Changes that add language to the current statewide snagging definition for tarpon and modify what types of gear can be used when fishing in Boca Grande Pass went into effect on Nov. 1.
These changes provide further protection for this iconic fish.
The first part of the adopted changes includes adding language to the snagging definition to prohibit catching or attempting to catch tarpon that have not been attracted or enticed to strike an angler's gear. This change applies to tarpon fishing statewide.
The current definition for snagging or snatch-hooking is the intentional catch of a fish by any device intended to impale or hook the fish by any part of its body other than the mouth. Adding language specifying that gear must entice the fish to strike with, and become hooked in, its mouth will help further protect tarpon from the act of snagging.
The second part of the changes prohibits fishing with gear that has a weight attached to a hook, artificial fly or lure in such a way that the weight hangs lower than the hook when the line or leader is suspended vertically from the rod (see photo). This change applies to fishing for all species year-round within Boca Grande Pass.
If this prohibited gear is on board a fishing vessel while inside the boundaries of the pass, it cannot be attached to any rod, line or leader and must be stowed. This change further reduces the likelihood that tarpon in Boca Grande Pass will be snagged and provided further protection for tarpon.