This and that about fishing
J. Daniel Pearson
Under the Bobber
I have a hodgepodge of topics this week, so let’s take a quick spin around the lakes….
Reader Gerry Fawley sent me a note after the column on invasive species recently and made some great points.
Gerry noted that it is a much bigger problem then I mentioned and I tend to agree with him.
Fawley said he thought he actually caught a piranha a few years ago but it was later identified by the Florida Wildlife Commission as a Red Bellied Pacu, which is indeed a member of the piranha family.
The fish weighed in excess of 3 pounds and FWC officials told him it most likely was released from someone’s aquarium.
In addition, Fawley noted that the retention ponds around his neighborhoods are filled with armored catfish.
“They are so thick you can see them anywhere around the pond,” Fawley said. “You have to wonder whether these invasive species are competing for food with the native species.”
I have seen armored catfish in Fish Lake as well as several golf course ponds.
Asian Carp are spreading throughout the United States and they are a real problem for boaters, as these large fish tend to be spooked by approaching boats and become airborne. There have been reports of people being seriously injured by these “flying” fish.
Fawley also noted that not all invasive species are necessarily bad.
Zebra mussels are now actually being credited with improving the water quality in the Great Lakes. Peacock Bass are a non-native species that have become a favorite target of South Florida anglers.
Still, the fact is that many of these species do create problem and a lot of those issues have been caused by citizens releasing unwanted aquarium contents in our waters.
My good friend Martin Mann from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sent me a correction for a recent column about fighting invasive plants on Lake Toho. Those floating harvester boats pictured with that column are not cutting hydrilla.
Mann said those machines are actually removing Ludwigia Grandiflora, a bushy emergent plant that if left unchecked will expand and take over the Kissimmee grass.
Mann said that the “harvesters are an expensive, inefficient way to address hydrilla; but are extremely effective on larger, denser emergents like the Ludwigia.”
Mann said that hydrilla treatment is still a big issue on Lake Toho and that problem is being addressed.
Editor’s note: The photo in that column was taken from the FWC website and it was not intended to illustrate hydrilla removal on Lake Toho or anywhere on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.
It was simply a visual example of the work that is required to remove any invasive species from a Florida water body.
Bass regulation change:
Reader Alba Albias sent me a note saying that he is in favor of the new proposed regulation to keep only one bass over 16 inches.
Albas describes himself as a meat fisherman who generally fishes about 10-12 times a year. He says he rarely keeps bass larger than 4 pounds unless they are gut-hooked and he feels that they will not survive.
One point he makes is that tournament fishermen should not be exempt from any regulation.
“Just because they are released alive doesn’t mean they are going to be alive a few days later. I think plenty of large tournament bass end of up dying. Seems like everyone should abide by the same rules.”
For me, there has to be a balance.
Large tournaments are certainly good for the economy and I know that most tournament organizers do everything in their power to make sure the bass are released alive and well.
Looking for some help:
I am interested in doing a column on bass fishing in late summer.
I would love to hear from guides and other experts on their tips for catching bass when the water is warm and the days are hot.
Send me your thoughts on what different techniques you use when the water warms up and any other warm weather fishing techniques to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And as always, I wish you tight lines and good fishing.