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Fishing Notes Jan 2007 Florida & the South

NOAA calls for prevention, control for lionfish

NOAA researchers reported Nov. 6 that non-native lionfish populations will continue to grow and cannot be eliminated practically using conventional methods.

Lionfish have taken hold along the southeast United States coast, placing divers and fishermen at significant risks from their painful, venomous sting, as well as leaving native fish populations potentially susceptible to new and unstudied hazards from their interactions with this species.

The scientists explained that the cost and effort to dispatch trained divers — the only effective elimination method currently known — would be impractical, partly due to the expansive deepwater reef habitats of the Southeast coast of the United States and Bahamas, an area encompassing more than 62,000 square miles.

How lionfish will affect native fish populations has yet to be determined or assessed, including the potential impacts to the commercial fishing industry. However, non-indigenous species can have serious negative economic effects and cause major disruption of native ecosystems.

The information was provided by scientists from the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to coastal resource managers as part of information on lionfish biology and control measures, and was presented at a meeting of the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council in July 2006.

Lionfish, a native of the Indian and Pacific oceans, are now considered established in the Atlantic Ocean. First discovered off the coast of North Carolina in 2000 by the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, they are believed to have been present off the east coast of Florida since the mid-1990s. Lionfish, popular in the aquarium trade, were likely introduced through releases by amateur aquarists no longer wishing to keep the fish.

Fishing packagefrom Bahamian resort

Abaco Beach Resort & Boat Harbour announced its Wahoo Fishing Package, valid through March 15.

Located on the secluded island of Abaco in the Bahamas, the resort features 88 rooms that include suites, ocean-front rooms and six upscale cottages.

Wahoo fishing is the island’s main draw for fishermen, but other activity options include snorkeling, scuba diving, shopping at the local shop and art gallery, tennis, a fitness center and two pools.

The Wahoo Fishing Package includes:

• four days and three nights in an ocean-front accommodation overlooking the Sea of Abaco

• two half-days of wahoo fishing with local experts

• a Bahamian breakfast for three days.

• roundtrip transfers to Marsh Harbour Airport

For more information call (800) 753-9259 or visit the .

Junior sailfish tourney returns to Islamorada

For one weekend every year, moms and dads escort their kids to the docks for the Islamorada Junior Sailfish Tournament. The 42nd annual event is scheduled for Dec. 15 to 17, at Holiday Isle Resorts & Marina, Mile Marker 84.

Open to both experienced and novice anglers, the all-release tournament was created for kids age 16 and under. The scoring will be based on individual anglers’ catches, with numerous prizes to be awarded.

A kick-off party is to start at 6 p.m. Dec. 15, at RumRunners Beach at Holiday Isle. Fishing is set for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Dec. 16 and 17.

A live auction, held dockside, is slated for 6 p.m. Saturday.

The awards banquet is to begin at 6 p.m. Sunday on RumRunners Beach.

Entry fee is $100 per angler. For information call (305) 852-9337.

To find out about area accommodations, call the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at (305) 664-4503 or (800) 322-5397, or visit the Florida Keys & Key West Web site at .

Backcountry Challenge reels in scholarships

Anglers fished night and day for trophy-sized snook and redfish to determine six division winners at the 2006 Take Stock in Children Backcountry Challenge, Oct. 13 to 15 off Key Largo in the Florida Keys.

Jared Rascob of Key Largo won the adult/snook division with a 35.5-inch fish. Bill VanCampen of Williamsport, Pa., was runner-up with a 31-inch fish. Popular Keys radio personality Cal Sutphin of Marathon, Fla., took third place with a 30-inch snook.

Spencer Holeman of Key Largo won the adult/redfish division with a 29-inch red. Honson Lau of Miami and Carl Senson of Tavernier, Fla., won second and third prizes, with fish of 28.5 inches and 23 inches, respectively.

The pro division winner, determined by combined length of one snook and one redfish, was Lain Goodwin of Key Largo with fish totaling 55.5 inches.

Isabella Garcia of Key Largo won the ladies/most outstanding catch division with a 28.75-inch snook.

The youth division, also determined by combining the length of one snook and one redfish, was won by 15-year-old Jake Turek of Tavernier who had a combined length of 58 inches. Thomas Tafoya, 15, of Key Largo was second, scoring 55.5 inches. Tavernier resident Al Dietlin, 16, took third place with two fish measuring 54 inches.

Top guide at the tournament was Frank Perez of Miami.

The tournament benefits the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program, a statewide program that identifies economically disadvantaged seventh grade students, who meet the program’s academic and behavioral criteria, and awards Florida Prepaid Scholarships for two years.

Pruitt wins third Redbone tourney

Troy Pruitt of Naples, Fla., winner of the Oct. 6 to 8 Mercury Baybone Tournament, must like the clear waters of the Florida Keys.

The Baybone win earned Pruitt his third grand champion title in Redbone events, all of them part of the prestigious Redbone Celebrity Tournament Trilogy held in the Florida Keys. He also won the 2005 Mercury/Cheeca Redbone and the Mercury Redbone SLAM, held Sept. 8 to 10 in Key West.

Pruitt and longtime angling partner Jeff Ball, also of Naples, also won the Baybone’s team grand champion title — their second in Redbone events. They were team grand champions at the Mercury/Cheeca Redbone.

Pruitt was guided by Capt. Rich Tudor of Islamorada. The Pruitt-Ball team was guided by Capt. Paul Tejera, also of Islamorada.

The Baybone’s celebrity grand champion was retired Florida Marlins pitcher Bill Hurst of Miami, also guided by Paul Tejera.

The ladies grand champion was Linda Denkert of Tavernier, Fla. She was guided by her husband, Capt. Dave Denkert.

Nineteen boats competed in the tournament, with 32 bonefish and 34 permit released.

Team of the Year named for Kingfish tour

Team Castrol — consisting of Capt. Nick Parrish of Jacksonville, Fla.; his son, Vann Parrish; and three friends, Lon Layton, Kenneth Dewitt and James Grieger — earned the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour Team of the Year award following the tour’s final regular-season stop Sept. 21 in Southport, N.C.

“We are totally thrilled,” said Parrish, whose team runs a Hydra-Sports Vector 3300CC powered by triple Yamaha 250-hp outboards. “We had a great time this year and everything seemed to fall into place.”

Team Castrol trailed Team Triple Gobble by two points going into the Southport tournament, and they knew they were going to have to fish hard to take the Team of the Year crown. Ultimately, that is exactly what they did, finishing in 11th place and squeezing by Triple Gobble by 11 points.

Consistency was the name of the game for Team Castrol as they netted two top-10 finishes (eighth at Sarasota, Fla., and fourth at Beaufort, S.C.) along with an 11th-place showing at Southport and a 22nd-place finish at Fort Pierce, Fla.

The $1.82 million FLW Kingfish Tour consists of four regular-season events. After these four events are complete, the top 50 teams compete in the three-day, no-entry-fee $500,000 FLW Kingfish Tour Championship. The winner of the championship will earn as much as $150,000.