News

US Senate asks for better recreational angler data; SGF Answers the Call

On May 20, 2015, the Snook & Gamefish Foundation was asked to testify before the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard.

Executive Director Brett Fitzgerald was tapped to sit on a panel of experts, along with the Honorable Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Mr. Robert Beal, Executive Director, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission; and Dr. Steven Murawski, Professor and Peter Betzer Endowed Chair of Biological Oceanography, University of South Florida.

Senator Rubio (FL), chair of the committee, took point in the hearing and asked direct questions about the current state of recreational data collection at the federal level in the US. Ranking member Senator Cory Booker (NJ) followed suit with the common theme that cooperation between anglers and managers needs to improve.

“Essentially, it comes down to the reality that usable recreational data is really hard to come by. Combine that with the fact that NOAA is trying hard to maintain a traditional scientific standard, and it’s no wonder that there has been impasse. But the time has come for all 50 states and the federal fishery managers to work with recreational anglers and pound out a viable solution,” Fitzgerald said.

That is precisely why SGF was asked to come to Washington and share the successes of the Angler Action Program, the only recreational fishing database owned and maintained by fishermen that has been used in state level stock assessments.

“If you fish, this is your data,” SGF Chairman Capt. Mike Readling said. “With five years of working with the State of Florida and a couple stock assessments under our belt, we’ve proven that we can work with scientists and managers to get past the barriers of data biases. With the understanding that federal fisheries work a little differently, the point is we are ready to get to work to help solve the quandary of recreational angler data.”

It would seem the U.S. Senate agrees, and Fitzgerald had an attentive audience as he told the committee members the story of the AAP, which now boasts nearly 6,000 registered users and will be providing specific data to Florida for multiple species. Maybe the better news is that NOAA seems to be receptive to building a path of partnership with recreational anglers, who by and large just want to help get the federal fishery management system right.

But Angler Action is more than just keeping track of fish. “It’s not just about counting fish for the state or the federal government,” says Pete Quasius, SGF Vice-Chair. “For one thing, it’s about recreational anglers getting credit for the fish we let go.” Pete refers to the current fishery dependent surveys NOAA relies heavily upon for fishery data. Not only are those surveys sparse relative to the fishing population, they basically count the fish in the cooler, not the fish anglers release.

According to AAP data, we have logged some 40,000 angler-hours since 2012. 80% of every fish caught in the voluntary survey is released. “Catch and release fishing accounts for the majority of fish landed. If you consider the economic value of those released fish, it makes sense that we should be credited for each and every one.” It just so happens that, at this point, release data is the most valuable subset of information for fishery managers. It also validates the consistent message of SGF and other groups that we need to take special care when releasing fish we intend to let go.

Just having the AAP system in place will mean more fish will swim in Florida’s waters. A big part of the program is the recent development of a tournament system which promotes catch-photo-release tournaments. This (Memorial) weekend, CCA Star tournament launches along the entire west coast of Florida. “Except for the hatchery raised redfish with Star tags, there is no longer a need to bring eligible fish to a weigh station for points. This means the AAP has helped to keep untold numbers of fish in Florida waters just through our partnership with this event alone,” Readling said.

In Washington, Fitzgerald was able to report to the Senate that an independent data ‘audit’ has been underway for over a year. A team of University of Florida statisticians have been comparing catch rates of the AAP to MRIP’s dockside surveys, and thus far in regions where anglers are logging fish, the data stacks up. More analysis is being conducted, “which will help SGF improve design and figure out more ways to incorporate data into stock assessments at both the state and federal level,” reported Fitzgerald.

Aside from making it clear that recreational anglers are chomping at the bit to help improve fishery timeliness and precision, Fitzgerald made other salient points in DC. His statement included future needs of data integration. “Data use needs to expand to other important aspects of angler/fish interaction, such as functional habitat mapping.” Protecting critical game fish habitat is also a major concern of SGF. AAP data can help establish which habitats are being shared by anglers, game fish, and prey species, and help get a handle of the relationship between these entities. “All of that will lead to a brighter fishing future, which is the end-game for SGF’s participation in data collection.”

SGF is dedicated to ramping up our cooperative efforts with state and federal agencies, and will continue to bring other conservation groups into the discussion to ensure that none of us lose sight of the ultimate goal.

*links to Fitzgerald's written testimony and video archives of the hearing will be made available on the SGF site as soon as available.

www.angleraction.org is the place to get started. Create a profile, download an app (we suggest iAngler-lite or one of the affiliates such as iGhoFish), and start recording your trips. Soon you will be in the "100 Club!"What started as a simple way for anglers to record their catch may help preserve the fish they covet. Sound farfetched? Maybe not.

Ryan Jiorle, a University of Florida Master’s candidate, spent nearly a year studying the impact of the Angler Action Program with it's iAngler family of apps. He believes that the staple service project of the Snook & Gamefish Foundation (SGF) could come to serve as a valuable asset in fisheries management.


The Angler Action Program allows fishermen to detail every personal fishing trip in an electronic log; iAngler and the new iAngler-lite are free mobile smart device Apps that complement the program directly. Last year, SGF and Elemental Methods worked together on a fishing tournament app,iAngler-Tournament, that lets competitive fishermen record their tournament catches in real time. Both systems were designed and have been promoted by SGF, who solicited assistance from fishery managers and scientists along the entire building process.


“At the very least I don’t know of another program that’s steamed this far ahead,” Jiorle said. “You have multiple years of data. You have a lot of users. It’s very organic - this has happened naturally. I think that’s what we like to see as scientists. We want to compare in the most natural way possible.”

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Earth Day.

Means a lot of things to a lot of different people. To my daughter, who is one of the few people I know who seems to celebrate nature every day, it is a chance to reflect on all the positive things we as humans can draw from Mother Earth if we are tuned in. She’s 13, by the way. To my son, it is a day in April when he probably will have to write an annoying essay at school (I hope). He’s 12, by the way.

To me, a fisherman who has spent way too much time off My Water lately, it is a day of conflicting hopes and regrets. So much good to do this coming "Earth Year," so many projects that didn’t get capped off this past. I need my therapist.

I have not seen my therapist in a long time. Her name is Orvis, she’s a 9-wt, and she’s a bad ass when I need her to be, gentle when the situation calls. I won’t see her today either, but I have new resolve to become much more familiar during this next year.

I could fill 30 sheets of paper with regrets pertaining to my urge to make a brighter fishing future, which means a lot of different things to me. Helping to protect habitats where needed, improve them where we’ve failed to protect adequately in the past, equipping anglers with the tools needed to become soldiers in the many battles we face – eroding rights, shrinking opportunities, failing policies, crumbling habitats, fickle conservation friends.

But if I fall into the trap of picking at wounds, I lose.

Earth Day is a cold shower. It’s a chance to collectively reset, to recharge, to breathe in the air and try to feel it pass through our mouths to our lungs and appreciate it again. My daughter Ava has it right.

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Joe Rufin shows off a snook from the trip that landed him two lunkers and a nifty prize from Garmin, thanks to Guy Harvey Outpost.On Jan 31, Joe Rufin (St. Pete Beach) had a very productive snook fishing trip. He not only landed a pair of bruising line-siders, but he opted to enter his fishing trip into the shiny new iGhoFish smartphone app, the latest data collecting tool in the Snook & Gamefish Foundation’s Angler Action Program (AAP). Lucky for Joe, Guy Harvey Outpost is hosting a data sweepstakes, randomly drawing anglers each month who have logged their fishing trips into their iGhoFish app or web portal.


For Rufin, that meant a surprise phone call informing him that he won Garmin’s VIRB action camera. “Actually, it was the first time I ever used the Guy Harvey Outpost app,” he said, still sounding a little shocked that he won a prize for simply going fishing and logging it into the app. “A friend who heard about the app at the St. Pete Outpost told me about it so I downloaded it and gave it a shot.”


Some of the details about the data and sweepstakes were lost in that conversation with his friend, so Joe didn’t realize he was even eligible to win a prize. “I thought there was a tournament going on, but I didn’t think I was actually entered. But I wanted to see what it was like to log a fish anyhow.”


Rufin and his friends mostly fish Pinellas County, and on the day he logged the winning trip, he was fishing a usual haunt in his typical fashion. “I like to fish big baits – the biggest I can find,” he said. “We had just found some nice sized greenies on the north side of the Skyway.” They were working through some kinks with a potential new bait pen location that day when Joe pinned a bait to a circle hook and lobbed it in.


“My first bait hit the water, and it got hammered right at the dock. It was the usual epic snook fight - I had to climb over a few things to get the rod tip high enough to clear some pilings." That first fish was 33’. Matt [his fishing buddy that day] didn’t even have his bait in the water when Joe landed that fish, put another bait on and wham! "Fish on again,” Joe recalled. That fish was even bigger, measuring in at 35’.

 

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The Inshore Kickoff is complimented by the Freshwater Kickoff - both free, both this weekend. ...and win a prize!

SGF and Elemental Methods teamed up again to bring some exciting new changes to the iAngler-Tournament system.

You can help us test them out by fishing, and maybe winning a little something for your time on the water!

 iAngler-Tournament is a fishing tournament management program that allows tournaments to be run through your mobile smart device. Translation: You can enter, then record fish, in a tournament using your smart phone - photos and all.

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Writer and photographer Sam Hudson took one of our favorite snook shots this year. What a beauty! (er... the fish, not Sam...)2014 was a good year for Florida’s snook anglers. The recovery from the 2010 cold snap seems to be right on track, thanks in part to FWC’s astute management plans, SGF’s Angler Action Program, and the overall outstanding conservation ethos of most snook anglers.

Looking back at that chilly stretch in early 2010, there was a lot of concern about Florida’s premier inshore game fish. Many anglers were at near panic mode, and frankly our best researchers were very concerned too. At the time, Jim Whittington, the lead east coast snook researcher told SGF that there was a lot of uncertainty regarding snook. He also pointed out that the strict snook regulations were in place for just such an event. Those who pursue snook understand there are some very tight parameters required for a healthy population: nursery habitats, ample prey, viable spawning sites, and of course tropical water temperatures.

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Barracuda capture anglers and divers alike. They are an important part of Florida's experience and ecosystem. photo: Dean HulseWith its menacing crooked teeth, evil eyes and foul smell, the great barracuda is not the poster child for gamefish.

Outside of the shark, there is no backcountry fish more demonized than the barracuda.

The fish is not given the same level of respect than that of its contemporaries on the flats — permit, bonefish, tarpon and snook.  Rarely does one see a photo of a flats guide posing with a barracuda and beaming with the same admiration that he or she would give the four other prized fish.

The fish’s status has never really been elevated to that of the four backcountry fish. However, the barracuda fights as hard, if not harder, than any of the other four fish and in a pinch can rescue a slow day of fishing.

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The Snook & Gamefish Foundation's Board of Directors will meet in Tampa of Feb 28 at the Cigar City Brewery tasting/meeting room. This annual meeting will cover election of new board members and re-election of BOD members whose terms are due to expire.

The meetings are open to SGF members. If your membership is up to date and you are interested in serving SGF as a board member or advisory committee member, please contact brett@snookfoundation NLT Feb 13. 

 

These meetings will also discuss updates on the progress of the Angler Action Program, and partnerships with Guy Harvey Foundation and CCA. 

SGF maintains an unwavering ethos of the conservation, preservation, restoration and enhancement of estuarine and coastal water habitats that define fishing - and SGF believes informed anglers are the key to realizing these goals. - See more at: http://www.thefishingwire.com/story/331963#sthash.IN6sVTeg.dpuf
SGF maintains an unwavering ethos of the conservation, preservation, restoration and enhancement of estuarine and coastal water habitats that define fishing - and SGF believes informed anglers are the key to realizing these goals. - See more at: http://www.thefishingwire.com/story/331963#sthash.IN6sVTeg.dpuf

SGF maintains an unwavering ethos dedicated to the conservation, preservation, restoration and enhancement of estuarine and coastal water habitats that define fishing - and SGF believes informed anglers are the key to realizing these goals.

 

 

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Downloading the iAngler-Tournament smartphone application

Follow these instructions and guidelines when you first download the iAngler Tournament app, and your experience should be quick, easy, and rewarding.

Using an Apple or Android mobile device, enter your app store and search for “iAngler Tournament.”*  The app is free, select and down load it onto your device. Once it is on your phone, you may open the app and register into the system.

*Note: You will also see“iAngler by Angler Action” and “iAngler Lite.” These are all part of the Angler Action family but NOT the tournament app you are looking for. Please make sure you select the iAngler Tournament app.

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Goliath Grouper have moved to center stage for many Florida anglers, divers, and conservationists. Photo: underwaterjournal.comThere seems to be little argument about whether conservation measures put in place to protect the Goliath grouper have been a success. But a debate is waging about whether they have been successful enough to reopen the fishery to even a small limited harvest.

Those who want to reopen Goliath grouper to fishing argue the fish has become so plentiful that anglers can’t reel up smaller fish without them being snatched off their lines by the giant beasts, which can weigh in excess of 500 pounds.


Also, Goliath groupers are consuming large numbers of spiny lobster, a major cash crop, supporters of opening the fishery say. They are calling for a small limited harvest.

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What to fish and how.

While giving a saltwater fly-fishing seminar at a fly shop in northeastern Pennsylvania this summer, I was asked this question, and it is one of the most frequently-asked questions I hear. Dave Keck, the store's owner, who I fished with for smallmouth bass on the Susquehanna River, five minutes from where we were in Berwick, Pa., was close to me and I asked Saltwater flies are varied and impressionistic, but matching a hatch is still important.him to get out his fly box. Some flies did not have stainless steel hooks, but the flies we selected were all effective patterns to use in the Tampa Bay area where I do most of my fishing. This applies to most areas of Florida as well. Minnow imitations were most prevalent with hook size appropriate for snook, redfish and speckled trout, which are the most predominant quarry most of the year. Colors were also consistent with patterns that either "match the hatch" of local baitfish, or even imitate shrimp or small crabs. If you believe, as I do, that presentation is more important than color and size, his fly box would give you a good start if you ventured south for a few days of R&R with your fly rod.

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By filing an Amicus Brief, SGF entered the net ban law suit on behalf of FWC as a "friend of the court."First District Court of Appeals Strikes Down Gill Net Use upon Appeal

The appellate court’s decision overturns ruling that gill nets ban was unfair; reinstates ban which was passed in 1995 and challenged almost universally since

 

TALLAHASSEE (July 7, 2014) – Calling the ruling “erroneous” and saying trial court judge Jackie Fulford did not follow precedent, Florida’s First District Court of Appeals once again upheld the net ban amendment.

 

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Was the apparent increase of shark-on-tarpon attacks in spring 2014 an anomaly, or the new norm? Be it geography, demographics or a narrow gene pool, Key West, Fla. is known for unusual occurrences. Spring 2014 is no exception.

Around the island, the migrations of many aquatic species are in full swing, and none more eagerly awaited than the million member march of tarpon moving north, up from the Caribbean.

Two distinct species--Atlantic and Gulf--stimulated by rising water temperatures and the call to procreate, cross the straits of Florida in football-field-size schools. These silver-sided beasts, some in excess of two hundred pounds are historically greeted by large, hungry sharks.

The traveling tarpon’s first port of call are the channels, harbors and grass flats of the Florida Keys. From Key Largo to the Marquesas, world-class anglers also await the fish’s arrival armed with thousand-dollar fly rods alongside shrimp-tinted tourists on the fishing trip of their dreams.

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Courtesy of Fly and Light Tackle Angler

Hull shape determines hull slap; therefore it needs to be a factor in determining your boat purchase.Guidelines to follow before buying your flats boat.

In the rush to compete in the skinny water marketplace, some companies built boats too large, or too heavy, or too wide, or too noisy, or from a skinny water standpoint, an unworkable combination of some of the above. Another important genre of boats emerged from the larger designs, vessels that we now call "bay boats." And important improvements have since been made to true flats skiffs. If you're in the market for a boat that fishes skinny water really well, here are some things to keep in mind in your search for a flats skiff.

Stealth Is Job One

The shallower the water, the quieter that boat has to be. The slightest hull slap can send an edgy bonefish, redfish, striper, tarpon, permit or seatrout packing. If you can hear any noise from water making contact with the hull, you can bet that every fish in the vicinity registered it as a loud noise and/or vibration. Sound is amplified and travels faster under water. And since most gamefish experience a lot more fishing (and unrelated boating) pressure today than ever, it's easy to understand why they're getting a bit high strung.

So don't be surprised if any hull or cockpit boat noise makes fish in the shallows wary enough to stay just out of practical casting range (How do they know this?) or to simply not bite even if they don't flee. Also keep in mind that "shallow" is a term relative to the size of the fish. A 6-foot tarpon in three feet of water is every bit on edge as a bonefish in 12 inches.

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Registration is free, and you can win prizes just by participating. In an effort to bring more anglers into the data collection fold, the Snook & Gamefish Foundation is hosting a series of free 'virtual’ tournaments. Anglers across the country – and globe – are able to participate and potentially earn prizes just for participating.

YOU can participate in the next FREE events, which are scheduled for July 4-6. There will be both a fresh water tournament and an inshore tournament.

 

Designed to manage current tournaments as well as host new events that can focus on specific research needs, iAngler-Tournament has already successfully managed a tournament from the legendary Redbone series in the Florida Keys, and SGF hosted their own events throughout the month of June.

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Hart Stilwill loved tarpon. The concept of careful fish handling was unstudied 'back in the day,' but it is clear that he came to understand the need to protect gamefish. Glory of the Silver King, The Golden Age of Tarpon Fishing by Hart Stilwell, edited by Brandon D. Shuler, Ph.D

Tarpon capture an angler’s spirit like no other fish, and this edited collection of Stilwell’s essays in Glory of the Silver King (Texas A&M Press, 2011) impeccably captures a storied lifetime of angling.

Shuler’s introduction gives us more than just a hint of the literary power Stilwell held over his readers. The journey which leads to the publication of this book is worth the price of admission by itself. Shuler brings us to the fire at a fish camp where he first heard about the unpublished manuscripts and knew he had to get his eyes on them. The research that went into compiling and organizing the essays is clearly the trabajo de amor for Shuler.

Stillwell has a direct style of prose. His prologue blackens the dark greys and erases the lighter shades right away – “I tell a fishing story.” While that is certainly true, the magic of his stories is that it might not really matter that it is fishing. In this case, you get the idea that it would be just as fun to read if it were about engineering, or (god forbid) playing golf, so long as Stilwell’s hand is pushing the pen. As you read through chapter after chapter you come to realize that while Stilwell writes with a style that reads very easy, he does indeed color and shade his stories with sensational detail.

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 By MIKE HODGE
 

Tarpon on a fly is challenging and rewarding. Image from www.flyfishfortarpon.comSummer is almost here and the arrival of Florida’s suffocating heat means one thing if you’re a dedicated sight-fisherman.

Tarpon.

In a few weeks, many Florida flats will welcome the popular game fish.  And fly fishermen will be waiting. Some will struggle, muddling along with the hope that enough shots will yield a Kodak moment. Others --- albeit a small fraction of the long rod elitists --- will catch and land fish regularly.
The difference, quite often, comes down to casting. The better you can cast, the more fish you’ll catch. Period.
Below are a few tips to consider while preparing to dance with the Silver King.
 

Practice makes perfect.

Saltwater fly fishing is a skill, yet many anglers treat it as a hobby. They fish, but they don’t practice and if they practice, they don’t put in enough time to truly hone their craft.
“You have to practice,” Peter Kutzer, an Orvis casting instructor, said. “You don’t see golfers going out on courses without practicing and taking practice swings. They go to the driving range. They chip and putt to help with their short game. You have to practice your fly-casting game as well. Chasing tarpon is not a poor man’s sport. It’s tough. You’re going to be a lot more successful if you spend some time practicing.”
 

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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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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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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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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 & 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.

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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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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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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