Redfish Food For Thought”

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The Bossman Redfish Series began in 2012 as a family oriented local redfish tournament, using live or artificial bait. It is a 5 tournament series, taking place on the 2nd Saturday of each month January through May. After 3 years of tournaments, questions arose from Mosquito Lagoon anglers & guides as to what the impact of tournament fishing had on the depletion of the Lagoon redfish population. After researching & inquiring with the Florida Fish & Wildlife as well as with the Coastal Conservation Association, due to a lack of information Bossman initiated a self funded two year “Bossman Tournament Redfish Tagging Program” in January of 2015. The program is modeled similar to the one currently active with the CCA in the state of Louisiana.

The Bossman Redfish Tournament Series rules state that each boat has only 2 anglers onboard & must have a working 18 gallon livewell in order to keep the redfish alive and as healthy as possible until the weigh-in. Following the Volusia County fishing regulations, each team is allowed to bring in 2 legal sized redfish, 18” – 27” (one redfish per angler). Bossman Tournaments work hard to move the redfish expediently from capture through the weigh-in process and in to a recovery tank prior to their release. The goal is to get all the fish back in to the water safe & sound.

Below, you will see the results of the two year redfish tagging program. In summary, of the 516 tagged redfish, 93 have been recaptured to date with 8 of those disqualified from the survey due to lack of information. Recaptures continue to be reported. All were reportedly caught in good health & most had grown. The majority of the recaptured fish had ventured back to their familiar grounds in the local systems of the Indian River & Mosquito Lagoon, much like a homing pigeon. There were reports of one as far north as St. Augustine (73 miles) & one as far south as Sebastian (96 miles), likely following a normal migration pattern.

Let’s do the numbers. On average, each tournament weigh-in had approximately 35 teams bringing 2 fish in, for a total of 70 redfish per tournament. Redfish lost on average is less than 3 per tournament, all others were released. Over the 5 month Bossman Series, a total of 350 fish were caught and 335 of those fish were released back in to the water. Pretty amazing.

Let’s put this in to perspective, for example, currently there are 67 guides licensed with the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge to be fishing in Mosquito Lagoon. If each of these guides just took one trip per month & let their customers keep their 2 fish on each trip that would mean that each month 134 redfish are being taken out of the Lagoon. To compare that with the Bossman Redfish Series Tournament of 5 months, the depletion by those anglers of the legal size redfish population under this scenario would be a total of 670, whereas the catch & release tournament only has a total depletion of 15 for that same 5 months.

In summation Bossman Boats is in agreement with Lee Wulff, a famous artist, pilot & angler, who once said “A good game fish is too valuable to be caught only once.” Conservation leads to sustainable fisheries.

BOSSMAN REDFISH SERIES RECAPTURED TAGGED REDFISH

January 10, 2015 Tagged Fish Released At New Smyrna Marina

Tag #      Release Length      Recapture Date      Location      Length

LV305143      25.25”      11/21/15      Merritt Island      29.5”

                            10/15/16                Mosquito Lagoon      34”

LV305111      22.75”      2/5/15      New Smyrna Beach      22”

                          7/19/15        JB’s Fish Camp         25.5”

                         8/13/16        Tiger Shoals         30”

LV305145      19.25”      6/23/16      Smyrna Creek      25.25”

LV305146      20”      4/29/16      Mosquito Lagoon      20.5”

LV305126      19.25”      3/14/16      West Mosquito Lagoon      24.75”

LV305123      26.75”      8/9/15      Mosquito Lagoon      28.25”

LV305144      19.25”      6/1/15      North Mosquito Lagoon      24”

LV305129      24.5”      3/6/15      Slippery Creek     25.25”

LV305140      25.25”      3/16/15      6mi S. of S. Causeway      26”

LV305109      25.25”      4/10/15      Government Cut      25”

LV305127      21.25”      1/14/15      Ponce Inlet      19”

LV305134      27”      11/30/15      Ponce Inlet      32”

LV305103      27”      4/29/15      Ponce Inlet      24”

February 14, 2015 Tagged Fish Released At New Smyrna Marina

Tag #      Release Length      Recapture Date      Location      Length

LV317024      27.5”      11/2/15      North Mosquito Lagoon      32”

LV317021      24.25”      11/8/15       Preachers Island      26”

LV317012      26.75”      4/8/15      Mosquito Lagoon      27.5”

                                     8/17/15      Bissett Bay      27”

LV317025      26.5”      6/25/15      JB’s Fish Camp      30”

LV317023      19”      6/26/15      North Mosquito Lagoon      22”

LV317030      21”      5/22/15      Lot 5 Canaveral Seashore      22.375”

LV317044      26.25”      5/23/15      Edgewater      27.5”

LV317048      23.25”      7/12/15      North Mosquito Lagoon      24”

LV305150      26.75”      7/13/15      Oak Hill      29.5”

LV317042      27”      3/22/15      New Smyrna Beach      26.375”

LV317067      23”      3/21/15      Mosquito Lagoon      23.5”

LV317012      26.75”      4/8/15      Mosquito Lagoon      27.5”

LV317018      23.25”      5/4/15      Indian River Bridge      22.5”

LV317036      26”      5/8/15      Cedar Creek      26”

LC317094      25.75”      12/24/15      Mosquito Lagoon      31”

March 14, 2015 Tagged Fish Released At New Smyrna Marina

Tag #      Release Length      Recapture Date      Location      Length

LV317098      25.75”      8/22/15      Mosquito Lagoon      27.25”

LV317081      26”      6/14/15      Mid Mosquito Lagoon      27”

LV317083      26.75”      7/26/15      Clinker Islands      27.5”

LV317104      23”      6/15/15      Slippery Creek      24”

LV317085      25.25”      7/11/15      N. Causeway Bridge      26”

LV317079      22”      4/5/15      Indian River      21.5”

LV317071      25.75”      4/21/15      Mosquito Lagoon      24”

LV317076      18.75”      6/22/15      South Of Spruce Creek      20.5”

April 11, 2015 Tagged Fish Released At New Smyrna Marina

Tag #      Release Length      Recapture Date      Location      Length

43813        26”                    4/22/15            Ponce Inlet          25.5”

43179        24.5”                 3/11/15            George’s Bar        26.25”

43168        24.5”                 4/12/15            New Smyrna Marina        21”

43159        23”                     7/3/15              Slippery Creek        27.25”

May 9, 2015 Tagged Fish Released At New Smyrna Marina

Tag #        Release Length      Recapture Date        Location       Length

43198      19.75”                   9/25/15           New Smyrna Marina        23”

January 9, 2016 Tagged Fish Released At New Smyrna Marina

Tag #        Release Length      Recapture Date        Location       Length

46698         24.25”                  8/14/16      1 mile S of Bird Island      25.5”

46696         23.5”                     1/25/16       New Smyrna Beach        23.5”

46694        23.75”                     7/14/16       Tiger Shoals                    25.5”

                                                  9/18/16       National Seashore            25”

46690        23.5”                       4/14/16         Bisset Bay                    24.5”

46686         25.5”                     1/15/16        New Smyrna Beach         25”

46683        26.25”                    1/22/16      Bethune Beach/Riverside     25.75”

46670        19”                        10/25/16       St. Augustine Inlet              21”

46668        22.75”                   4/13/16        Mosquito Lagoon               24”

46663         26”                         4/8/16           Preachers Island             24”

46661        25”                          1/22/16         North Causeway              25”

46649        24”                         7/3/16              Bisset Bay                       25”

46647         25”                        2/13/16          New Smyrna Beach         24”

46646        26”                         4/11/16           Cedar Point                    28”

46645        18.75”                    2/15/16         Live Oak Bend                 19”

46642        22.25”                    4/1/16           Edgewater                       24”

                                                    7/3/16           Edgewater                       24”

46641        19.5”                      5/11/16          Near Haulover Canal       22”

46640        24.75”                  1/22/16          North Causeway              25”

February 13, 2016 Tagged Fish Released At New Smyrna Marina

Tag #        Release Length       Recapture Date        Location           Length

47558        22.5”                      7/30/16          Poll & Troll                      26.5”

47551        24.5”                     10/24/16       North Jetty Sebastian Inlet    26.75”

47549       20.75”                     8/11/16        Mosquito Lagoon                23.5”

47546        24.25”                    6/26/16      200yds from WSEG ramp     20.75”

47542        22.5”                       4/24/16        Poll & Troll                             25.5”

47539        25.25”                     3/20/16    Surf In NSB, S. Atlantic Ave      25.5”

47523        26.75”                     9/24/16      North Causeway Bridge            31”

47522        25.5”                       7/23/16       George’s Bar                             25.5”

47517        25.75”                     4/22/16        Mosquito Lagoon                    25”

46677       26.75”                      9/10/16        Tiger Shoals                          28.5”

March 12, 2016 Tagged Fish Released At New Smyrna Marina

Tag #        Release Length        Recapture Date        Location             Length

48016        26.75”                      3/15/16        North Causeway                 26.75”

48013        25”                            7/31/16         Poll & Troll                          25”

48005       19.5”                         7/23/16        New Smyrna Beach             22”

47596        23.5”                       8/22/16          Eldora House                    29.5”

47592        20”                           7/2/16       South Causeway Bridge       22.25”

47587        26.25”                      4/22/16       Mosquito Lagoon                26”

47561        26”                           9/16/16        Ponce Inlet                             29”

                                                  9/22/16        Ponce Inlet                       29.25”

April 9, 2016 Tagged Fish Released At JB’s Fish Camp

Tag #        Release Length        Recapture Date        Location           Length

48022        20.5”                          8/14/16              Van’s Slough              21.5”

May 14, 2016 Tagged Fish Released At JB’s Fish Camp

Tag #        Release Length        Recapture Date        Location           Length

48545        26”                            6/2/16        Parking Lot 5 Canaveral        26”

48539        20.5”                       7/19/16        Orange Island                          26”