Yep, you read the caption right. FWC says the number #1 violation and ticket issuance has been for undersized fish due to a lack of a measuring device on the person who violated the fishing law. I heard this directly from an FWC officer who was being interviewed this past Saturday morning on a local radio station fishing show(kix country 92.9) which airs every Saturday from (7am-9am). They give you great fishing information along with updates on what people are catching and where.
After listening to the officer I could not believe how common this fishing infraction is. I just thought having a ruler was common sense, apparently not. I myself have numerous measuring devices on my boat and in my tackle bags including the top of my marine Igloo Cooler which has the molded in ruler. So, I decided to venture out over the weekend to see how hard and costly it was to find and purchase a measuring device. As luck would have it the very first store I went to was Walmart and wouldn’t you know it they had numerous measuring devices for no more then a few dollars and that’s if you want a high-end one, Crazy I know.
Clearly any tackle/bait store is going to have some type of measuring device. What’s more interesting is that CVS, Walgreen’s, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Dollar Store and probably any grocery store is going to have a cheap measuring device. These stores will tend to have them in the housewares section.
I have personally found that the fabric measuring ruler is the best when you’re fishing from shore since it weights nothing and rolls up nice and I can keep it in my pocket. I also have the adhesive fishing rulers attached to my kayaks and paddle boards making it real easy to measure fish and you never forget your ruler. When fishing in Florida you should regularly visit the FWC website for up to date rules and in particular fish sizes for legal harvest. You also need to be aware of seasons for certain types fish to be legally harvested regardless of the size limit. In one of the next few blogs we will discuss the different rules and regulations in Federal and State waters, there is a huge difference for certain fish. Until then if you haven’t already go get yourself a ruler or two and put one in your tackle box/bag for piece of mind.