SEBRING—For the first time in more than 20 years, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is proposing a statewide change to largemouth bass management, and the agency wants to know what anglers think.
The new proposal would allow anglers a five-fish daily bag limit, only one of which may be 16 inches in total length or longer.
In an effort to simplify statewide management, the proposal would also replace three regional and many water-body-specific rules, FWC adds.
No changes to current tournament exemptions and guidelines are proposed. Tournaments can continue to receive exemptions that allow for the possession of fish of any size but must follow daily bag limits.
“Changes are based on a two-year review of biological and social data, with the goal of simplifying regulations, maintaining healthy bass populations and enhancing an already strong trophy bass fishery,” the agency believes.
FWC fishery biologists believe the proposal would direct harvest to more abundant, slower-growing male bass, while protecting larger, faster-growing female bass.
“The result should be a better quality fishery, while still providing opportunities for anglers to harvest an occasional meal,” they add.
The FWC will be conducting two meetings in its Southwest Region on:
May 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lake Wales Public Library, 290 Cypress Gardens Lane, Lake Wales.
June 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lakeland Public Library, 100 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland
FWC biologists will provide a short presentation, followed by open discussion.
To learn more about largemouth bass, current and possible changes, results of the last survey, and to take the new survey, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing and under “Freshwater,” select “Black Bass” and “Bass Regulations.”
Anglers wanting more information on the meetings may contact FWC fishery biologist Bill Pouder at 863-648-3805.