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Peterjay

Bull Reds

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Thought you guys might like to see what kind of reds we have around here. The angler in the pic caught this one out of a school in three feet of water, and they were hammering flies. Damn!

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Carson... every year big breeder reds come inshore into our area for about two weeks (the last week of September -the first week of October). They're not quite as big as that big channel bass (excuse me, bull red...) but do get up to nearly 40lbs... Our biggest, in one of the mouths of the Harney River was 35 lbs, our best on fly between 20 and 25lbs. Not bad for the coast of the Everglades.... Small groups of them break away from the big breeding schools out in the Gulf and for a week or two prowl mangrove shorelines like small sharks... right when there are clouds of fully mature white baits along every shoreline all along the gulf side of the 'glades.

 

The last time I ran into them, a few years back, we hooked two on fly just before a bunch of medium sized bull sharks jumped the reds... For a moment there it was pure pandemonium with reds and sharks actually running into my skiff as the one was trying to keep from being eaten by the other. Needless to say our two hooked fish quickly found ways to get free and just scram....

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We get the big reds in the 30-50 pound range from late April-June and again in the fall, although there are always some around during the summer. A neighbor of mine got a 47-pounder (estimated from measurements) in August last year on a spoon that was bigger than most of the stripers I've seen lately. I haven't heard them called channel bass anywhere but the Carolinas - certainly not here. They've been red drum or just reds (especially with the younger crowd) in this neck of the woods as long as I can remember. The smaller ones that come onto the shallow flats are puppy drum or just pups. The big ones are called bulls. No matter - same fish, different names. Their abundance is living proof that slot limits work. Everything else is on the decline, but the reds are thriving.

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Bob, did not know that. Will definitely give it a try and let you know how that goes...

 

I think slot limits are great, just wish that more people followed them. Also, an estimated 17,000 snook from Florida alone die from mishandling techniques. That isn't very good, especially now when we have a lot more research that shows how to properly how to handle a fish.

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Flats, I think a lot of people mirror what they see on TV, and all too often, what they see is some knucklehead abusing a fish that should never been taken out of the water to begin with. I don't know anything about snook, but I've seen plenty of fragile fish like false albacore killed for the sake of a grip & grin. I'd rather see somebody take a fish home and eat it than kill or maim it, then dump it back.

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Completely agree. People tend to mimic what the "famous guys" do, and what you see on the TV shows is not a good example of fish handling. Not on every show, but too many in my opinion...

 

I always make it a point of supporting the fish's weight with 2 hands, 1 in the mouth/under the pec fin(never in the gills for releasing) and the other hand under or around the tail. I think that's the safest way, instead of all this one-handed stuff holding the fish at a 60degree angle.

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"... 17,000 snook from Florida alone die from mishandling techniques ..."

 

Not doubting you, Flats ... but where'd you get this statistic? I can't find reference to this number.

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Damn thats a slob! I remember reading an article about a guy who caught a 90+ pounder off the beach somewhere up that way. Might have been in the Carolinas, cant remember. Thing didnt even look like a red

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...the reds most of us catch are just babies.... They do get much, much bigger (and when they get big they go offshore for spawning purposes...).

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Their life cycle is fascinating; the exact opposite of striped bass. When the immature stripers are heading out, the immature reds are heading in. Their ranges overlap here; I've caught stripers and reds within a few minutes of each other. There's a place right up the road where there are bunch of buildings right on the river; they keep crabs there until they molt, and the tank drainage and discarded shells attract everything from minnows to flounder to trout & reds to the occasional bull shark. When the tide bottoms out and there's no water on the flats, it's a great place to look for reds. They hang in the channel and make lightning raids on the minnows that hang along the banks. Completely different from flats fishing, but great fun.

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It is estimated to be 27,000 actually, instead of 17,000. No Bueno. Here's the link -

https://www.saltstrong.com/articles/how-to-catch-and-release-snook/

 

I really wish that number were much, much lower than it is, but from I what see is that barely anyone handles them properly. I am not perfect and sometimes should do better handling with exotics, but that one-handed lipping crap especially with those bigger snook has seriously got to stop.

 

Up to us if the next generation(s) are able to catch snook frequently like we are able to.

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While I agree that many fish are improperly handled, I do not agree with "panic number estimates".

 

The first number of 17,000 fish sounded like a lot. 27,000 sounds like even more. But then, the article goes on and states that number is, "estimated 2.13% cryptic mortality rate".

 

That means the 27,000 is not such a large number, by comparison. It's also an estimate. It's like the old adage, "For every cockroach you see, there's 1000 of them you don't." It's a bogus number, unproven but guaranteed to induce panic in the uneducated.

 

Flats, I am not arguing with you ... but it goes to the job you're now hired to do. If you throw "scare tactic" numbers at your customers, they won't be your customers for long. 2.13% sounds bad enough without trying to convince your customers to quit fishing altogether.

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