New barracuda slot limits

Anyone have any thoughts on the FWC's brand new 15- to 36-inch slot with one fish over 36 inches per vessel per day. It only affects anglers in south Florida, basically Collier county south and Martin County south.
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  • AOKRVsAOKRVs Posts: 1,977 Captain
    and the nearly closure of hogfish - you can catch them when they are not there
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  • aboveboredabovebored Posts: 1,275 Officer
    mikenav wrote: »
    Anyone have any thoughts on the FWC's brand new 15- to 36-inch slot with one fish over 36 inches per vessel per day. It only affects anglers in south Florida, basically Collier county south and Martin County south.

    Just in time to save all the 14 inch cudas
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,188 AG
    For those that have kept cudas, what do you do with them?

    I ate a small one many years ago and it was good as I recall. And, I've heard that they make good bottom bait as well as shark chum......
  • gatorhookgatorhook Posts: 655 Officer
    "If the cat don't eat, you don't eat."
    An islander told me this once, but I wouldn't eat one over 2' anyways. When they get larger than that, they stink worse than a pole cat but make good bait.
    But for the record, the FWC has this all wrong, there is no shortage of these predators and it's is ignorant they would try to populate them.
  • INTREPID377INTREPID377 Posts: 3,737 Captain
    gatorhook wrote: »
    But for the record, the FWC has this all wrong, there is no shortage of these predators and it's is ignorant they would try to populate them.

    For the record, I disagree. I don't know what they're doing with them, but commercial landings in the Keys have increased close to 6 times in the last couple of years. Anecdotally, we aren't catching near as many 'cudas offshore and we don't see the big "resident" cudas on many of the reefs we dive.

    So, while I'd rather not have a cuda cut my $45 Polu Kai lures in half, it does seem like there are fewer of them and that's probably not a good thing.
  • pinfisherpinfisher Posts: 317 Deckhand
    No doubt they have been decimated in the last few years. Nearly impossible to YT in the past for huge cuda's that lay under the boat and only eat 20+ inch YTs. Most days now all we have to worry about are sharks
  • Ilive2fishIlive2fish Posts: 274 Deckhand
    I agree, there are way fewer cudas around the Key Largo area....many people do catch and eat them (I used to in my youth but came to the conclusion it was not worth the gamble of catching ciguatera, and by the way, there are NO certifiable ways to tell if a fish does have the toxin in them) but there are many charter captains that use them for chum hanging over the side of their boats...never did agree with that practice....
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,359 Captain
    Item number one - any 'cuda under five pounds is perfectly safe to eat (it's only the bigger ones with diet of reef fish that are a gamble - not worth taking....). I've eaten my share of the smaller ones and they're pretty good table fare...

    Item number two - there were so many 'cudas around when I first came to Florida that they were a nuisance (early seventies) and any pier angler had stories of big ones eating anything you hooked if they could get to it before an angler could get it out of the water. In that era any angler that wanted to take the trouble could hook up and fight a 'cuda over 30lbs off of almost any fishing pier on lures or bait - and those same big fish were great sport up on the bonefish flats in winter after cold water had chased away all the bonefish... We routinely used to catch small to medium sized 'cudas for cut bait (and fresh 'cuda inshore or down on the reef was as good as fresh bonita.... -and a lot easier to come by... some days). Back then if you did a lot of bonefishing up on the flats small ones were a serious nuisance (we called them sabre-toothed bonefish...). That's changed over time.

    Fast forward to thirty years ago when pier anglers learned that they could sell 'cudas - and some fish mongers began to buy the smaller ones... I talked to one shop owner back then who said that "silver snapper" were becoming a serious item for his shoppers. In the last thirty years the market (above and underground) just grew and grew. As the commercial demand grew (and many anglers learned that small 'cudas were good to eat (and very catchable -even for beginners) I used to see one small boat or other working shallow rock piles along the edges for 'cudas day after day - all day long... Pretty obvious when someone looks like he's trolling for mackeral in a circle - in places where you know there's only small 'cudas....

    You can pretty much guess the outcome...I'd have supported this move by FWC ten years ago - that's how diminished the 'cuda population is everywhere that I know of - compared to almost forty five years ago.... The moment a dollar value was placed on them the result was just a matter of time. If this new rule is enforced they'll come back in just a few years. One of our problems is that lack of memory down here, with new folks coming to live in our state constantly. Most anglers today have no idea what things were like years ago.... Reasonable conservation measures, though, will work - everywhere they're tried - if enforced, so we can turn things around for almost any specie if we choose....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • NorthernNorthern Posts: 875 Officer
    That was a great summary of the history and current situation Mr. LeMay. Thanks

    I'm old enough to remember everything that you described.
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 10,854 AG
    We spent a week fishing in Key Largo last year in July. The first day fishing we hooked a 4'er that jumped the bow of our boat, it was incredible for guys who had never seen anything like it before.

    But that was the only one we saw other than one I hooked in Pennekamp state park, that one was about 16", fun to catch.
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • PurdygirlPurdygirl Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    well put:Agree
  • keylargo359keylargo359 Posts: 1,249 Officer
    I have been fishing the Keys and south Florida since I was a kid and could not see over the concrete wall on the pier at the old south beach pier on Miami beach. The fish stocks in general are all way down from those days in the early 60's. I have never kept a cuda for bait or table fair but I do know some that do. but in general it's not a large amount of fish or people that take them. If there is a commercial market for them and the commercial guys are taking them. we should shut that down first not limit the public to one fish. it is getting to where I don't even want to go fishing any more.to spend the time and money to go fishing for one hog fish is a joke and the season is also a joke for anglers.who would have to fish for them in sweltering heat and humidity on the patches. I fish for hogs in the winter time when it's cool. us old guys cant take the heat. all that said I can say I have seen huge schools of cudas in the 24" range. I'm not going to say ware just in case. REASONABLE REGULATIONS ARE NEEDED. WE ARE CLEAR CUTTING THE REC. GUYS. AND GALS.



    The old South Beach Pier
    The worst day of fishing is still better than the best day of work:\
  • aboveboredabovebored Posts: 1,275 Officer
    If there is a commercial market for them and the commercial guys are taking them. we should shut that down first

    You would be happy to know that the commercial fishery for barracuda has been shut down too, yet according to FWC's data the recs were responsible for 90% of harvest and comms only 10%.
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 10,854 AG
    abovebored wrote: »
    You would be happy to know that the commercial fishery for barracuda has been shut down too, yet according to FWC's data the recs were responsible for 90% of harvest and comms only 10%.

    You believe that? Not being a smarty pants I am just asking. I've never taken one, I know a guy who took one 20 years ago to hang on his wall, he's been fishing for decades too. Only took one. I saw a guy at Deerfield Beach pier take one back in the early 90s, when they used to hang around the pilings in groups of 4-6.

    Other than that i don't know any person who has taken and kept a cuda. There used to be a 6' one in Boca that lived by Spanish River park, my buddies used to swim with him, i forget his name it was big George or something.
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • aboveboredabovebored Posts: 1,275 Officer
    You believe that?
    Anytime the FWC or NOAA refers to 'recreational catch' data it is highly questionable. However, the 90% / 10% is indeed the official number. Also, barracuda are more popular as a food fish among ethnic people of Caribbean origin, which south Florida has many. So, I suppose its entirely possible the numbers are correct.
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 10,854 AG
    abovebored wrote: »
    Anytime the FWC or NOAA refers to 'recreational catch' data it is highly questionable. However, the 90% / 10% is indeed the official number. Also, barracuda are more popular as a food fish among ethnic people of Caribbean origin, which south Florida has many. So, I suppose its entirely possible the numbers are correct.

    I guess. I don't see what the commercial boats are taking so i have no idea.
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • keylargo359keylargo359 Posts: 1,249 Officer
    I guess. I don't see what the commercial boats are taking so i have no idea.

    This^ Again I fish fairly regular from south Biscayne bay to north of Tavernier Key Both ocean and backside and don't see any one fishing for or harvesting cudas. I see them as By catch on Occasion on a cleaning table. and up until a short time ago I didn't have any idea they where being harvested commercially.Personally I don't see any food value or bate value unless your fishing for sharks. maybe I'll change my mind when they limit me to one reef fish and one other:)
    The worst day of fishing is still better than the best day of work:\
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,962 Moderator
    Northern wrote: »
    That was a great summary of the history and current situation Mr. LeMay. Thanks

    I'm old enough to remember everything that you described.

    Absolutely , I am old enough also. It is , unfortunately , a necessary move.
    "You'll get your weather"
  • pretenderpretender Posts: 148 Deckhand
    abovebored wrote: »
    You would be happy to know that the commercial fishery for barracuda has been shut down too, yet according to FWC's data the recs were responsible for 90% of harvest and comms only 10%.

    Actually the commercial fishery for barracuda is not shut down. It is open
  • aboveboredabovebored Posts: 1,275 Officer
    If you consider selling one fish over 36" a viable commercial fishery, I suppose technically speaking it's "open". However, the commercial fishery for barracuda has been essentially shut down in south Florida.
  • pretenderpretender Posts: 148 Deckhand
    There's is no limit on slot fish though. A lot of markets won't take fish over 15 lbs anyway
  • aboveboredabovebored Posts: 1,275 Officer
    pretender wrote: »
    There's is no limit on slot fish though. A lot of markets won't take fish over 15 lbs anyway
    The new commercial limit is the same as new recreational limit, two fish per person.
  • pretenderpretender Posts: 148 Deckhand
    I didn't see that, on FWC I saw a 20 fish bag limit. where did you see it?
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,188 AG
    I don't ever recall seeing Cudas for sale....... anywhere!

    In the 80s, I fished/boated a lot out of Matheson Hammock in Coral Gables. One day I saw two old guys cleaning fish at the boat ramp there. I wandered over to see what they caught. They were cleaning over a dozen Cudas in the 15" range! They'd take their little boat into Biscayne Bay, catch a bunch of Cudas and be back to the boat ramp well before noon! Happy as two clams!

    I fished a lot with my girlfriend's Dad back then. Imagine my good luck when the tall, busty, blond, 21 y/o babe that I met at the TGI Friday's at The Falls just 'happened' to be the daughter of a retired guy that also had an old, wooden hull, 1968, 40 foot Chris-Craft!! :hail

    We fished a LOT on the old 'Happy Hour' back then and we were so pizzed when one day we found out that Groupers now had a size limit of 12 inches! WHHHAAATTT? :banghead
  • pretenderpretender Posts: 148 Deckhand
    Ya they sell cuda.... and what grouper has a size limit of 12"? You better check that
  • SnaphappySnaphappy Posts: 1,415 Officer
    I think all your cudas moved offshore Jax. We get covered up with them.
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,188 AG
    pretender wrote: »
    and what grouper has a size limit of 12"? You better check that

    I was telling a story from about 1984 when Grouper first had their first size limit......... :hairraiser
  • pretenderpretender Posts: 148 Deckhand
    Oh I got confused, sorry about that. That must have been nice
  • tsaddictiontsaddiction Posts: 88 Greenhorn
    Not the case up in Jacksonville. There will be 20 under your boat at any given time. I dive also. Top to bottom they are everywhere. I don't keep them they can close it. But like everything else one species falls after another.
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 823 Officer
    I also remember the monsters that hung under Sunny Isles Pier in the 60's. They looked like logs. Today I mainly fish the reefs off of Tavernier and Key Largo, and there is no shortage of Cudas willing to eat my Yellowtails. I let them eat till they're full, then I get to keep some. It's true that when diving we don't see the numbers or size that we used to, but that's true with all of the fish. Reasonable bag limits and seasons will continue the resource for our grandkids. I do see people catching and keeping a lot of really juvenile fish (Cudas, Snappers, etc.) and explain to them that they should step up their game as killing all the little ones just eliminates future big ones. Some get it, some don't. It's just the society we live in now.
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