By Jonie Maschek
It was back in 1991 a federal law was passed that recreational boats be charged a decal fee, for all boats over 16 feet.
Back in 1974 no licenses were required for sport fishing,
Daily bag limit on snook in 1974 was four. Annual fee for fishing licenses was three dollars for residents and eight dollars for non residents.
In 1989 the first Little Manatee River cleanup by an organized group of anglers was held.
In April 1990 the group of anglers called The Ruskin Reelers had a shark tournament.
Another law passed in 1991 concerned anchoring your boat. You now must be leery of anchoring in a quiet bay, as dozens of counties and cities have passed ordinances outlawing anchorage. In 1994 there was concern about problems of agricultural plastics in the Little Manatee River. The black plastic used by farmers can now be burned and we no longer have a problem with it in the rivers.
In 1991 The Little Manatee Isles Mobile Park had a fish fry for the park residents. This became an annual event with the fish furnished by the anglers in the park.
In the 1988 I wrote an article about the deploring look of Egmont Key and gained response from the state of Florida, who has now taken it over for a public park.
I wrote about the FCA Polaroid Photo All Release Challenge Fishing Tournament at Bahia Beach, which gained national recognition for not killing fish but taking pictures of fish and releasing them. This was in 1989.
Back in 1988 I tried in vain to get a bridge tender for the south 41 bridge at the railroad span.
We have seen many changes in the last 15 years.
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One of the biggest holidays of the year is one week away.
Don't forget gifts for the angler. Your children or grandchildren will enjoy receiving their first fishing: pole. They are the anglers of tomorrow.
Tackle boxes make a great gift for the young and the old. Most anglers have their tackle boxes loaded, and some have dozens of hooks and lures that they haven't used in years.
For those who don't have their own waterfront and perhaps go to the park, makes an excellent gift.
Start your children out with a bait net. Practice casting it in your back yard until the skill is mastered.
A cooler on wheels for those who fish the piers will be appreciated.
A new line for those who haven't changed their lines on their poles this year. You surely have a frayed line by now and that is why you are losing your catch.
A new pair of polaroid glasses to keep the sun glare from your eyes and you also can see the fish in the water better is also a great gift.
A new cap with your favorite catch on it, or a snook or trout shirt is a must.
A book on how to make a catch, a colored chart of various fish caught in our waterways, waterproof maps of Tampa Bay, new boat cushions, new rods, reels, lures, jigs, hooks, artificial bait, are gifts you can find at your local bait shop for that special angler in your life.
Catches have been great as the cooler weather has set in. Remember you can't make a catch if you don't drop a line.