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Fishtales

Do You Need a License?
By Jonie Maschek
Sep 11, 2008 - 10:15:07 AM

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I get mail, and this week a question came about jellyfish. Jellyfish look like a big gooey glob of clear jelly. They are not jelly or fish. They are transparent sea creatures, made almost entirely of water making them look like an upside down bowl with a bunch of strings dangling from it. They come in all sizes from a tiny one that is the size of a raindrop to one that is a whopper stretching from 8 to 12 feet.
Those little strings dangling down are called tentacles which can grow from 50 to 100 feet long. These tentacles have a poisonous stinger on the end of them which can stun fish or prey. They can also wrap the tentacles around the ­victim and hold on to him before the kill. It is hard to believe that they have a mouth and a stomach, but they do.
Pelicans looking for food or a safe haven from storm. Photo by Jonie Maschek

Questions about licenses to fish is a topic that I get more phone calls on than any other. At the top of the list is:
When do I need a license?
Let me list the situations you do not need a license.
• Under 16 years of age
• Florida resident fishing from a pier, bridge, dock, jetty, any structure fixed to land, who is fishing for recreational purposes
• On a charter boat whose ­captain has a license
• Holder of a saltwater products license
• 65 Years or older with proof of age and residency
• Florida resident who has proof  of permanent disability
• Any person who has been ­accepted as a client for developmental services by the Department of Children and Family Services with Department proof
• Florida resident fishing for saltwater fish in freshwater from land or structure that is fixed to land
• Florida resident who is fishing for mullet in fresh water with valid Florida freshwater fishing license
• Non-resident fishing from a pier who has a valid pier saltwater fishing license
• Florida resident who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, who is not stationed in our state, while on leave for 30 days or less must show valid orders. This does not include family members.
You do need a license if you do not fit any of the above. There is a separate license for salt and fresh water.
A combined license for Florida resident fishing fresh and salt­water is $32.50. A non-resident license for 3 days is $17; 7 days is $30; and 1 year is $47. A Florida resident is any person who has resided in Florida six continuous months prior to applying or claiming Florida their home.
Tropical storms have brought a halt to the majority of charters and recreational anglers this week.
Around the bait shops, anglers are talking about the weather. “Man, it has rained every day this week.” “Yah, there is no way you can catch fish in this rain.” It has not been good for the bait shops this past week. The owners say it is the weather that is keeping the fishermen home. Gas has come down some, but a lot of guys have their boat in drydock, or have it up for sale. Some of the bait shops are on the real estate market also.
There is a good side to all of this rain. Lakes, phosphate pits, ponds, the Kissimmee chain and Lake Okeechobee were big winners when the tropical storms blew through, increasing the water level of all and making for better fishing.
I had a report from a trio of ­anglers who braved the falling ­water from the sky and the wind by fishing in the fresh water of the upper Little Manatee. Using plastic worms they caught enough fresh water catfish for their football tailgate party.
Mangrove snapper are in the ship channels and one angler tells us that they won’t get any better. Fish for mangrove snapper while they are still in our area waters.
Amberjack schools are invading our waterways. Lots of birds are following these schools, and on a sunny day you can also see boats chasing the school of jacks. The birds are after the bait fish that the amberjacks leave behind.
The anglers in the boats are ­trying to set their hooks in an amber­jack, which isn’t easy to do. If you drop a line in the school, they will more than likely cut your line. Toss your bait ahead of the school and you might catch one.
Redfish are still in the swim, in the canals, in the rivers, and in the bay. Landlubbers are landing sheepshead from piers and a few seatrout. Snook catches have been slow, but they were plentiful ­before the season opened.
Those fishing freshwater lakes are reporting bluegill plentiful and stump knockers galore. These are fun to catch, but it takes more than a few for your dinner table. A few mackerel catches have filtered in this week.
Mullet have come back, or so I have been told, but I have yet to see them jumping in the Little Manatee as they did a year or so ago. A stray flounder or two have been caught this week.
For a wet windy week, fishing has been good, in both fresh and salt water. Rain, wind or shine, fishing in our waterways is great all of the time.
 -- Aleta Jonie Maschek is a ­member of Florida Outdoor Press­.














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