Undersized fish protocol.

bebrownbebrown Posts: 336 Deckhand
Let me start off by saying that I resect the FWC for their work and did not have a problem with being checked.

During this past weekends snapper season i took 4 family members (that rarely fish) out and all we caught were black sea bass, beeliners, and triggers. I measured all fish on the top of my igloo cooler, and tossed back a bunch of 12 3/4" seabass.

Got checked in the inlet and the boarding officer took two out of the box and laid his tape measure over it and said they were short. I asked if I could look at them on my cooler, and showed him that when pinched, they hit the 13 inch line. He said he wanted to take them onto his boat and measure using the board. He threw them over to his partner and took my drivers license, registration and went back to his boat. After 10-12 minutes they motored back over to me and he handed me my license and a warning for undersized black sea bass. He said one was 12 3/4 and the other was 12 7/8ths. (thanks for the warning as he indicated that it would have been a $200+ ticket. I took my warning and away we went.

It got me thinking that if I had received a citation, how could I have fought it without seeing the measurements on his board? I would think that it would be protocol to show the offender their findings. I really think that when I showed him the fish on the cooler he was surprised that they measured out.

I have been fishing my entire life and this is the first warning I have gotten and the officer said to be careful because i am in the system now which is what really bothers me. Not being in the system, but the way he said it.

Replies

  • SpaceCoast SlayerSpaceCoast Slayer Posts: 3,527 Officer
    if he was actually going to ticket you he would have probably shared his findings with you.. i would get something very similar to whatever they measure with and go with that..
  • Roc N RolRoc N Rol Posts: 1,349 Officer
    Get you a better measure device than the top of your cooler, you need to get one that has a 90 degree "L" bend so you can hold the fish's mouth to the L and measure the length accurately, that is how they do it. Just laying the fish on the top of the cooler you can't get the mouth exactly in position on the zero mark. Also don't keep a fish that is right on the legal mark and throw it into the cooler, when the fish cools down it can shrink a little making it short.
  • reel stamasreel stamas Posts: 6,153 Admiral
    Yep- You need an L-measuring bar... I got a similar warning before I got my bar... A cooler top will consistently allow you to convince yourself a fish is ~1/8" - 1/4" longer that it is on an L-bar...
    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 !!!
  • Egreen cobraEgreen cobra Posts: 227 Deckhand
    LOL Do you ask to see the speed on the radar gun, when you get caught speeding?

    As for IF you had gotten a citation. They would either log the fish into evidence, or if there is a court order, they would have a picture of your fish on a board. You would then file for "discovery" and see all of the evidence against you.
  • bebrownbebrown Posts: 336 Deckhand
    I haven't gotten a speeding ticket in 10 years, and the one i did get, I knew that I was speeding so I wasn't contesting it. But thanks for your insight.
  • Hook in WaterHook in Water Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    Yes. I did, I was not shown the speed, and in court I was not guility
  • CDill9CDill9 Posts: 108 Officer
    .
  • Rich MRich M Posts: 1,049 Officer
    These posts are interesting to me.

    FISH SHRINK when put on ice.

    That legal fish you caught becomes "illegal" on ice. So, in order to be legal, you need to keep fish 1/4 inch longer than legal size. If the size limit is 12 inches, then you don't want to keep a 12 inch fish, even though it is legal, you need to keep a 12.25 inch fish cause when it hits the cold, the muscle contracts, gets shorter.

    I have an issue with that. Of course you could always keep them alive in a live well until you get home but shouldn't have to.

    Years ago, we were fishing up north. Striper size was 36 inches to keep one. My ex catches a 35-7/8 inch fish and really flipped out when I tossed it back in. The LEO back at the ramp (yes - the ONLY time I had gotten checked up there) listened to her story and told me it wouldn't have been a big deal, that 1/8 inch wasn't going to make a difference to him.

    Also had a FL park ranger tell me my life jacket (Cheap orange one) was bad and wrote me up a warning - he stuck his pinky into one of the drain holes and tore it. It was fine when I gave it to him.

    Gotta hate the LEOs who try to make an example out of someone who obviously is trying to follow the law and is effected by their scrutinization of your fish to 1/8 inch. Sorry you were abused over a couple sea bass.
  • capeanglercapeangler Posts: 586 Officer
    bebrown wrote: »
    Let me start off by saying that I resect the FWC for their work and did not have a problem with being checked.
    Personally, I respect some but many are complete a-holes. I certainly don’t respect them, when they choose to bypass all of the 5-gallong bucket fillers you see under every bridge & causeway in Broward, Dade & Monroe County, to focus on safety and game violation checks on boaters. I don’t know what the statistics are, but I imagine most of the boats abide by the laws. On the other hand, most of the bucket fillers have illegal size or quantity of fish hidden in their tackle boxes and buckets. Perhaps the decision is due to laziness or the inability to collect revenue by many of the bucket fillers….Either way, protection of the resources takes a 2nd seat.
    bebrown wrote: »
    During this past weekends snapper season i took 4 family members (that rarely fish) out and all we caught were black sea bass, beeliners, and triggers. I measured all fish on the top of my igloo cooler, and tossed back a bunch of 12 3/4" seabass.

    Smart of you to toss back the shorts or fish that are close. I would purchase an actual board to get a precise measurement of the fish, and as others have said, be cognizant of shrinkage when fish die and certainly after being placed on ice. You never get a precise measurement using coolers and tapes…..ever.
    bebrown wrote: »
    Got checked in the inlet and the boarding officer took two out of the box and laid his tape measure over it and said they were short. I asked if I could look at them on my cooler, and showed him that when pinched, they hit the 13 inch line. He said he wanted to take them onto his boat and measure using the board. He threw them over to his partner and took my drivers license, registration and went back to his boat. After 10-12 minutes they motored back over to me and he handed me my license and a warning for undersized black sea bass. He said one was 12 3/4 and the other was 12 7/8ths. (thanks for the warning as he indicated that it would have been a $200+ ticket. I took my warning and away we went.

    He was FOS. He would have written you a ticket if it would stick. He was already vested by virtue of a stop. Those are big fines and big revenues for the agency, unlike piddly little fines for safety equipment. No to mention, they are mandatory court appearances…more revenues. The bottom line is, he probably didn’t know you can legally manipulate the fish to make it fit (Pinching the tail) and had to call their station/co; or he put it on his board and realized they were legal. Him saying “12 750” and 12.875”, was to save face, because most of those arrogant cocke suckers can never admit when they are wrong. It’s not “Professional” to do so.
    bebrown wrote: »
    It got me thinking that if I had received a citation, how could I have fought it without seeing the measurements on his board? I would think that it would be protocol to show the offender their findings. I really think that when I showed him the fish on the cooler he was surprised that they measured out.

    I have been fishing my entire life and this is the first warning I have gotten and the officer said to be careful because i am in the system now which is what really bothers me. Not being in the system, but the way he said it.

    As said, ****-holes (Most of them). I’ve dealt with enough of them down south and in my own county to realize how they operate. If he was going to write you a ticket; usually they will take a picture of the fish on the board as evidence, since the fish will be disposed of. That is also your way of fighting the ticket. Take a pic of the fish on your board and make certain that tail touches the legal line. Judge will throw it out and will thank the department for wasting their time. If the LEO writes enough BS tickets, CO will have their ****.
  • Egreen cobraEgreen cobra Posts: 227 Deckhand
    FWC doesn't receive revenue from "fish tickets". It goes to the county it's written in. (They do get a cut of fishing license tickets.) In Lee county for example, your basic "fish" ticket is $150 + $50 court costs, most counties are similar in fines.
    Also it's fairly common to receive warnings in lieu of criminal tickets for perceived "lesser" species. If the LEO doesn't have enough to write a ticket, then LEO doesn't have enough to issue a warning either. But yea it's much more likely that the guy is gonna jeopardize his career over a warning for a couple of sea bass.

    capeangler wrote: »
    He was FOS. He would have written you a ticket if it would stick. He was already vested by virtue of a stop. Those are big fines and big revenues for the agency, unlike piddly little fines for safety equipment. No to mention, they are mandatory court appearances…more revenues. The bottom line is, he probably didn’t know you can legally manipulate the fish to make it fit (Pinching the tail) and had to call their station/co; or he put it on his board and realized they were legal. Him saying “12 750” and 12.875”, was to save face, because most of those arrogant cocke suckers can never admit when they are wrong. It’s not “Professional” to do so.



    As said, ****-holes (Most of them). I’ve dealt with enough of them down south and in my own county to realize how they operate. If he was going to write you a ticket; usually they will take a picture of the fish on the board as evidence, since the fish will be disposed of. That is also your way of fighting the ticket. Take a pic of the fish on your board and make certain that tail touches the legal line. Judge will throw it out and will thank the department for wasting their time. If the LEO writes enough BS tickets, CO will have their ****.
  • screename116screename116 Posts: 76 Deckhand
    I am a noob. But I think that you did the right thing by measuring it. But better safe than sorry and keep the ones that are at least 1/4-1/2" over the limit just to be safe from a-holes.

    And what is a filler bucket?
  • Roc N RolRoc N Rol Posts: 1,349 Officer
    I am a noob. But I think that you did the right thing by measuring it. But better safe than sorry and keep the ones that are at least 1/4-1/2" over the limit just to be safe from a-holes.

    And what is a filler bucket?

    Bucket fillers are the people you see at bridges or along shore filling buckets with all fish caught regardless of size, bag limit or species.
  • screename116screename116 Posts: 76 Deckhand
    Thanks Roc.
  • FlashFlash Posts: 11,051 AG
    I am a noob. But I think that you did the right thing by measuring it. But better safe than sorry and keep the ones that are at least 1/4-1/2" over the limit just to be safe from a-holes.

    And what is a filler bucket?

    Why I never keep 15 inch trout, due to the shrinkage. Get a Florida Sportsman Law Stick and display it where it is easily seen. I have have had FWC see that stick and back off from over scrutinizing the catch. :grin
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    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
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