plating. Off shore hooks make good live bait hooks but you can use straight hooks.

Never use offset hooks on artificial lures or when trolling. Their shape interferes with the bait’s motion. Backwater and coastal fishing with a spin or bait casting rod uses a straight monofilament leader tied to the fishing line with a hook or jig head. With a hook and a piece of live or dead bait on it, you have a typical free line fig. This is used with you want the bait to have a natural, unattached action. Leave the bail open or the line in free spool setting and let the fish take the bait and swim off with it. With a jig head, cast the jig and then retrieve it. A short jerk followed by a pause then a wind or two is all you need to retrieve your fish. Add an egg sinker to your rig and now you are bottom fishing. A swivel is attached to the line and the sinker. This is good for fishing off the dock. You can also try to use a float. It will suspend the bait at a fixed depth but it has an added feature to attract fish. The cork makes a popping sound when you twitch the rod tip and this attracts fish. Don’t forget to bring a light down to the dock at night and shine it into the water. This is great for snook.
     
You may contact Jib and/or Teresa Davidson, Gasparilla Villa Manager at
1-352-538-2266 (cell), 1-352-375-1473 (Jib's office)
jibteresa@gasparillavilla.com
6425 NW 54th Way, Gainesville, Fl 32653
     
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