Fishing Wire Ranger Boats ICAST
MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2019

BOATING
Men between the ages of 20 and 60 are the most likely to drown while boating, and are the least likely to be wearing a life jacket
ENFORCEMENT
Three walleye anglers fishing together last week on the Detroit River face losing their fishing licenses after being caught with 80 walleye – 65 over the river’s legal daily limit of five per person, per day.
EVENTS
MDC will hold the Catchin’ Some Fun—Let’s Go Fishing program for persons with disabilities Saturday, May 4 from 10 a.m.—Noon at the Forest Park Hatchery lakes in St. Louis.

FISHERIES
The Richmond Hill Hatchery is the sole producer of Atlantic striped bass fry, hybrid striped bass fry, and white bass fry in the state.
Smelt dipping in Maine is a springtime tradition for many, and depending on where you go and the conditions, these smelt runs can be sparse, or if you are lucky, the brook can run black with smelts.
INDUSTRY
Correct Craft has announced that Parker Boats has joined the Correct Craft family. Based in Beaufort, NC, Parker is a 55-year-old company that builds premium offshore and inshore fishing boats.

Last week U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross visited the Fort Lauderdale Bass Pro Shops and met with recreational boating and fishing industry leaders – including NMMA and its members – to discuss the important contributions of marine recreation to the U.S. Blue Economy.
Four lucky winners will walk away with a 14-piece portable Cut N’ Cue™ knife and grilling set and four ChowPal™ all-in-one utensil set/multi-tools.
PARTNERSHIPS
With this partnership, BUFF® will be the official multifunctional headwear sponsor of the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series.

PRO ANGLERS
With a victory and three other top-7 finishes in the first four events of the MLF Bass Pro Tour's inaugural season, plus an 8th-place showing at the Bassmaster Classic, Edwin Evers has moved into the top slot in the newest edition of the BassFan World Rankings.
SHOWS
This is an invitation-only event co-hosted by popular boating website BoatTest.com, but invitations are provided with free BoatTest.com membership.
STATES
Nate Webb, the supervisor of MDIFW’s Wildlife Resource Assessment Section in Bangor, is the new director of the wildlife division at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The protected sturgeon spawning run draws great interest from spectators around the Midwest as they come to observe these majestic fish spawning. 
As of April 12, 2019 the daily possession limit for lake trout in Lake Trout Management Unit MM 4 (which includes the ports of Elk Rapids, Traverse City and Northport) has been changed from two fish to one fish.
Minnesota is inching closer to establishing an outdoor recreation office, following recent advancements of legislation introduced by Representative Jim Davnie (HF 2220) and Senator Carrie Ruud (SF 2237).
High water has caused South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem to sign an executive order to create temporary "no wake zones" on several eastern South Dakota lakes.
Lake Ogallala’s trout fishery has been enhanced with the stocking of 10,000 rainbow trout by the Rock Creek State Fish Hatchery from April 4-15.
TELEVISION
Outdoor Channel’s Major League Fishing and Major League Fishing All Angles topped the ratings list of the network’s best performing shows in the first quarter of 2019.
TOURNAMENTS
James Biggs could’ve slept in and still won the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Central Regional on Lake Guntersville, but instead the Euless, Texas boater caught a five-bass limit of 19 pounds, 9 ounces and slammed the door on a dominant wire-to-wire victory with a three-day total of 70-2.
A portion of the net proceeds from each entry will be donated to Gray to put toward the purchase of costly satellite tags, which are a key component of their offshore fishery research efforts.
Dealing with changing weather and the postspawn are givens during spring tournaments, and those conditions will be in play at the Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open coming up on Lewis Smith Lake in Alabama.
Brian Nelli of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, measured a combined limit of 63.00 inches to win the final regular-season event for the 2019 Florida East Division of the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour on April 14 at New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Danny Sheldon of Newberry, Florida, and Kyle Craven, of Macclenny, Florida weighed a two-fish limit that totaled 13.88 pounds to win the final regular-season event for the Florida East Division of the IFA Redfish Tour presented by Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s on April 13 at New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
VIDEO
Check out this great aerial view of tarpon rolling and daisy chaining off the beach near Tampa Bay, from Florida Fishing Products.
YOUTH EVENTS
Young anglers will have opportunities to catch fish and learn about fishing at Montauk State Park’s Kids’ Fishing Day May 4 from 6:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Young anglers will have opportunities to experience the fun of catching fish and will also have chances to learn about the outdoors at Bennett Spring State Park’s Kids’ Fishing Day 6:30 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. on May 4.
Students will have the opportunity to tag and track some of our favorite sport fish while also being educated on proper tagging, handling, and angling techniques.
The pond will be closed to all fishing May 9-10, then open for the kids' event on May 11 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. before returning to its normal schedule after the event.

By DAVID RAINER
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

After a three-year struggle, saltwater anglers are on the cusp of a stable red snapper season with the approval of Amendment 50 by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

Amendment 50, which goes into effect in 2020 with the approval of the Secretary of Commerce, gives the five Gulf states control over each state’s snapper season, and it allows leeway in size and bag limits within certain federal guidelines.

“All of the Gulf states are excited to finally have this solidified and move forward with the management plans for the individual states,” said Scott Bannon, Alabama’s Marine Resources Director. “It’s a win for the red snapper stock and a win for the states.”

Bannon said state control of the snapper fishery was brought before the Council in 2016 to manage the recreational sector, which would have included the private recreational sector and the federal for-hire (charter) sector.

The 2016 and 2017 snapper seasons were painfully short under federal control. As a way to alleviate the impact on anglers and the Gulf Coast economies, the Gulf states were issued an exempted fishing permit (EFP) for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and states were able to set their seasons under a total allowable catch for each state.

Alabama originally set its 2018 season at 47 days, but near-perfect weather and an increased enthusiasm for catching the state’s signature saltwater species forced Marine Resources to reduce the season to 28 days, which ended in an almost perfect catch-to-allocation result.

The way Alabama was able to ensure there was no significant overrun on the quota was through the Red Snapper Reporting System, more commonly known as Snapper Check. The mandatory reporting system allowed Marine Resources to monitor the catch and close the season in response to the larger-than-expected harvest numbers.

The success of the Snapper Check monitoring paved the way for the Council to approve Amendment 50.

“I think the fishery benefits from Amendment 50 because we have the ability, as individual states, of not exceeding our allocation of the quota,” Bannon said. “If you look at it from a stock perspective for the Gulf of Mexico and you were managing it as a whole and you had a perfect season, like last year, you had no way to put the season in check. Alabama alone would have consumed nearly half of the entire Gulf allocation if we had fished the whole 47 days. We would have fished it really, really hard, and the amount of fish we would have caught would have been tremendous. As it was, we closed it when we met the number of pounds and showed that we were responsible. I think this is much better for the anglers and the snapper stock. I think the EFP showed the states could come to some decisions about allocations, and that the states could manage seasons within pretty close tolerances.”

Bannon said the Gulf Council faced two challenges with state management of red snapper. First, where do the federal for-hire boats fit into the program? The Council decided to not include the federal for-hire in Amendment 50 and consider other options in the future if conditions change for the federal for-hire boats. Second, what allocations could the five Gulf states live with?

“These allocations were based on different factors like biomass and historical landings,” Bannon said. “So, the state directors used the EFP allocations as a starting point for Amendment 50.

“The EFP only allowed us to set the season within our allocation. Under Amendment 50, we received an increase in allocation from 25% to 26.298%, and that increase will be permanent. We also have in Amendment 50 the ability to set size and bag limits within certain parameters. Those are management tools to maximize the benefit for Alabama.”

When the initial EFP allocations were proposed, the totals did not equal 100% of the total allowable catch. Bannon said Florida was given the extra 3.78% because they were the final state to apply.

“They amended their EFP to get that extra allocation,” Bannon said. “We felt like that extra allocation should be negotiated. In the end, Alabama and Florida split that 3.78% under Amendment 50 because we’re the two largest consumers of red snapper. The other states were comfortable with that. It seems to be fair and equitable.”

Under the new amendment, each state creates their own plan. Alabama’s plan includes a 10% buffer as opposed to the 20% buffer under the federal system. The federal for-hire sector has not exceeded its quota for several years, and its buffer was reduced to 9%.

Alabama’s allocation of red snapper for the 2019 private recreational season under the EFP is 1,079,765 pounds. Alabama’s allocation for the 2020 season increases to 1,122,661 pounds if the private recreational sector doesn’t exceed its quota this year.

Bannon said most red snapper anglers are happy with the upcoming season, and he anticipates there could be some season adjustments when Amendment 50 goes into effect.

“Most of the responses I’ve received for the 2019 season is they were happy to get the June and July seasons and that the season was spread out enough that if the weather was bad they could go another weekend,” he said. “We know we still have concerns from the public that they would like more fishing time during the week. As we move forward in state management, that is always a possibility because we now have the flexibility to set the seasons.”

The 2019 season length is tentatively set for 27 days, starting June 1 with three-day weekends (Friday-Sunday) except opening weekend (two days) and July 4 week, which will be four days (Thursday-Sunday). The size limit and bag limit remain the same at two fish per person with a minimum size of 16 inches total length.

Bannon is planning to ask snapper anglers for assistance to keep Alabama’s unparalleled artificial reef program at the top. The loss of funding for research in those reef zones will prompt him to ask the Conservation Advisory Board to implement a reef fish endorsement beginning in 2020.

“The reef fish endorsement is set up to help fund some of the research conducted in the reef zones, because we’re losing some of the funding used for that research,” he said. “The research needs to continue, and we also need funds to support programs like Snapper Check, which we hope to expand into a better program.

“It’s designed as a user-based system that applies to the people who are participating in that fishery, including private recreational, charter for-hire and commercial fishermen. Another aspect of it is it defines the user group. It gives us a better idea, especially among private anglers, of how many people are fishing for reef fish off Alabama. That way we can have better directed surveys, which are targeted at people who participate in the fishery instead of just people who have saltwater fishing licenses.”

The endorsement fees would be $10 for private recreational anglers and $250 for commercial fishermen. The charter for-hire fees would depend on the size of the boat and number of passengers the vessel can carry.

Amendment 50 gives the five Gulf states much more control of their red snapper seasons. Photo by David Rainer

As for Amendment 50, Bannon said Alabama has already shown state management will work. The public is supportive, and he thinks that Secretary Wilbur Ross will quickly approve.

“As I said on the radio the other day, Alabama has 3% of the Gulf coastline and will receive 26.298% of the total allowable catch for the 2020 season and beyond,” Bannon said. “I think Amendment 50 is a success for the fishery, and I think it’s a success for the states because the states can now manage the seasons, size limits and bag limits that best suit their anglers.

FISHING CALENDAR
May 10-12
Stuart Sailfish Club's 2nd Annual KDW Fishing Tournament

Up to $10,000 in prizes;  www.stuartsailfishclub.com.

May 16-19
Emerald Coast Open Lionfish Tournament

Destin, Florida, cash prizes for most lionfish brought in; www.emeraldcoastopen.com

May 23-24
2019 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops

May 25
CCA Florida STAR Tournament

With $500,000 in prizes and college scholarships gets underway statewide; https://ccaflstar.com

June 3-9
Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic

Golden Nugget Casino and Hotel, Biloxi, MS; mgcbc.com

June 19-23
Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Miramar Beach, FL; fishecbc.com

July 9-14
Blue Marlin Grand Championship

The Wharf, Orange Beach, AL; bluemarlingrandchampionship.com

 
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