fishing

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  Billy Causey has been in the Florida Keys since the early 1970s. And in that time, he's figured out a few things.

"There's some things you learn not to talk about. You know — religion, politics ... and mini-season," Causey said. "You don't go to a party in the Keys and talk about any one of those three."

FWC

  Hogfish, an orange fish in the wrasse family, may be ugly but they're increasingly popular in the Florida Keys.

That's especially true for people who spearfish, like Lea Moeller of Key West.

"It's one of the only fish that's slow enough for me to shoot," Moeller said. "But it's also delicious."

The number of hogfish caught in federal waters of the Atlantic Ocean last year increased so sharply that the recreational season was closed in August for the first time ever.

Amy Green / WMFU

With no predators and a never-ending appetite, the lionfish threatens Florida's multi-(B) billion-dollar seafood industry.

This non-native fish has spread in Florida coastal waters at an unprecedented rate and is multiplying up the Atlantic coast.

WMFU environmental reporter Amy Green says that's why Floridians are cracking down on the lionfish … and cooking it up.

Bob Krist / Florida Keys News Service

Everglades National Park has released its first new management plan since 1979. The plan, which should take effect in about 30 days, includes some new rules. That includes rules for Florida Bay, the estuary at the south end of the park.

Florida Bay is a famous fishing ground. In one of the plan's biggest changes, more than 100,000 acres will be set aside as "pole and troll" zones — areas where boats could not use motors. The aim is to protect the shallow seagrass beds from propeller scarring.

Nicholas Lindell Reynolds / Wikimedia Commons

Spearing hogfish is a popular pastime along South Florida's reef. So popular, in fact, that by April more than 220,000 pounds of hogfish had been caught along the Atlantic coast.

That's almost three times the limit for the entire year so when federal fisheries managers received the data, they moved to close the recreational harvest as of Monday (Aug. 24).

Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

By late last week, people and boats were already trickling in to the Florida Keys for the lobster sport mini-season.

They were getting ready for the two-day event, taking place Wednesday and Thursday,  when recreational divers get a jump on catching the tasty crustaceans. The regular lobster season, when commercial fishermen can start bringing in their catch, starts Aug. 6.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The spiny lobster season ended March 31. State biologists say it looks like the total catch will be slightly lower than last year — but the seafood that came to the market fetched record-high prices.

Kenny Malone

Florida’s great outdoors now comes with a paperless option.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has launched a new mobile app that lets hunters and fishermen buy licenses from their smart phones and store those licenses digitally.

“You have people having issues like losing their license or their license getting wet or even they forgot their license at home,” says FWC spokeswoman Amanda Nalley. “Most people have their phone on them regardless of whether they may have left their wallet at home.”

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

The two-day spiny lobster sport season -- known as the mini-season -- is intended to give recreational lobster hunters a chance to  get their hands on the tasty crustaceans before commercial traps go in the water.

In practice it's become a hugely popular opening rush in the Florida Keys, where lobsters are usually plentiful.

This despite the fact that the Keys carry special restrictions during mini-season.

Army Vets Become Fishermen For Therapy

Apr 24, 2014
Walter Michot / Miami Herald

The trip begins with a high-speed ride on a black flats boat, deep into the wilderness of Sawgrass Recreational Park in Weston. The captain picks a spot, anchors and then digs into one of the boat’s many hidden compartments to select the bait, settling on two “wacky worms.”

The two fishermen set up the fishing rods, crack a few jokes and talk about strategy — “When you feel him tug that line a couple times, point your rod right at him and hit him, hit him good.” They begin casting, looking for bass and anything else that might bite.

Creative Commons / Flickr user Brian Popik

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is trying to eradicate an invasive species: the lionfish, which swims the South Florida seas.

It's is a funky-looking, red-and-white striped fish. Its fins fan out like a mane, hence the name. But the real image its name should conjure up is of a big bully.

The lionfish population has exploded over the past couple of decades. Its presence has increasingly hurt local native fish and other sea critters.

Keys Lawmaker Takes On Lobster Mobsters

Jan 14, 2014
Richard Elzey/Flickr

It’s illegal to take lobsters out of season or out of traps that don’t belong to you. But Keys State Representative Holly Raschein (R-Monroe County) says the issue is that the penalty for stealing three lobsters is the same as stealing 300.

RELATED: Inside The Life Of A Florida Keys Lobster Catcher 

Why Stone Crabbers Are Praying For A Better Season

Oct 14, 2013
Marya Repko

All summer, stone crab crews have been mending their traps and preparing their boats -- waiting for the start of the stone crab season.

With the opening of the season starting Oct. 15, the economic future of the industry will hinge on how bountiful the catch is for Monroe, Lee and Collier counties.

It’s these three areas that provide the bulk of the two to three million pounds of stone crab landings in Florida each year.

But last year, the going was rough for a lot of the crabbers.

Read About New Boating Guidelines For The Everglades

May 8, 2013
Tricia Woolfenden / WLRN

Proposed changes at Everglades National Park have put anglers at odds with environmental groups. The park's draft general management plan, which includes several variations (or "alternatives"), is currently up for public comment. This Sunday is the deadline to weigh in on proposed measures, which include prohibiting traditional boating in about one-third of Florida Bay.