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Net Scarred Trout

Posted: January 14th, 2020, 8:26 pm
by fly n fish
Hey folks! Been a member for a number of years and have enjoyed the forum. I am conservation minded when it comes to our unique Salt Marsh fishery here on the Forgotten Coast. Recently, I was creek fishing on the St. Marks Refuge (in the salt marsh) and I caught 2 small trout (about 12-14") that had fresh net scars all over them. Several years ago in the same creek the same thing happened but I don't recall the time of year. I contacted a FWC officer that I know and asked it was legal to net and keep Sea Trout or any game fish for that matter. He said no gill nets are allowed. If there is illegal netting going on I'd like to see it end. Perhaps you would too. So.... I'd like to ask if anyone else has seen the clearly scarred fish?? Our resource is too precious for this.

Re: Net Scarred Trout

Posted: January 14th, 2020, 9:31 pm
by DixieReb
I caught a trout in the Aucilla about a month ago that had net marks on it. We used to see a lot more of it, but illegal netting is probably still being done. I hope they catch them, it's not right.

Re: Net Scarred Trout

Posted: January 14th, 2020, 10:41 pm
by silverking
Yes, unfortunately there is still outlaw netting going on. It's not as bad as previously yet still a problem nonetheless. Many of the perpetrators have multiple prior fishing violations, felony convictions and other serious criminal records, but sympathetic judges, hard-to-prove evidence and certain coastal community figures who continue to muddy the legal system with frivolous lawsuits compound the problem.

Best suggestion is to keep your eyes open and document all you can with personal safety in mind. Try to get boat hull numbers and descriptions if you see illegal activity (with photos if possible) and report it to FWC law enforcement. Report net-scarred catches like you found. They may not be able to make cases immediately but it documents patterns and suspects. FWC does have skiff, airboats, night vision capability, helicopters and undercover officers that they can utilize to make strong cases and earn convictions with public assistance.

I wish these illegal netters would transition to legal means to earn decent livings on the water. It is possible. Those include cast-netting, legal seines, aquaculture, eco-tourism and guiding. But these criminals chose instead to ravage a public-owned resource for the sake of a few bucks and law-abiding sportsmen and women are made to suffer the consequences.

Re: Net Scarred Trout

Posted: January 15th, 2020, 8:36 am
by Steve Stinson
I've released some net scarred trout in the Econfina in recent weeks. Not sure if they were previously release from legal seine nets or if poachers are back at work over night.