A familiar sight: Capt. Danny Barrow with his favorite fish. Danny has insightful ideas about his local fishery, from prey to predator.Rock star species? Iconic fish? All of the above? Praise the snook however you will. There’s no denying that the common snook (Centropomus undecimalis) is one of the most important species to attract anglers to the Fishing Capital of the World.

I’ve been obsessed with snook fishing since I was a kid growing up in West Palm Beach, Florida. My clients all want to catch them, so I’m lucky to make a living specializing in fishing for the species that I’ve grown so much to love. And we’re all lucky that the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) does a careful job of managing the species. Still, a couple of things have me really worried about the future of our snook. Those worries boil down to bait.

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Snook are prowling the beaches and can be fooled by those willing to log in the hours needed to learn the tricks, as demonstrated by angler Veronica Lane Ostarly. Photo: Andy TaskerNearly everyone agrees beach snook fishing on Florida’s West Coast has been slow the past few years. Few dispute that. Why is a matter of debate. Is it the weather? Is it the freeze of 2010, which clobbered nearly a third of the snook population? Or is it some unknown variable? Is it a combination of factors?

Perhaps the answer depends on...

“Location, location, location,” said Ron Taylor, a biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “Snook use the entire habitat. You may find snook today at John’s Pass. Those 10 snook may not be there tomorrow. They’re continuously moving.

“I’ve been doing this 34 years. Every day, there’s questions we don’t have answers for. To expect an answer why there are not snook on Caladesi Island on the 17th of July, that’s crazy. I will say this: There are areas that have certain characteristics that you can predict that snook will be there. Not today. Not tomorrow, but sometime during that season.”

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Singer and SGF Board Member JJ Grey always electrifies the crowds! photos: Jim Zielinski

On Saturday, March 29th, craft beer aficionados, Florida music buffs and forward thinking anglers met on the sublime lawns of Sunset Cove Amphitheater in west Boca to share their collective passions while supporting a great cause, the Snook & Gamefish Foundation’s Angler Action Program (AAP). Even though severe weather forced an early closure to the day, approximately 1,000 guests left with more than they came with.


“The weather was actually perfect for most of the afternoon – overcast and cool,” said David DeBerard, representing the EPPY group – a new sponsor of the AAP. “It was a great opportunity to come and visit with the kind of people who appreciate the better things in life.”

The day kicked off with a very skilled home brew competition, with 9 different brewing teams bringing up to four styles of beer. The “people’s choice” contest was won by the Florida Keys Brewing Company who plan to dive deep into commercial brewing at their new Islamorada location by the end of this year. 

Brown Distributing also featured several Florida brewers who have already established themselves professionally. Florida has one of the fastest growing craft beer communities, and the Ales for Anglers event pulled local brewers like Due South Brewing (Boynton), Tequesta Brewing Company (Tequesta) and Funky Buddha Brewing (Boca) as well as instate travelers like Mile Marker Brewing (St. Augustine), Green Bench Brewing (St. Pete), and primary beer host Cigar City Brewing (Tampa), who provided the lion’s share of their fantastic flagship brews, both on tap and in cans.

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JJ Grey & Mofro take the stage at 7:30. Don't miss a moment - Ales for Anglers has your tickets ready for you.Ales for Anglers is finally upon us, with just what any music buff wants - and plenty of it. What should you expect from this powerful lineup of all-Florida bands and musicians?

In a nutshell, be prepared to be blown away. JJ Grey & Mofro’s swinging style of Florida swamp funk will suck the air out of you and replace it with powerful vibes of pure energy. Thomas Wynn & the Believers might be the only band around that can stand up to Mofro’s intensity. Have Gun, Will Travel’s balance of precision and character will leave a permanent dent in your brain, and Forrest Hoffar might just make your lady fall in love…

 

JJ Grey & Mofro


Over the course of six albums and a decade of touring, JJ Grey's grimy blend of front porch soul and down-home storytelling has taken him around the world and back again. Beating the streets on nearly every continent, he and his band Mofro have sewn a continuous thread of laying-it-on-the-line shows that move folks to dance and at times to tears.

JJ was raised in North Florida by a typically Southern extended family that valued hard work and self-reliance. This upbringing permeates his no nonsense approach to writing and performing and has given him an abundance of material to write about in his songs.

Cigar City Brewing will be pouring their flagship brews throughout the day. Enjoy!What should you expect?

Be prepared to sample the full range of craft beer and home brews, from the mild “every-day-drinkable” brews to big, bad-ass high octane beers that could probably power your outboard motor. Don't worry, they all are fantastic, brought to you from Florida's finest brewers. Plus you will get to tryJJ Grey’s Nare Sugar Brown and HGWT’s High Road Ale, two great celebrity brews.

 

Craft Beer/Brewery Line up:

Cigar City Brewing: Cigar City Brewing was founded with two goals in mind. The first to make the world's best beer and the second to share with people near and far the fascinating culture and heritage of the Cigar City of Tampa.
From its past as the world's largest cigar producer to its Latin roots and the many other diverse peoples that call it home, Tampa draws on many sources to develop its unique culture.
At CCB we are fascinated by Tampa's history and suspect you will be too. We use the highest quality ingredients we can lay our hands on and that is not just marketing jargon. If it makes better beer, we use it. We also strive to use local ingredients when and where we can. Not only do fresh local ingredients help us to make better beer, it helps us to make beer that reflects the culture and heritage of Tampa Bay.

Tequesta Brewing Company: Microbrewery with great tasting room and growler filler insanity!The sight of the new stainless steel brew house, fermenting tanks and bright tanks that occupy the back third of the new Tequesta Brewing Company is imposing. They rise from behind the seating areas’ couches and upholstered chairs, gently lit from above and below by strips of colored LEDs: mighty space capsules filled with craft beer. The floor beneath them is new, an expanse of rough green concrete cut with stainless drains and decorated with a nod to the past: a neat line of three 1921 silver dollars set in the floor at the entry- way.

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JJ Grey is not only an accomplished musician, he's an avid outdoorsman who appreciates tradition yet welcomes new ideas.The Ales for Anglers event on March 29th presents Florida’s finest creative musicians, showcases Florida’s young but already rich craft beer industry, and benefits Florida fishermen and women.

At first glance, this might seem like an unlikely combination. But as we draw closer to what promises to be one of the most exciting days of your entire year, my mind keeps hearing our headliner JJ Grey's voice from a conversation he and I had years ago.

That day we and a few others were talking about his music. The conversation started with someone in the group trying to categorize his style of artistry. Blues? Funk? Swamp rock? This is a frequent question and conversation among his fans. His style is truly remarkable, although it is impossible not to draw certain flavors from his industry heroes - Bill Withers, Otis Redding, and Donny Hathaway to name just a few, plus a handful of southern rock bands and country musicians. And if you blur your ears a little you might pick up some hip-hop tones here and there. “Front Porch Soul” used to be the description his loyal fans used. Personally I don’t know exactly how to describe it except damn good.

 

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Thanks to the Angler Action Program, researchers can use angler data to help map fish populations.The Snook and Gamefish Foundation’s Angler Action Program (AAP) has Reached a New Milestone.

 

For the 30,000th time, anglers have shown they are ready to contribute to a brighter fishing future. That’s how many fish the Angler Action Program (AAP) participants have logged since the most recent database upgrade in 2012. “It was perfect timing. The 30,000th fish was logged about 15 minutes before our monthly Board phone conference, so the Snook & Gamefish Foundation’s board was able to hear the news hot off the press,” said Executive Director Brett Fitzgerald.

To date, over 130 different species of fish have been logged into the system, with inshore saltwater species getting the most tallies. Snook remain the most common species targeted in the AAP logs, but spotted (speckled) sea trout are the most logged fish.

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In its continuing battle against overfishing and protecting all of our marine resources,Keep images like this in the past - Florida overwhelmingly voted to keep entangling nets out of our inshore waters. Let's make sure it stays that way. The Snook and Gamefish Foundation is participating in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s litigation against the Wakulla Fisherman’s Association attack on Florida’s long standing net ban. The Foundation is participating in the suit as “Amicus Curiae,” also known as a “friend of the Court.”

    The Court officially granted the Foundation’s right to participate in the case on Jan. 29, which  means the court will give full consideration to its brief in support of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s position in defense of the net ban and related administrative rules.

    “I cannot stress enough how important this decision by the court is for the recreational fishing community we represent throughout the state,” said Brett Fitzgerald, Snook and Gamefish Foundation CEO. “It means recreational anglers will have a voice in one of the most important court cases facing the inland marine environment of our state right now.”


    The case is an appeal of a November ruling by Leon County Circuit Court Judge Jackie Fulford who, in an 11-page order, overturned the net ban, the FWF rules implementing the ban and enjoined the FWF from regulating in relation to the net restriction. Fulford called the 1994 Net Ban a “legal absurdity” and effectively opened the doors for fishermen everywhere to place gill nets, rather than the hand-thrown nets required by the law.

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Biggest (boat) Show on Earth!

With 3 onsite locations, the Miami Boat Show is the biggest and baddest! Visit our booth again this year.The Snook & Gamefish Foundation (SGF) will again have a presence at the Miami International Boat Show (MIBS), and will be showcasing the X-Fish on site. Board members and SGF volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about current SGF projects, including the Angler Action Program, the upcoming Ales for Anglers event, and SGF's involvement in Florida's entanglement net law suit

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Barracuda are reportedly on the decline in the Keys, as well as around the state. The great barracuda is a thrill to catch on light tackle, and landing one can make an angler's day. Barracuda sightings also provide excitement for snorkelers and divers navigating coral reefs of the Florida Keys.

The Lower Keys Guides Association is calling on state fishery managers to implement more protection of the toothy beast.

The idea of barracuda becoming a viable commercial fishery did not seem probable more than a decade ago. State and federal fishery managers never established rules for its commercial harvest, leaving it basically an unregulated fishery.

That means commercial fishermen with the most basic saltwater products license can harvest as much barracuda as they want, said fishing guide Capt. John O'Hearn, president of the Lower Keys Guides Association.

State fishery managers did establish a two-fish, or 100-pound, bag limit for the recreational harvest of the fish.

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