“Back when I was growing up in Florida, we could catch 50 to 100 fish a day during Mackerel runs, and we would keep every last one. I remember it vividly because — as the oldest — I had to clean most of those fish.
I also remember the fishing guides in Crystal River would catch and keep 100 or more Speckled Trout. Large stringers of trophy Largemouth Bass were commonplace. There were NO limits. To us, the waters flowed with unlimited fish.
Commercial and recreational fishing, exploding populations, toxic alga blooms, Red Tide, industrial and urban runoff, and countless pollutants have taken a toll on Florida’s fisheries. In less than one lifetime, I have seen “No Limits” go to ever-shrinking slot size and number of fish allowed per person. One wonders if our grandchildren will see a lottery system for fishing licenses.
So, what can we do to save the sport we love for the next generation? We could get involved with conservation organizations like CCA (Coastal Conservation Association). We could encourage our elected representatives to address pollution of our waterways. And, oh yes, we can all do our individual part by doing the least possible harm to the fish we catch and release. I believe that using OLPHARTS circle hooks will go a long way toward this goal.
To paraphrase a famous quote, a fish is far too valuable to only be caught once.”