Everyone likes catching big fish. They put up a great fight, come with serious bragging rights, look super cool in a profile pic and, if harvested, they can feed lots of friends and family.
Bull redfish are just one example of a popular saltwater species that have anglers chasing “the big one” for their next fish tale. While there is no doubt that monster reds have rightfully earned their place in the big leagues, any redfish angler worth their salt will tell you that an important part of any trip catching bull reds is the release.
Florida regulations require that redfish over 27 inches be released. The intent of this regulation is to protect larger fish (redfish don’t usually spawn until they get larger than 27 inches). Larger fish also produce higher quality and larger numbers of eggs and sperm.
This is why doing everything you can to help larger fish survive after release is so important. It’s also important to remember that just because a fish swims away doesn’t always mean it will survive. Taking steps to ensure that the fish is in good condition upon release means it has a better chance of surviving long-term to the next spawn.
Use these tips to help your next bull red, or any other fish you release, survive to fight another day:
If you must remove fish from the water:
Fishing from bridges or piers:
So next time you’re out on the water and catch a bull red or any other big fish for your next great fish tale, remember that landing is only half the battle and a successful release ensures more monsters for generations to come.
Have a question about marine fisheries regulations, improving recreational data, catch and release or more? We are here for you. Send your questions, photos and fishing tales to Saltwater@MyFWC.com. Learn how to submit your catches and get rewarded through our Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs at CatchaFloridaMemory.com.
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