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What is the fine for keeping a gut-hooked undersize redfish?

Drift TideDrift Tide Posts: 189 Deckhand
I caught a 16" redfish that was badly gut-hooked, but threw it back for fear of being fined if kept. Felt bad about consigning the fish to a slow terrible death instead of ending the ordeal quickly by throwing it on ice and keeping it. So now I am wondering two questions:
1) What is the fine, and
2) Does the officer have discretion to give a warning in light of the circumstances, or is it mandatory fine for under size?
I would appreciate that only officers or those that have been fined would respond. Not interested in conjecture, just the facts.
Thank you.


  • fish_stixfish_stix Posts: 1,395 Officer
    Not looked on favorably! Release the fish and hope it lives. If it doesn't.....crabs have to eat too!
  • FlashFlash Posts: 12,380 AG
    fish_stix wrote: »
    Not looked on favorably! Release the fish and hope it lives. If it doesn't.....crabs have to eat too!


    Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
  • nightflynightfly Posts: 506 Officer
    If they would let that slide every scumbag that caught a too little,too big, or out of season fish,they would shove a hook down its throat and say it was gut hooked. So they can't allow stuff like that or it would open a can of worms. Just release it and hope for the best
  • Roc N RolRoc N Rol Posts: 1,352 Officer
    the fine could be 250 to 500 dollars also possibility of losing your fishing license and privileges along with your boat tackle and truck
  • GroundsPounderGroundsPounder Posts: 51 Deckhand
    1) The fine depends on the county. Some have payable fines (usually well above $200). Others have mandatory court appearances. And the violation is also a 2nd misdemeanor.

    2) Officers have discretion, but a 16" Redfish (gut hooked or not) is probably not going to get a warning.

    For a first offense; FSS 379.401(2)(b)1. A person who commits a Level Two violation but who has not been convicted of a Level Two or higher violation within the past 3 years commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

    Further violations may result in your gear being seized and/or your fishing privileges suspended (not just in FL either, but in other states that are part of the violator compact).
  • Westwall01Westwall01 Posts: 5,452 Admiral
    Drift Tide,
    There is no specific fine amount associated with this offense. It is considered a misdemeanor crime and you would be putting yourself in a position for a Notice to Appear or an actual physical arrest for Failing to Release undersize Food fish. The crime can get you up to $500.00 in fines plus community service, court fees, cost of prosecution fees, probation and even the possibility of county jail time. While I have seen all the above handed down to a defendant, the usual in my area seems to be $200-$300 in fines, court and prosecution fees, 10-20 hrs community service.
  • Drift TideDrift Tide Posts: 189 Deckhand
    GroundsPounder & Westall01, thank you so much for the detailed response, that is exactly the information I was looking for.
  • Fish HaidFish Haid Posts: 8,417 Admiral
    Why do you think the fish was going to die?
  • FWCSnookFWCSnook Posts: 886 Officer
    Its got a better chance in the water than in your cooler.
  • reel stamasreel stamas Posts: 6,153 Admiral
    I was stopped w/a 19.9" (gut hooked) Red Grouper several years ago & got a 'written warning'. I no longer keep anything that's not at least 1/8" over & I bought a 90* Fish Ruler (like the ones FWC uses) where you/they push the fish's (closed) mouth up against the end w/1 hand & squeeze the tail w/the other... I don't need the aggravation...
    There should be NO Commercial Fishing for any fish species considered 'Over-fished' , 'Undergoing Overfishing' or Subject to Recreational Seasons, Limits, or Closures... Game Fish Status IS the Answer !!!
  • SJCSJC Posts: 2,572 Captain
    Roc N Rol wrote: »
    possibility of losing your boat and truck

    The Beatings will continue until moral improves!
  • GroundsPounderGroundsPounder Posts: 51 Deckhand
    Roc N Rol wrote: »
    possibility of losing your fishing license and privileges along with your boat tackle and truck

    While not likely, it is possible according to the law.


    (a) Property used in connection with a violation resulting in a conviction for the illegal taking, or attempted taking, sale, possession, or transportation of saltwater products is subject to seizure and forfeiture as part of the commission’s efforts to protect the state’s marine life. Saltwater products and seines, nets, boats, motors, other fishing devices or equipment, and vehicles or other means of transportation used or attempted to be used in connection with, as an instrumentality of, or in aiding and abetting such illegal taking or attempted taking are hereby declared to be nuisances.
  • Roc N RolRoc N Rol Posts: 1,352 Officer
    Thanks GroundsPounder, that is why I said possibility. It is just not worth even the fine to me to keep anything not legal. Fish is way cheaper at the fish market than any fine and time spent in court if I feel I have to have a fish dinner
  • Roc N RolRoc N Rol Posts: 1,352 Officer
    there is no reason to keep a gut hook fish or throw a gut hooked fish back with a hook in its gut get a ARC dehooker and remove any hook from a gut hooked fish in seconds. it is better for the fish and it will also save you hooks and time fighting with the fish trying two get that hook out easy peasy it's a no brainer
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