Tackle shops, restaurants, charter businesses, sources of lodging, seafood houses and more may become just a memory if amendment 17 comes to pass.
By: Captain Jim Wormhoudt
Cleansweep Fishing Charters
Many years ago my father took me ”deep sea” fishing aboard the ”Azalea Queen” bottom fishing vessel. She was one of four such Head boats that worked out of Carrabelle, Florida back in the 1960s. We made that voyage several times together over the years catching grouper, snapper and a variety of other species that abound in the Gulf of Mexico, a far cry from the rivers and farm ponds I fished as a youth.
I made up my mind during those wonderful trips that I would live in Florida and fish here all my adult life. Those plans came to fruition and for the last thirty years, I have been bottom fishing on beautiful bluebird days in December with family friends and clients out of Amelia Island. These trips are a family tradition now carried out almost twelve months a year, high-lighted by the fact that you never know what surprise you are going to pull up from the bottom or what exhilarating sight you may see out in the blue water. Whales, monster sharks and giant sunfish are not uncommon.
The last few years have been banner years for Snapper. Catches not seen since the glory days I recollect from the 1960s. Snapper are everywhere! The dream however, is about to become a nightmare for all who enjoy catching their own bottom fish and for many unfortunate fishing related businesses who rely on Snapper, Grouper and Sea bass. Tackle shops, restaurants, charter businesses, sources of lodging, seafood houses and more, may become just a memory if amendment 17 which proposes closure of huge areas from South Carolina to south Florida for snapper fishing comes to pass. Amendment 16, banning shallow water grouper fishing for four months is set to take affect January first 2010. If you value the right to fish offshore contact your representatives in the senate and congress and tell them to support the federal bill HR1584,the FLEXABILITY IN REBUILDING AMERICAN FISHERIES act.
In a nutshell there are those who will not rest until there are no hooks ever in the water and eventually they will have their way unless we let them know that we value our God given right to catch and eat local fish. Let’s go fishing while we can!
Captain Jim Wormhoudt owns CleanSweep Fishing Charters, give him a call at 904-753-0882.