It’s official. And it didn’t take long. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is telling its law enforcement officers that the “new and improved” tarpon jig (see photo) that turned up recently in Boca Grande Pass isn’t new and it isn’t improved.
And like the vote that banned the bottom-weighted hook last year, the decision was unanimous.
Thomas Graef, the FWC’s regional director for Southwest Florida, agrees. Capt. Guy Carpenter, FWC law enforcement supervisor for Lee and Charlotte counties, agrees. And Nick Wiley, executive director of the FWC, agrees. And they’ve put it in writing.
They all agree. And there’s no wiggle room on this one. It’s simple. Use the new jig and you’re breaking the law.
“The jig depicted in the drawing (the photo above) is not legal as the weight appears to be designed to slide down the shank,” Carpenter wrote.
“If a fisherman in Boca Grande is found to be in possession of one, it’s prohibited use will be explained and properly documented.”
Carpenter continues. “If the fisherman is found to be fishing it, the violation will handled appropriately based on knowledge and prior contact.”
Translation: Use the “new jig,” get caught using the new jig, and the FWC will give you a warning. Do it twice, and the FWC will give you a second degree misdemeanor prosecution.
The determination was made and announced by Carpenter late Monday night. “A tug pulls the eye of the from under zip tie and hook point rips from plastic soft body tail,” the FWC said. In other words, a flick of the wrist turns the “new jig” into the “old jig.”
A memo detailing the FWC’s determination has been circulated among the area’s FWC law enforcement officers. According to the FWC, those law enforcement officers will be in the Pass and they’ll be looking for violators.
Unless stowed out of reach, just having a new jig or an old jig while in Boca Grande Pass – whether it’s used or not – is also a violation.
(How does the “new jig” become the “old jig?” All it takes is a jerk. And a quick tug on the line. Check out the video below.)