LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A protected fish in Florida can now be caught and taken home for dinner. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation decided to take snook off the catch-and-release only list. Starting September 1st, snook season will reopen in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Snook is one of the best tasting fish we have. It's better than grouper, better than snapper; It's really, really good," said Captain Rob Modys.
The protection of one of Florida's most popular game fish has been scaled back.
"It's one of the best fighting fish on the back country waters, or for that matter, near shore waters. Snook fight like crazy," said Modys.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to reopen the harvest of snook out on the gulf waters after a three year ban.
"It's excellent news! Snook is a great fish to harvest! It's a good fish to fight, because they put up a good fight and they are good eating," said fisherman Joseph Gonzalez.
"For those of us who fish out on the water, it would have been nice to keep it closed for another year or two, to really let the stocks rebound, but I understand why they did it," Modys told WINK.
FWC added regulations to the season that begins September 1st. Anglers can bag one fish per day between the measurements of 28 and 33 inches.
"When the snook was open in 09' most of us were cleaning very few snook because just hitting the slot is difficult enough."
An extremely cold winter in 2010 killed off a lot of the snook population. So in order to rebuild the numbers, FWC closed it's harvest season. But the population has rebounded, allowing you to soon be able to keep and cook your catch.
"We've been catching quite a few lately, but we always have to toss them back, so it will be nice to take home one," said Gonzalez.