- The bait shop is open, but only eight customers are allowed at one time. A maximum of 105 people are allowed on the pier and social distancing measures are required. A good number of over slot size.
- (Snook season remains closed on Florida's Gulf Coast, including Monroe County and Everglades National Park.) Slot limit: To be legal to keep, snook must measure 28 to 32 inches in total length.
Minimum Size Limits:.Atlantic and Gulf - 12' (see below) Daily Recreational Bag Limit:.Atlantic and Gulf - 10 per harvester under 30', included within snapper aggregate bag limit.May additionally harvest up to 2 over 30' per harvester or vessel, whichever is less, and these 2 fish over 30' are not included within snapper aggregate bag limit.
REDFISH (RED DRUM)
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Slot limit of not less than 18' or more than 27'; no closed season; one fish per person per daylimit
This is one of the top recreational saltwater gamefish in the state. Redfish spawn from Augustto November in the offshore waters near passes and inlets. September is usually the peakmonth. Those that survive the open water larval fish stage, move into the estuaries asjuveniles where they will live for several years. Anglers sometimes encounter large schools ofthese young fish, often called rat reds. The schools do migrate although scientists believe thatthey do not move over great distances.
Snook Slot Limit Florida
At one time the fish was in danger of being overharvested because of commercial activity. It's strong recovery led to the recent change that eliminated the closed season for this species.
Snook Size Florida
The redfish's recovery from the brink of being wiped out is a direct result of its designation asa 'restricted species' in 1989. This ended the commercial harvesting of the fish, a move thatultimately saved the species being wiped out by highly efficient offshore commercial netters. With the change of the redfish's status to a non-commercial species, stocks have been able torecover and the fish is now abundant in many parts of the state. Redfish are now commonthroughout the coastal waters and nearshore areas of the state. A stocking program in BiscayneBay has also brought redfish back to this lower southeast coast are for the first time in nearly30 years.
Tackle and Techniques
Anglers have a wide option when it comes to the tackle needed to catch redfish. When fishingthe open waters of the flats try an ultra-light rod and 2 pound test line. It will definitely testyour skill. A more conventional combination is a 6-7' rod with 12 to 15 pound test line with a40 pound test leader. It will work on the flats, along mangrove shorelines, and in the deeperwaters. In a corresponding fashion, fly fishers can use an 8 or 9 weight rig and make thefishing interesting by varying the tippets from 2 to 12 pound test.
Snook In Florida
Normally redfish move onto the flats to feed when the water temperature rises above 70degrees. They will tolerate much higher temperatures but tend to remain there for less time asthe water temperature approaches the upper 80s.
Tidal stage also has a strong influence on when redfish move onto the flats. The best time isduring the first half of the flooding or ebbing tide. The fish's advantage over the angler at thistime is water depth. You either need a very shallow draft boat which can be poled or run witha trolling motor or must wade onto the flat to get to the fish. Many anglers prefer to wadebecause redfish can see and hear boats. An angler walking through the water is much lessobvious to a redfish.
When water temperature drops below 70 degrees, redfish abandon the flats and head for theslightly deeper and warmer waters of channels near the flats. The fish still get hungry so workthe drop-offs until you find the fish.
Redfish grow fast. In one year most are a foot long. To grow that much redfish must do a lotof eating and most of it comes from what they pick up off the bottom. Stomach analysesreveal that their natural diet consists of small crabs and shrimp. This explains why shrimp isone of the most widely used baits.
Crustaceans may be what you find in the fish's stomachs but anglers know that with avoracious appetite, redfish will take a variety of other offerings. Small live baitfish, just aboutany jig, gold and silver spoons, and even topwater plugs are potential meals if they arepresented correctly. Of these, the topwater plug is an interesting bait to use when fishing theflats because the fish must come to the surface and rollover to get its mouth in position tostrike the bait.
Secrets to Success
* Redfish are very aware of what's going on above the surface of the water when they are onthe flats. They can see and hear anglers, especially when they are in boats. This is whywading for them often results in more hook-ups than staying on the boat. Be quiet and keep alow profile.
* Sightfishing for redfish is one of the most exciting types of fishing for saltwater anglers. The principle of the technique is not to cast until you see the fish. You can locate them on theflats by looking for the fish's tail which breaks the surface when they stick their nose in themud to feed (what anglers call tailing redfish) or when you can see the hump of water theypush in front of them as the cruise across the flats.
When you find tailing fish wait for them finish eating and begin to move. As they swim awaycast your bait ahead and past the fish. The idea is to have your bait intersect the fish's path andhopefully catch it's attention. When their nose is in the mud, the fish often cannot see yourbait.
Redfish associate with stingrays. And stingrays, when they feed, stir up the bottom and createwhat anglers call a 'mud.' This highly visible sign should be an automatic signal to casttowards the muddy area. Redfish frequently hang around the rays looking for food that isstirred up by the rays.
Redfish don't move around too much. If you find fish on a flat or in a channel, it's a good ideato go back to the same spot the next day. Chances are good that the fish will be there again.