GONE COASTAL: Helping your fish survive helps you

Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 20:34 PM.

Until recently, it has been required to have and use venting tools when fishing for reef fish in the Gulf, but this requirement was removed in federal waters last year and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted to remove the requirement in state waters last November. The rule change should go in effect around the end of the month.

The removal of this rule will give anglers the ability to choose the best method to maximize survival of released fish.

For example, on a hot summer day, using a descending device might be a better option because you are quickly returning the fish to the cooler water at the bottom.

And while venting, when done correctly can help, not all fish need to be vented.

Both tools have advantages and disadvantages.

Hit a hot spot? It is possible to vent and release several fish in the same amount of time it would take to descend a single fish. Then again, not everyone feels confident on when, where and how to vent. Going too deep or venting in the wrong place can cause more damage than good.

But you also need to know what you are doing when using a descending device. If done incorrectly, the fish may come loose too soon. Descending devices also can require the dedication of a rod, which is used to bring the descending device down and back up again.



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