Punta Gorda Chamber Guide 2022

Punta Gorda Chamber Guide 2022

2022 Members and Visitors Guide for the Punta Gorda Area

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Page 44 of 143

2022 Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce Members & Visitors Guide Page 45 BY JOSH OLIVE WaterLine Publisher Here in Southwest Florida, we have lots of fish. And many different species. It's important to identify what you catch. This is hugely important for a number of reasons. First, many of our fish are strictly regulated with size limits and bag limits. Keeping an illegal fish out of ignorance is still against the law. If you can't identify it, you don't even know if it's an edible species. And even if you let your fish go, you need to know which ones have venomous spines, sharp teeth or razor-edged gill plates. Catfish: There are two kinds of catfish in our saltwater areas. The hardhead looks a lot like the channel catfish. But there's an important difference: Hardheads have venomous spines in their fins. Just a scratch from the spine is enough to cause stinging and burning, and if you actually get jabbed, the spine probably will break off in your flesh. Then you get to go to the emergency room. The other kind is called the gafftopsail catfish, or sailcat. It's larger and has greatly elongated (and still venomous) fin spines. Hardheads are one of the most common fish in this area, and they'll eat almost anything. Sailcats usually are caught on live or dead fish. If you go fishing in this area, you'll probably catch catfish. The best thing to do is cut the line as close to the hook as possible — otherwise you risk a potentially serious injury. In fishing paradise, it's smart to know the local fish Sun file photo Tony Legato with Chuck Hubiak caught and released this 33-inch Myakka River snook. Continued on page 46 adno=3823824-1

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