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Old 11-29-2016, 07:46 AM   #31
diverlen
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Re: Hogfish

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Originally Posted by RichT View Post
Hogfish have been studied extensively by really good scientists and not people with an agenda FYI. In fact... a lot of really good spearfisherman have/have been collecting the data for these scientist for many years.
I should know as I was one of them!

I would ask people to take a few minutes to get familiar with the multiple scientific papers from many different sources that say hogfish in certain locations are in serious trouble.
And FYI, they don't just study hogfish by asking people what they caught!
They look at a variety of factors that include age,growth,fecundity, as well as population dynamics.

Like Kenny said, part of the problem is perception. Many people who have been shooting in the Keys and South Florida have no idea what it was like 20+ years ago.

Hell... I stopped going to the keys 20 years ago because it was already shot out then compared to what it was when I was younger!
And when I was younger the guys who were older than me said it was nothing compared to when they were younger!
Now... think about the huge population boom South Florida has seen in the last 30 years and think about how modern electronics have completely changed the game.

Nobody likes more regulation but something needs to be done unfortunately...
This is well said. Nobody likes rules but in this case, they are long overdue. I fully support the new regulations even though they will decrease my catch. Bottom line, people are greedy and will destroy everything to get that last one in the bag
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Old 11-29-2016, 07:59 AM   #32
slowboat
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Re: Hogfish

KMoose brings up a good point regarding sales , just 10 years ago almost all hogfish harvested in the Keys , actually stayed in the Keys and it was sustainable , but when the demographic of harvesters and buyers began to change , most coming from Miami and our fish began being exported to Miami , the pressure ramped up.
The Keys can never feed the amount of people who desire seafood from Miami , it is mathematically impossible .
Being the "bread basket" for Miami is a losing endeavor .
But yet it is happening , first came some amazing freedivers who came and dominated the outer bar with their skills ,
Before their arrival there were actually few full time spear fishermen , and while good we were not as good as the Miami crew .
We would get on a spot , get 3 out 5 groupers and move on (using tanks)
There were always fish left on the spots , we did not feel pressure to take them all , since we actually lived here and could return often . We were also taught never to over work a spot , "fish attract fish " was the adage , and it works well .
Not the case with our Miami crew , they fished here now , but still lived in Miami ; and felt the need to "load the boat" for a profitable trip, so every grouper is harvested off the spot. Not thinking about the future trips but just the "immediate now".
A new to here "local" showed them the outer bar , it bit him in the ass also.
Soon the Miami crew had their own boats and permits and did not need that person anymore.
The closure screwed things up even more , the closed period did not include the month of May when they were still spawning , so on the 1st of May , while the groupers are still aggregating and full of roe , they die . 4 months of time being patient wasted in a few opening days. the goal was releasing fertilized eggs and it did not come to pass.
This affected other aspects of the grouper fishery also, the groupers who would have swam away after spawning , either going deep or migrating to the inshore areas and providing a steady supply of fish throughout the summer.
Those fish did not show up since they were already in a cooler.
Then the Miami yellowtail boats showed up using a method called "power chumming"
100 lbs of chum at a time does something to fish that is outrageous.
They feed like there is no tomorrow and that is their fate, ungutted they are shipped to
Miami , one boat just pulled 980 lbs of yellowtail in 4 hours .
Insane , the method also had other results , the Bermuda chub population EXPLODED.
Where we used to see just a few , no bigger than your hand , they are now trash can lid size and on each spot by the hundreds , dominating the food sources and displacing the yellowtails and blue runners . Aggressive and willing to swim farther for food.
Answer by the powerchummers ? Add more chum , so while the chubs are on the bag you can get a bait out to the yellowtails.
Then the sharks came , where you used to see a few sharks a year , they live there constantly , and are aggressive towards divers.
So , many local divers started working farther inshore , I targeted hogfish since they are plentiful in the area I fish , but apparently not elsewhere.
So , yes , changing the markets that were sold to , changed our fishery and the demographic fishing it.
The establishment of the "Industry " of ECO politics by the arrogantly unqualified , who fail to have any real experience has damaged the fishery even more ,
From the incomplete spawn season for grouper doing more damage than good, now hogfish are open during mini season and Sanctuary areas that cause fishermen to concentrate rather than spread out their efforts , ineffective rules and lack of enforcement of existing ones .
They sit in their offices and make up more rules based on speculation .
Ignore fishermen with decades of practical experience because they don't have a degree.
All I can say is I am grateful I got to fish before all these changes happened .
So , yes , changing the buyers , changed the fishery.
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Old 11-29-2016, 08:13 AM   #33
slowboat
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Re: Hogfish

Johnoly , while I have people I point the finger at for this legislation , but I might be unfamiliar with the unknown person you referenced .
Kick us a name , so when I speak with some these researchers I can watch what I say.
I know one researcher named "Melissa Rekes or Reyes " who expressed an overt interest in where I fish hogs . She is a young biologist for FWC with an arrogant attitude who believes she knows what is good for us all .
She still gets paid to produce bad science , ironically paid with our taxes.
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Old 11-29-2016, 01:22 PM   #34
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Re: Hogfish

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Originally Posted by slowboat View Post
KMoose brings up a good point regarding sales , just 10 years ago almost all hogfish harvested in the Keys , actually stayed in the Keys and it was sustainable , but when the demographic of harvesters and buyers began to change , most coming from Miami and our fish began being exported to Miami , the pressure ramped up.
The Keys can never feed the amount of people who desire seafood from Miami , it is mathematically impossible .
Being the "bread basket" for Miami is a losing endeavor .
But yet it is happening , first came some amazing freedivers who came and dominated the outer bar with their skills ,
Before their arrival there were actually few full time spear fishermen , and while good we were not as good as the Miami crew .
We would get on a spot , get 3 out 5 groupers and move on (using tanks)
There were always fish left on the spots , we did not feel pressure to take them all , since we actually lived here and could return often . We were also taught never to over work a spot , "fish attract fish " was the adage , and it works well .
Not the case with our Miami crew , they fished here now , but still lived in Miami ; and felt the need to "load the boat" for a profitable trip, so every grouper is harvested off the spot. Not thinking about the future trips but just the "immediate now".
A new to here "local" showed them the outer bar , it bit him in the ass also.
Soon the Miami crew had their own boats and permits and did not need that person anymore.
The closure screwed things up even more , the closed period did not include the month of May when they were still spawning , so on the 1st of May , while the groupers are still aggregating and full of roe , they die . 4 months of time being patient wasted in a few opening days. the goal was releasing fertilized eggs and it did not come to pass.
This affected other aspects of the grouper fishery also, the groupers who would have swam away after spawning , either going deep or migrating to the inshore areas and providing a steady supply of fish throughout the summer.
Those fish did not show up since they were already in a cooler.
Then the Miami yellowtail boats showed up using a method called "power chumming"
100 lbs of chum at a time does something to fish that is outrageous.
They feed like there is no tomorrow and that is their fate, ungutted they are shipped to
Miami , one boat just pulled 980 lbs of yellowtail in 4 hours .
Insane , the method also had other results , the Bermuda chub population EXPLODED.
Where we used to see just a few , no bigger than your hand , they are now trash can lid size and on each spot by the hundreds , dominating the food sources and displacing the yellowtails and blue runners . Aggressive and willing to swim farther for food.
Answer by the powerchummers ? Add more chum , so while the chubs are on the bag you can get a bait out to the yellowtails.
Then the sharks came , where you used to see a few sharks a year , they live there constantly , and are aggressive towards divers.
So , many local divers started working farther inshore , I targeted hogfish since they are plentiful in the area I fish , but apparently not elsewhere.
So , yes , changing the markets that were sold to , changed our fishery and the demographic fishing it.
The establishment of the "Industry " of ECO politics by the arrogantly unqualified , who fail to have any real experience has damaged the fishery even more ,
From the incomplete spawn season for grouper doing more damage than good, now hogfish are open during mini season and Sanctuary areas that cause fishermen to concentrate rather than spread out their efforts , ineffective rules and lack of enforcement of existing ones .
They sit in their offices and make up more rules based on speculation .
Ignore fishermen with decades of practical experience because they don't have a degree.
All I can say is I am grateful I got to fish before all these changes happened .
So , yes , changing the buyers , changed the fishery.
We were some of the first freediver groups from Miami to work Hawks all the way west through the Marquesas in the mid 70s. We were just weekend warrior sporties doing exactly as described. It was what seemed like an endless bounty back then that we basically had all to ourselves. No laws were broken because there were no laws nor fishery management. The fish house on KW loved us and supplied us with ice, and supplies. Didn't pay much but it covered all the expenses for the trip so we thought it was great.

I'm not ashamed of any of the spearing we did, but my eyes are wide open as I have been doing this for a long time and have seen where this road goes. We do need to work together, we do need to keep a common agenda even if it doesn't exactly fit our personal one. Bottom line is we have to protect what we have left at all costs. If we are the users, the harvesters, and the stewards of what we have left we are the gatekeepers and the ones that are responsible to drive equitable harvest across the user groups without personal prejudice or interest. We haven't done that and the world has watched us do nothing but bitch like spoiled children. We earned that and the broken but effective management we are getting now.

So how do we get choices in fishery management back? Simple by standing together and offering more back considering we "know better" then the scientists. Why didn't we offer to push back from the table before higher authority closed the kitchen? What have we offered??? Insults? General crybaby bitching? Blaming others? How come we didn't come together and offer a closed season before studies even started?!!! If we are so smart, why do we know it's a good idea not to shoot during the spawn but did it anyway?

We all made the bed we are lying in and I am no less guilty than anyone else. And as a good friend has always said "Pigs get fat and Hogs get slaughtered".... The inherent drive to fill the coolers every trip has led us to the smokehouse.
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Old 11-29-2016, 05:56 PM   #35
slowboat
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Re: Hogfish

Actually a few of us did , we ask for the mutton spawn limit be reduced ;
that simple request turned into a messy fight over Western dry rocks .
But we have been asking for an adjustment to the grouper season closure since the closure was implemented.
For the first 3 years I reported the discrepancy , the FWC told me I was witnessing an "anomaly " even had my pic holding grouper roe in the Citizen news paper , with the biologists "conclusion " in the article.
Now others have voiced the same opinion at meetings ,
maybe they will give us Jan back and take May , but I wouldn't count on it in the near future.
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Old 01-02-2017, 05:38 PM   #36
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Re: Hogfish

I am surprised at the complaining about this.

A 12 inch hog is an absolute embarrassment to have on board. Well, maybe if you have only been spearfishing for 10 or 15 years, you wouldn't know that that is really a baby.

I really don't think a 16" hog is worth shooting, and I'm not a snob. I have just been diving since the late 70's, so I know what the population can look like.

When the population recovers, you guys will be happy seeing bigger fish and there will be a lot more of them.

I am actually really happy about these regulations. The season will be a pain, but its the price to be paid for the damage done. When the population recovers, maybe they will open up the season, but until then, I have no problem with it.

Some people can self govern and not shoot little ones, or kill all the fish on a spot. Others, can't and need a line drawn in the sand.

It's high time this was done. Now I won't have to puke every time a see someone with a juvenile hog picture.

If it weren't for the regulations, people would dynamite the reefs. Remember people using bleach?
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Old 01-02-2017, 05:43 PM   #37
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Re: Hogfish

I mean, what is too small for you? Think about it. Why are people upset with 16 inches?

I think its because they don't see many that are 16" or bigger. Well, if there were a lot that size, I don't think anyone would mind.

So, when the population average recovers to that range and there are 16 inchers around, I don't think people will be so put out. I just can't see shooting babies and anything short of 16 really is a baby.

Well, that's my opinion, and I am sure I will get flamed, but if these regs had been in place all along, then there would sure be a lot more hogs of decent size around.

Last edited by Native Diver; 01-02-2017 at 05:44 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-02-2017, 06:06 PM   #38
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Re: Hogfish

Just got back from a trip to south Florida and dove four separate times, all free diving. Each dive lasted for 3-4 hours. I dove with a buddy 3 of the four times.

Throughout all four dives, neither of us saw a single hogfish. I realize I'm an out of state guy (my buddy is a local), and we weren't hitting any special or secret places (you shouldn't have to hit a secret spot to find a fish), but its disgusting how decimated the hogfish stock is.

Its not like we couldn't find a legal fish. We didn't see a single hog. No babies. No borderline legal fish. Nothing. And the weather was crap for over a week before my dives, so there was zero fishing pressure on the reef...
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Old 01-03-2017, 05:45 AM   #39
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Re: Hogfish

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Originally Posted by Native Diver View Post
I mean, what is too small for you? Think about it. Why are people upset with 16 inches?

I think its because they don't see many that are 16" or bigger. Well, if there were a lot that size, I don't think anyone would mind.

So, when the population average recovers to that range and there are 16 inchers around, I don't think people will be so put out. I just can't see shooting babies and anything short of 16 really is a baby.

Well, that's my opinion, and I am sure I will get flamed, but if these regs had been in place all along, then there would sure be a lot more hogs of decent size around.

I dont know if you read through this all or just skimmed though, but most people are all for raising the size limit to 16" it's just that this should have been done along time ago (I've wrote letters since I was in middle school). People are just upset with the knee jerk reaction, and a very shitty stock analysis. Commercial guys are getting screwed when they shot far hog fish relative to the recreational sector who is also probably shooting a majority of the 12" hogs
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Old 01-03-2017, 05:53 AM   #40
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Re: Hogfish

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Originally Posted by Fins369 View Post
Just got back from a trip to south Florida and dove four separate times, all free diving. Each dive lasted for 3-4 hours. I dove with a buddy 3 of the four times.

Throughout all four dives, neither of us saw a single hogfish. I realize I'm an out of state guy (my buddy is a local), and we weren't hitting any special or secret places (you shouldn't have to hit a secret spot to find a fish), but its disgusting how decimated the hogfish stock is.

Its not like we couldn't find a legal fish. We didn't see a single hog. No babies. No borderline legal fish. Nothing. And the weather was crap for over a week before my dives, so there was zero fishing pressure on the reef...
Funny, I'm in the Florida keys right now and have dove 8 days since I got
down on the 20th and have had no problem finding hogs. I've been trying to shoot strictly 16 inchers and up to see how good my eye is and I have only shot a few under so I guess the transition will be smooth. In some of these areas I was able to fill my box in just 2 hours catching the tide. Shit we went on another trip the other day and we didn't shoot a hog under 5 pounds, biggest was 12 pounds. lets just say if I had a 25 pound trip limit for those trips I would have been back home very soon.
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:37 AM   #41
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Re: Hogfish

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Originally Posted by kwyoungspear View Post
Funny, I'm in the Florida keys right now and have dove 8 days since I got
down on the 20th and have had no problem finding hogs. I've been trying to shoot strictly 16 inchers and up to see how good my eye is and I have only shot a few under so I guess the transition will be smooth. In some of these areas I was able to fill my box in just 2 hours catching the tide. Shit we went on another trip the other day and we didn't shoot a hog under 5 pounds, biggest was 12 pounds. lets just say if I had a 25 pound trip limit for those trips I would have been back home very soon.
I agree. We dove Thursday and Friday and there were no shortage of 12" hogs. The viz sucked and we could have had 20 keeper hogs in the boat in no time. We actually chose not to because the difference in meat from a 12" hog to a 14" is double. From a 14" to 16" is double again. Shit, the meat on a 12" lion fish is double that of a 12" hog. We shot a few hogs, mutton, and lions, yj, etc.
There is gonna be a lot of floating hog fish when the season opens.
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Old 01-03-2017, 05:17 PM   #42
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Re: Hogfish

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Originally Posted by kwyoungspear View Post
Funny, I'm in the Florida keys right now and have dove 8 days since I got
down on the 20th and have had no problem finding hogs. I've been trying to shoot strictly 16 inchers and up to see how good my eye is and I have only shot a few under so I guess the transition will be smooth. In some of these areas I was able to fill my box in just 2 hours catching the tide. Shit we went on another trip the other day and we didn't shoot a hog under 5 pounds, biggest was 12 pounds. lets just say if I had a 25 pound trip limit for those trips I would have been back home very soon.
I want to clarify I was slightly north of Fort Lauderdale. It's no secret the population is a little better in the Keys. With that said, the fish stock should be infinitely better on the East Coast of Florida, and definitely is no where near what it used to be in the Keys.

These regulations are long overdue.
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:22 AM   #43
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Re: Hogfish

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I agree. We dove Thursday and Friday and there were no shortage of 12" hogs. The viz sucked and we could have had 20 keeper hogs in the boat in no time. We actually chose not to because the difference in meat from a 12" hog to a 14" is double. From a 14" to 16" is double again. Shit, the meat on a 12" lion fish is double that of a 12" hog. We shot a few hogs, mutton, and lions, yj, etc.
There is gonna be a lot of floating hog fish when the season opens.
Actually the season is still open in Atlantic waters.
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Old 01-17-2017, 03:44 PM   #44
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Re: Hogfish

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I want to clarify I was slightly north of Fort Lauderdale. It's no secret the population is a little better in the Keys. With that said, the fish stock should be infinitely better on the East Coast of Florida, and definitely is no where near what it used to be in the Keys.

These regulations are long overdue.
If you dove for 16 hours in Lauderdale and didn't see a hog, you're doing something wrong or incredibly unlucky. Lauderdale is my normal diving spot. There's a lot of hogs around this time of year, but they're mostly small. What were you diving on? What depths?
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:35 PM   #45
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Re: Hogfish

Is Hog season actually closed? I've from some it is others say it is not?
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