I agree 100%. 90% of the Gags I catch are from November to April when they are in close. Also, in the 2011 to 2012 winter season I caught more and bigger gags than ever before, so I question the scientists findings anyhow. Hurt to release all those fish. I find it unacceptable that FFWCC has changed the rule for 4 counties in the panhandle because their situation is much like ours, where most of the gag fishing occurs when they move inshore for the colder months. Shouldn't we get the same option? I for one would accept fewer months if we could fish the better months. Since we have to run futher offshore in the summer no matter what, it would be OK to just focus on Red Grouper then. Also, larrywitt, I disagree that red grouper recovered due to fishing closures. If I remember correctly, they closed all fishing, then a year later opened them, then a year later upped the keeper limit to 4. How does a species that takes quite a few years to reach breeding size recover so fast? Or was the closure not based on fact. I believe the relatively close to shore (within 30 miles) grouper fishery was impacted by a major red tide years ago, and it took several years before things got back to normal. I am all for regulations to keep our fishery healthy, but want them to be based on legitimate need and good science. Maybe we all need to become more vocal.
Wasn't there a removal/ban on "fish traps" used for red grouper a few years ago?? That would have helped as well.