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Old 06-13-2018, 04:14 PM   #1
grey2112
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So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

I don't honestly know how I feel about this. Read this on the FWC weekly report:

"While on water patrol in Pinellas County, Officers Caldwell and Pettifer conducted a resource inspection on a vessel displaying a dive flag. The officers checked several legal fish onboard. During the inspection, the officers noticed a dead gag grouper floating near the vessel. They retrieved the grouper and found puncture wounds near the gills. One of the individuals admitted to spearing the fish. He was cited for the violation of taking gag grouper during the closed season."

OK, sometimes we shoot undersized fish (it happens, mostly newbie divers, or you just misjudge the size) and some people (again, mostly newbies) may shoot an out-of-season fish. Just like some people CATCH undersized and out-of-season fish on hook and line. Now, it seems to me that IF the divers in this case had KEPT the fish then I could definitely see a citation for that. But the diver didn't. So, would the FWC have issued a citation to a hook-and-line guy who had pulled up an out-of-season fish, let it go, but due to a gut-hooking or baro-trauma it died and floated on the surface?

Thoughts?
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Old 06-13-2018, 04:31 PM   #2
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Re: So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

I see your concearn but the ticket was given because the fish was out of season. Size don't matter in this case. If the guy was ticketed for shooting an under sized fish that he threw back, then I can see the problem. However, shooting a fish that's not in season deserves a ticket. If you're not sure, don't shoot it.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:01 PM   #3
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Re: So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

I think it has to do with the definition of "take".

A hook and line fisherman (typically) has an opportunity to release an unwanted or "illegal" fish. If he attempts to return the fish to the water quickly and without unnecessary harm, then he has not "taken" a fish.

On the other hand, a spearfisher, who shoots and seriously injures a fish has "taken" it at that moment. It is not necessary to retain possession of the fish to be in violation. If the law were worded otherwise, we could shoot all the jewfish and just leave them on the bottom dead and we would not have "taken" any of the prohibited species.

Lobster divers are considered to have "taken" the lobster when they put it into the bag. Carrying the bag of lobsters to the boat and measuring them there and releasing (unharmed) lobsters is a violation of the game laws if any are short.

We discussed this issue years ago when (on the east coast where the bag limit is one gag) I accidentally shot two gags on one shot placed under a ledge. Supposedly, this was technically illegal.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:24 PM   #4
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Re: So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

IMO

Spearfishermen like to portray themselves as being the most selective, conservative of recreational fishermen.

Not really much of an argument for the mentioned incident when 1.) took incorrect fish out of season. 2.) threw away and wasted the take.


Do we make mistakes yes! But, when a person makes a mistake we must be man enough to admit and face the consequences without question. What I find particularly disconcerting is that the person killed a fish and threw back (wasting) all in the name of not being caught.


Even the simplest of mistakes have consequences, just man up and keep moving on.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:33 PM   #5
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Re: So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

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Originally Posted by 2fishin2 View Post
What I find particularly disconcerting is that the person killed a fish and threw back (wasting) all in the name of not being caught.
It happens more than you want to believe in regular fishing activities, but when it comes to commercial take, there's a huge discrepancy.

Nothing goes to waste. Nothing hurt. Stop the self loathing.
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Old 06-14-2018, 05:39 AM   #6
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Re: So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

Sounds like a legitimate citation to me. Gut hooking a fish is 100% accidental. The diver made the decision to line up and pull the trigger on an out of season fish. Things happen. No big deal. Pay the citation, learn your lesson and move on.
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Old 06-14-2018, 06:08 AM   #7
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Re: So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

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Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
It happens more than you want to believe in regular fishing activities, but when it comes to commercial take, there's a huge discrepancy.

Nothing goes to waste. Nothing hurt. Stop the self loathing.
I understand....a simple fish.

Person made the choice to shoot a fish out of season. He made a choice to throw it away. Every choice rather big or small made, starts with an individual person. Individuals make the first choice.

Some people chose to not throw a single, small cigarette butt on the ground. Some don't. It all starts with a small thing by an individual.

Individuals make the difference.

Learn your lesson and move on is what I say.
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:46 AM   #8
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Re: So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

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Originally Posted by grey2112 View Post
.... on the FWC weekly report....
Maybe it's just lately, but it seems that there is triple the amount of "spearfishing" mentions in the weekly reports. (including freshwater tickets)
Stay legal........
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:43 AM   #9
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Re: So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

This does bring up the question if he hit the grouper as a secondary fish that was behind the legal snapper he shot - similar to Jim's two grouper shot, is he still guilty? What was the outcome on your previous thread?
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Old 06-14-2018, 11:31 AM   #10
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Re: So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

How often do double shots occur? Does the spear shaft usually make it the whole way through a large fish?
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Old 06-14-2018, 12:33 PM   #11
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Re: So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

I spoke with FWC enforcement staff and they confirmed that shooting two gags was not legal, but he said he would not charge me with anything. I laughed really hard on that one.

On Sunday I shot under a ledge a few times and the spear came out with two fish on it twice. Pretty unusual, but it happens.


It is probably better not to freely admit to violation of a law to an enforcement officer, but I have first hand experience in witnessing them lie about statements made to them, so it probably doesn’t matter anyway. It is not illegal for them to lie to you, but it is illegal for you to lie to them- no wonder lawyers recommend not offering any information.
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Old 06-14-2018, 02:00 PM   #12
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Re: So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

A little off topic, but don't think they won't show up off shore. We were out hook and line only for the open of red snapper on Monday 60 miles offshore. We see this tiny little two man boat approaching while we are anchored fishing and are asking each other what the heck is that guy doing out here - not knowing it was FWC. They hustle over to us in an inflatable boat and do a fish check. Around the time they are done, a big FWC ship is visible on the horizon and they get back on board of it. We were 100% legal on fish and other than taking a picture of my registration, they didn't care about anything else.
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Old 06-14-2018, 10:59 PM   #13
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Re: So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

Your story says he was cited for taking a gag out of season. It doesn't say he was cited for the under sized fish. I think that's fair. If it was a double shot situation and he knew gags were closed, the fish would have stayed at the bottom. Since it was floating by the boat, he brought it up and then someone threw it back later.

If I was an FWC officer and if someone was open, honest, and genuinely sorry about a situation like this, and gave me a good explanation, then I'd let them off the hook with a warning for sure. If they were shady or jerks then I would probably cite them like happened here.

Hopefully the judge will be very lenient if the situation truly merits it. It sounds like he was honest about the situation.

I've had to throw my noob buddy's out of season misidentified fish back before...
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Old 06-15-2018, 05:20 AM   #14
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Re: So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

Quote:
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Your story says he was cited for taking a gag out of season. It doesn't say he was cited for the under sized fish. I think that's fair. If it was a double shot situation and he knew gags were closed, the fish would have stayed at the bottom. Since it was floating by the boat, he brought it up and then someone threw it back later.

If I was an FWC officer and if someone was open, honest, and genuinely sorry about a situation like this, and gave me a good explanation, then I'd let them off the hook with a warning for sure. If they were shady or jerks then I would probably cite them like happened here.

Hopefully the judge will be very lenient if the situation truly merits it. It sounds like he was honest about the situation.

I've had to throw my noob buddy's out of season misidentified fish back before...
I don't think it was undersized, just out of season.

Yeah, I've made my newbie mistakes and seen others do it. I've had to tell them to release the fish, even though it was dead, and learn their lesson. And most did - those who didn't weren't invited out on the boat again.

I agree with Tyson - I'd have issued a stern warning if I was FWC and the guys were totally legal with everything else and apologetic.
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Old 06-15-2018, 06:05 AM   #15
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Re: So, question on spearing undersized or out-of-season fish

Accidents on under size fish happen more than out of season fish. The laws on fish lengths keep increasing all the time. The opposite happened with a friend. He threw back 2 gags that were almost 25". He thought this season, they had to be 25" instead of 24". If you "accidentally" get a out of season fish or short. Then, puncture the gas bladder. That way the fish sinks and becomes larger fish food. Hook and liners do it all the time. They have no control on what gets hooked. The guy should of got a warning for being honest and the boat within regulations. Just like cops. Some are ok and others are jerks.
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