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FISH FLASH: To fish or not to fish

Tina Harbuck
tharbuck@thedestinlog.com
The Destin Log

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Before we get into the question on whether to fish or not, let me set the record straight - Triggerfish is open through May 1.

In the Fish Flash column on Wednesday, I said it closed April 1. I could claim April Fools - but it wasn’t really. I just plain made a mistake and looked at the dates wrong.

RELATED: FISH FLASH: Practice social distancing on the water

So if you’re able to get out on a boat, triggerfish is open through May 1. The fish must measure 15-inches and the bag limit is one per person.

Now the question is, can you get on the water to catch one? Is fishing considered “essential” during the “stay-at-home” issue by the governor?

Well according to the statement put out by his office, outdoor activities such as walking, hiking and fishing are OK — as long as you follow the social distancing guidelines and you’re not in a group of more than 10. At least that is the way I understand it.

Plus the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission has enacted measures from Executive Order 20-09 under direction from the governor, the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Effective immediately, all recreational boats must be at least 50 feet apart. Each recreational vessel must not have more than 10 people on board.

So I’m thinking if you want to hop on a boat and go fishing, then you should be within the law.

I know a few of the charter boats have been going out the last few days.

Capt. Mike Graef of the Huntress, who had an eight-hour trip on the books for Saturday, said Thursday the trip had been canceled. As a matter of fact he said he had no more trips this month because folks are canceling due to the COVID-19.

At HarborWalk, the ladies in the booking booth said they are still getting calls from folks. Some canceling, a few trying to book trips and others just wanting to know what’s going on.

Fact is ... none of us really know what is going on. We’ve never been down this road before.

So do we get on a boat and go fishing? You’ll have to answer that for yourself.

I’m thinking the best thing here is to be safe and keep others safe at the same time. Let’s keep our “social” distance, wash our hands and stay within the 10 person guideline — the smaller the group the better whether on land or sea.

Instead of counting down how many days we have left to stay inside for the quarantine - we can start counting down to June 1 and opening of snapper (that is if anybody even has the money to go).

Here’s seeing you from a distance.