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  • Wednesday, January 27, 2016 3:41 PM | John Durkee (Administrator)

    Snook reopens in Atlantic state waters

    The recreational harvest season for snook reopens on Feb. 1 in Florida’s Atlantic coastal and inland waters (from the Miami-Dade/Monroe county line north), including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River. The season will remain open through May 31.

    In the Atlantic, anglers may keep one snook per day that is not less than 28 or more than 32 inches total length, which is measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed while the fish is lying on its side. A snook permit is required to keep snook, along with a saltwater fishing license, unless the angler is exempt from the license requirements. Only hook-and-line gear is allowed when targeting or harvesting snook.

    It is illegal to buy or sell snook.

    Snook are one of the many reasons Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World. As a result, the FWC encourages anglers to use moderation when determining whether or not to take a snook home, even during the open season.

    Researchers ask anglers who harvest the fish to save their filleted carcasses and provide them to the FWC by dropping them off at a participating bait and tackle store. This program allows anglers to participate in the collection of data such as the size, age, maturity and sex of Florida's premier inshore game fish, snook. For a county-by-county list, go to MyFWC.com/Research and click on “Saltwater,” “Snook,” and “Snook Anglers Asked to Help with Research.”

    The harvest of snook in all of Florida’s Gulf of Mexico state waters, including Everglades National Park and all of Monroe County, remains closed until March 1. Snook harvested from the open waters of the Atlantic may not be transported through closed water or landed in the closed area. Anglers may catch and release snook during the closed season, but the FWC encourages anglers to handle and release these fish carefully to help ensure their survival upon release. Proper handling methods can help ensure the species’ abundance for anglers today and generations to come. To learn more about fish handling, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Fish Handling.”

    For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snook.”


  • Wednesday, January 13, 2016 8:41 AM | John Durkee (Administrator)

    The Guest Speaker for the Feb (north) Meeting of the FSFA will be Jim Folks and his subject Bass Fishing in Florida.    He is also coordinating the Strike Zone Bass Trail event.

    Here are the details: Bass tournament styled for everyday Joe 

    There are very few bass tournament circuits suited for the everyday Joe Fisherman who doesn’t have the money for a bass boat, pricey entry fees and overnight travel.

    But there is one in Brevard County — the Strike Zone Bass Trail.

    You can’t go wrong with this local team series, now in its fourth year, because it offers a 100-percent cash payback — meaning that all entry fees go into the prize purse — and each tournament is limited to 40 boats, which increases the chances of being among the winners. And because it’s a two-angler team event, you fish with the partner of your choice.

    Jim Folks is the tournament coordinator for the sponsor, Strike Zone Fishing in West Melbourne.

    “This has become a real popular local trail, especially for those with smaller boats where we fish four tournaments on local lakes always on Saturdays,” Folks explained. “Everyone likes the idea of all the money coming back to the winners. It’s our way of thanking our customers for their patronage.”

    Unlike the big-money professional tournaments where the craft are highend bass boats, many of the anglers use jon boats and Gheenoes. The only requirement is that anglers use an onboard aerated live well for keeping their bass alive. All the fish are released following the weigh-in.

    The trail requires a $100 per team membership, and that money is put into an account and paid out in full when the championship is held in May. Kyle Walters and his 14-year-old son, Andrew, from Grant-Valkaria won last year’s championship, taking home more than $2,000.

    For each of the first three tournaments, teams also pay a $50 entry fee, with that purse going to the top three teams and the team with the heaviest bass. There’s also an optional $25 Calcutta for the winning team as an added bonus.

    Entry fees must be paid for each tournament no later than the Wednesday before the tournament when a pre-tournament meeting is held at Strike Zone. Starting positions also are drawn at the meeting.

    This year’s schedule begins Feb. 6 at the Miami Garcia Impoundment west of Fellsmere, followed by a Feb. 27 tournament at West Lake Toho, with launching at the City of Kissimmee ramp.

    Lake Poinsett on the St. Johns River west of Cocoa will be the third site on April 2, followed by the championship on Lake Washington west of Melbourne on May 7.

    To qualify for the no-entry championship, teams must enter all three of the qualifying events.

    The team memberships are being accepted at Strike Zone at 2771 West New Haven Ave., and the field will fill quickly, Folks said.

    “We always get our 40 teams,” Folks said last week. “Right now, we’ve got about 25 teams registered.”

    For more information, call Folks at Strike Zone at 321-956-3474.


  • Tuesday, December 22, 2015 10:58 AM | Eric Griggs (Administrator)

    Please join us in celebrating the life of a great man.
    Services and Viewings for my beloved grandfather are as fallows.
    please "Share" if your (not tagged) fami...ly or friends.

    VISITATION/VIEWING..WED 12/23 6-8PM..
    Wylie Baxley Merritt Island

    FUNERAL MASS THUR 12/24 10:30AM..
    Our Saviors Catholic Church, Cocoa Beach.
    Burial to fallow at Florida Memorial, Frontenac .

    In lieu of flowers we ask that you make a donation to http://www.anglersforconservation.org/donations-memberships/
    or any other charitable organization.

    Beth Myers Gorichky, Michael P Gorichky, Tammy Duggan Gorichky, Alex Gorichky Jr., Colleen Henderson-Gorichky, Lisa Gorichky, Robin Kruse Gorichky, Jennifer Hill, Ty Hill, Karrson Hill, Cathy Hill, Mary Duggan Osteen, Jennifer Myers Ward, Tom Myers

  • Monday, December 14, 2015 10:49 AM | John Durkee (Administrator)

    Snook Symposium Jan. 13; sign up today

    Interested in snook research and management? Attend the 2016 Snook Symposium Jan. 13 in Orlando. Register online and learn more at MyFWC.com/Snook2016.

    The day-long discussion is open to the public and will focus on snook management and research in Florida, including the results of the soon-to-be released 2015 stock assessment, population recovery following the 2010 cold kill, and opportunities for improving snook management.

    The symposium will be held at the Caribe Royale, 8101 World Center Drive in Orlando.

    Email Marine@MyFWC.com or call 850-487-0554 for questions.

  • Thursday, December 10, 2015 7:29 PM | John Durkee (Administrator)

    Snook harvest seasonal closure in Atlantic starts Dec. 15

    The recreational harvest season for snook closes Dec. 15 in Atlantic state and federal waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, and will remain closed through Jan. 31, 2016, reopening to harvest Feb. 1. Snook can be caught and released during the closed season.

    Gulf state and federal waters, including Monroe County and Everglades National Park, closed Dec. 1 and will reopen to harvest March 1, 2016.

    This and other regular season closures are designed to help protect the species during vulnerable times such as cold weather.

    For more information on snookvisit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing” and “Recreational Regulations.”

    Interested in snook research and management? Attend the 2016 Snook Symposium Jan. 13 in Orlando. Learn more about how to register at MyFWC.com/Snook2016.

    Keep up-to-date on Snook Symposium news and changes by signing up for email updates at MyFWC.com/News and clicking on “Get FWC News Automatically.”

  • Saturday, October 03, 2015 2:34 PM | Eric Griggs (Administrator)

    The FSFA and Strike Zone Fishing in Melbourne are organizing a relief effort for our friend in the South East Bahamas who have been devastated by the recent storm. Communications are still spotty and we are trying to determine the greatest need.

    What we need, to get started, is a box truck, for about a week, that we can stage the items in and then drive to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami to offload the goods for transport to the Bahamas.

    If you have a truck available or you want to donate items (water, clothes, soap, flashlights, batteries, etc.), please email the FSFA at fsfa@cfl.rr.com.

    We need to get this going quickly.

  • Thursday, September 10, 2015 1:39 PM | Eric Griggs (Administrator)

    Fishing/Beach Access Rules for Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) & Kennedy Space Center (KSC) http://centerops.ksc.nasa.gov/resource/fish.htm

    View KSC Fishing Spots

    1. Adhere to all federal and state fishing regulations, including those pertaining to size, season, limits, licensing, and fishing equipment
    2. Protect endangered species, don’t disturb turtles, turtle nests (nesting season is May through October), nest markers, numbered wooden stakes, predator screens, light shield, driftwood raceways, or sea turtle skeletal remains, do not feed the wildlife
    3. Protect the delicate ecological environment, do not pick up or remove plants, animals, or historical artifacts
    4. Fish only during daylight hours (daylight hours begin a 1/2 hour after sunrise and end a 1 hour before sunset)
    5. Remove your own trash
    6. Do not clean fish on CCAFS or KSC property
    7. You are limited to two fishing poles per fisherman
    8. Fish at your own risk, alligators, snakes and wild boars inhabit both CCAFS and KSC, so be careful
    9. Do not swim or surf on CCAFS beaches
    10. Firearms, explosives, and alcoholic beverages are prohibited
    11. Badged personnel must escort non-badged guests
    12. No cooking or fires
    13. Fishing is prohibited:

      1. When islands are closed to entry due to bird nesting (will be posted)
      2. Standing on or anchoring to any portion of the Banana River Bridge
      3. On the north side of NASA Causeway
      4. From any CCAFS Banana River Bank
      5. For commercial purposes for any species, including crabs
      6. When posted as closed due to space operations on either CCAFS or KSC for safety reasons
    1. Vehicle and Boat Restrictions:

     .        Only non-motorized boats are allowed, launch boats only from the designated area on the NASA Causeway and from behind Hangar AF

      1. Boats are restricted to the main body of the Banana River on the south side of NASA Causeway and are not allowed into any inland water entrances along the west side of the Banana River, stay out of areas marked “restricted”, “no entry” or hazardous operational areas
      2. Fishing is allowed in the west body of the Banana River from the South side of the NASA Causeway to the Ship Channel markers, you are not allowed into any island water entrances along the West bank. Crossing the Ship Channel from West to East is prohibited
      3. Park vehicles in designated areas only on the NASA Causeway. Park only on the South side, at least 25 feet off the roadway
      4. Trailers for boats launched at Hangar AF must be parked in the lot south of Bldg #60740 near the picnic pavilion
    1. Authorized fishing/beach areas:

     .        Authorized fishing/beach areas: Fishing and beach walking are limited to 1/4 mile either side of the applicable Dune Crossover

      1. Camera Road A Dune Crossover: Located 1/2 mile south of Cape Canaveral Lighthouse - do not park vehicles to block the dune crossover
      2. Camera Road B Dune Crossover: Located 1/10 mile north of Cape Canaveral Lighthouse - do not park vehicles to block the dune crossover
      3. Complex 34 Dune Crossover: Located approximately 9 miles north of the south Gate just off Phillips Parkway, the beach access is located northeast of the blockhouse and the pad - do not park vehicles to block the dune crossover
      4. Navy Port Area: Fishing is authorized at the Trident and Poseidon Wharfs only, fishing is controlled by the Commanding Officer, NOTU. Fishing “Open” or “Closed” signs will be posted at the port entrance - personnel violating this restriction will lose their privileges for a minimum of one year
      5. NASA Causeway pole fishing from the bank is authorized on the south side shoreline of the Banana River in the areas posted for fishing
    1. Fishing permits issuance/authorized times:

     .        If going thru CCAFS’s Pass and ID Office on NASA Causeway thru Gate 1, Fishermen may bring up to seven guests (4adults and 3 children) and obtain a permit from the Pass and ID Office during on-duty hours, register their guest(s) and receive a one day Fishing Pass for each guest, this pass allows access to-and-from the fishing areas only (by the most direct route) and is not valid anywhere else. CCAFS’s Pass and ID Office hours are 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday, except federal holidays.

      1. If going thru KSC’s Badging Station located on SR 405 Gate 3, Fishermen may bring up to seven guests and obtain a permit from the Badging Station duty hours, register their guest(s) and receive a one day Fishing Pass for each guest, this pass allows access to-and-from the fishing areas only (by the most direct route) and is not valid anywhere else. KSC’s Badging Station hours are 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday thru Friday, except federal holidays. When KSC Badging Station is closed Fishing Passes are issued at the perimeter gates.
      2. Fishing on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge/KSC and particularly in the No-Motor Zone requires fishermen to possess a valid Refuge Sport Fishing Permit which can be obtained at the refuge Visitor Center or on the Web at http://www.fws.gov/merrittisland/. Or see the U.S. Fish and Wildlife "Fishing Regulations."
    1. Violators of these rules will lose their fishing privileges

     See map in Photos Section

  • Sunday, August 30, 2015 4:26 PM | John Durkee (Administrator)

    This story, written by Ted Lund, appeared in Florida Today, August 30, 2015

    Since learning that NASA intended to pull funding for two oceanic data buoys operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration east of Port Canaveral next spring, Melbourne-based oceanographer Mitchell Roffer has been seeking out possible ways to keep the weather stations afloat and operating.

    In addition to operating his ocean forecasting service for recreational and commercial fishermen, shipping lines and oil exploration companies, Roffer is a member of SECOORA, the South East Coastal Ocean Observing Association. The group provides technical advice and observations to informed decision makers and the public from North Carolina to the west coast of Florida.

    “NASA originally funded the buoys to aid in the recovery of items for the shuttle program,” Roffer says. “But since then, boaters, fishermen and even cruise and cargo ships have come to depend on them for real-time wave and wind data that can’t be accurately predicted by models.”

    And anglers with smaller boats depend on the buoys for safety.

    “For many with small boats in Central Florida (including the greater Orlando area), checking the current data provided by the buoy is the “go-don’t go” decision, says John Durkee with the Florida Sport Fishing Association. “It’s not about if fish are biting, it’s all about safety. There is no other single source that provides real time data of the sea conditions.”

    The two buoys in question are formally known as Station 41009 and Station 41010, and are 20 miles and 120 miles, respectively, east of Port Canaveral. They provide a wide range of real-time data, including wind direction, speed, gusts, wave height, dominant wave period and the average period between waves and their prevailing direction. Other data recorded and broadcast includes atmospheric pressure and tendency, air and water temperature and dew point.

    “This is all critical information that recreational and commercial interests need to plan safe passage in and out of Port Canaveral as well as traversing the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas and back,” Roffer says. “Without them, it would be like fishing or boating blind — never knowing what types of conditions exist and would really be putting people in harm’s way unnecessarily.“

    Since learning of NASA’s defunding and NOAA’s intent to take the stations offline, Roffer has been exploring a number of options to try to keep the weather buoys operational, including replacing them with public and private sources. He estimates the annual operating cost of the two stations would be about $120,000 per year.

    Roffer reached out to Canaveral Port Authority Executive Director John Walsh, who responded Tuesday via an email obtained by FLORIDA TODAY that: “Weather is not the ports (sic) responsibility. Staff is not recommending Port Canaveral take this on as our issue.”

    Port Commissioners disagreed with Walsh, however, during their monthly public meeting Wednesday after Roffer made an impassioned plea during the public comment period. Commissioners passed a motion to draft a letter to NOAA asking for continued funding for both buoys.

    “This is a very positive gesture that the commissioners appreciate the critical health and safety nature of having the NOAA buoys in operation,” Roffer says.

    Throughout the search, Roffer may have found another possible partner in keeping the buoys alive in District 2 Brevard County Commissioner Jim Barfield, who believes that the county and possibly state might make sense as partners to keep the buoys afloat.

    “This is a safety issue not only for Brevard County residents, but the thousands of Central Floridians that use Port Canaveral to access the Atlantic Ocean for a variety of waterborne activities,” says Barfield, whose district encompasses Port Canaveral.

    Barfield has set up a meeting with Roffer to discuss possible options for partially or fully funding the stations next week, saying, “I believe this should be a priority and I think that it is something that our governor would support.”

  • Thursday, August 27, 2015 7:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Comparison of the 2014 and 2015 Season

    Marine Anglers,

    The spring and early summer dolphin fishery along the U.S. Atlantic coast is normally erratic in the abundance of fish off any given port. Movement patterns in 2015 were even more erratic than usual. In the Florida Keys it seemed that there were very few dolphin present between the periodic large surges of school dolphin coming through. Normally charter boats can make decent catches between the periods of high abundance. Boats off the Outer Banks of North Carolina also reported these periods of extremely low abundance. But no one else saw as big a change as South Carolina recreational anglers. A majority of the anglers whom I have spoken with  believe this is one of the worst dolphin seasons they have experienced in recent times. But is it really that bad and, if so, what is the underlying problem that caused it?

    This issue of the newsletter reports on the results of the recreational fishery study conducted by the DRP at one specific marina in Charleston, South Carolina. Information from this study showed that the fishing may not have been as bad as believed by the anglers, at least during the month of May. Information from the tagging activity in the Florida Keys is combined with the commercial longline fishery landings data to explore what may have happened with dolphin off South Carolina in 2015.

    Good fishing,

    Don 

    July 2015 Newsletter

  • Sunday, August 09, 2015 6:32 AM | John Durkee (Administrator)

    Reef building begins off Brevard coast

    Ted Lund For FLORIDA TODAY4:17 p.m. EDT August 8, 2015

    reef4

    (Photo: tedlund.com)

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    Friday’s deployment of more than 72 tons of man-made artificial reef modules off the Space Coast was the culmination of more than a year’s worth of work between several fishing-related nonprofits and Brevard County.

    Although the Florida Sport Fishing Association has had an active reef building program in cooperation with the Canaveral Port Authority for the past decade, Friday’s efforts marked the first time since 1986 that Brevard County government has been actively involved in reef building.

    “We’ve had a great partner in creating artificial reefs in the Canaveral Port Authority,” says FSFA Artificial Reef Director Scott Chandler. “We’ve worked with them to help create some of the most productive artificial sites along the East Coast, including the popular culverts, located 17 miles northeast of Port Canaveral.”

    But while the club’s efforts are ongoing with the CPA, Chandler wanted to see Brevard County develop a robust reef-building program of its own. The FSFA found a willing partner in Brevard’s Boating and Waterways Coordinator, Matt Culver.

    “We started working with the county just after the 2004 hurricane season,” Chandler says. “The FSFA was involved in a number of cleanup projects for derelict vessels overseen by Brevard County.”

    Several of the derelict vessels, including concrete- and metal-hulled vessels, were ideal for reef use. But first, they had to be decontaminated to make sure they didn’t pose a threat to marine life or the environment.

    “We’re always on the lookout for approved materials, and sometimes they can be really hard to find,” Chandler says. “But we were able to get these ready and deploy them on the culvert site. Now I see more people fishing there than fish the natural bottom along the 27-fathom ridge.”

    Brevard’s Culver sees benefits of the project not just for fish, but also for anglers and scuba divers.

    “The areas that we are building these artificial habitats are just flat, sandy plains,” Culver says. “We’re creating habitat for baitfish, which will, in turn, attract predators. By doing so, we’ll help create more opportunities for fishermen and divers. And that translates into more gear, more gas, more boats and more business.”

    In addition to Spanish sardines, thread herring and blue runners, club officials hope the new reef will attract red and mangrove snapper, as well as gag grouper. Pelagic species like king mackerel, wahoo, dolphin and blackfin tuna could also find themselves in the mix.

    But Friday’s deployment, which took place a little more than 15 miles east of Canaveral just inside Pelican Flats in about 75 feet of water, was the result of a long, labor-intensive — and expensive — process.

    The Brevard Reef area — covering 4.4-square miles and nearly 3,000 acres — needed to be resurveyed and repermitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before any additional materials could be added. In hopes of helping the county develop an ongoing reef program, the FSFA and several other groups stepped in to fund the $15,000 survey and start the permitting process three years ago. The FSFA and Central Florida Offshore Anglers each contributed $5,000; the remaining $5,000 came from the Brevard County Tourism Development Council with the goal of boosting recreational fishing and diving opportunities.

    Once the survey and permitting was complete, it came time to seek grant money for materials. Culver oversaw that process through his office and the result was a $60,000 reimbursement grant awarded by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, using funds provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    But the fundraising didn’t stop there.

    “Generally, with any of these projects, we like to have about 10 percent of the total on hand in matching funds,” Chandler says. “So FSFA, CFOA and the Coastal Conservation Association each contributed $2,000 toward the final deployment.”

    Now they had the money, but no material.

    “As I mentioned, we’re always on the lookout for appropriate materials,” Chandler says. “But this time we didn’t have any, so we started investigating purchasing some of these man-made modules.”

    After soliciting bids, the group settled on Fort Pierce-based McCulley Marine. The $60,000-price tag included 24 of the hollow, triangular structures fabricated from marine-grade concrete. Each module has a 10-square-foot footprint, and several holes on the sides and top to allow fish, sea turtles and other sea creatures to enter and exit at will. A wire boom set the 8-foot-tall, 6,000-pound structures on the bottom in a grid pattern with a 20-foot interval. The location of each structure was captured by a remotely triggered GPS upon release. The total area of the reef will be about 7,700 square feet.

    “McCulley was able to provide the modules, transportation and deployment for that amount,” Chandler says. “We were supposed to go last Wednesday, but the barge was coming back from another country and got held up in customs. So we had to move it to Friday.”

    The Brevard Reef site is up for resurvey in two years, but Chandler doesn’t think it will take that long to see an impact.

    “We had divers in the water within three hours of our last deployment at the culverts, and they were already seeing fish starting to move in,” Chandler says. “They should be able to start producing regularly within six months or so. We’re in the process of working out an arrangement with a local university to monitor the sites in addition to our own divers. We should have a pretty good idea of how things are going.”

    Chandler said the goal is to continue working with the CPA and Brevard County to deploy reefs on a regular basis.

    “If we can find the money, we’d like to do it every year,” says Chandler, “and just help the fishing and diving get better and better.”

    To learn more about the FSFA and its innovative artificial reef and education programs, visit www.fsfaclub.org.

    Ted Lund is a freelance writer born and raised on Florida’s Space Coast. He operates the outdoor blog tedlund.com. If you have a story you’d like covered, email him at ted@tedlund.com.

    New Brevard Reef coordinates

    Specific coordinates for the eight different clusters of reef modules will be made available to members of the FSFA at fsfaclub.org and members of the CFOA at mycfoa.com. The starting point for the new Brevard/FSFA/CFOA artificial reef is:

    28 24 .0852 N

    80 18 .4604 W

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The "Florida Sport Fishing Association" is a 501(c)7 non-profit organization. PO Box 1216 Cape Canaveral, FL 32920

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