Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Just Because Its Small Doesn't Mean Its Bait!!

Recently I helped an FWC officer identify some juvenile permit he confiscated from anglers who were using them as bait (To be exact, he confiscated over 50 of the fish!). Permit, of course, is a popular sport fish that is regulated by both a slot size and bag limit.

Catching bait is a common practice among many anglers. In fact, you normally don't have to look too far to find someone throwing a cast net from shore or a boat to catch their bait. We're fortunate in Florida to have a wide variety of species that can be used as baitfish, but it’s important to remember that just because a fish is small, it doesn't mean its legal bait! Not all juvenile sportfish look exactly like their adult form and can be confused with commonly used baitfish.
Unfortunately, on more than one occasion I've seen anglers keep everything they land in their net despite having juvenile sport fish among the catch. I see this happen most often with juvenile permit and pompano which can be found along our beaches and juvenile lane snappers that can be found in many locations. Even if it is unintentional, anglers can face fines (possibly per fish) and potentially jail time if caught in possession of these regulated fish. Of course from a conservation perspective, it would not make sense to keep and use these fish either as we want them to mature and reach legal size.
As a responsible angler it is important to not only be aware of and follow the fishing regulations, but to also be aware of what juveniles sport fish look like so that they don't accidentally end up as bait. Below are some examples of juvenile sportfish you might encounter if you catch bait either along the beach or estuaries. To view the current saltwater fishing regulations visit:

mangrove snapper


Spotted sea trout


Lane snapper



  1. What is the copyright status for these photos? How would you like me to cite this, if it's okay to use for educational purposes?

    1. Hi there. They can be used for educational purposes. Please credit Florida Sea Grant. Thanks