Re: Balog and Steve Boyd on new Florida bass regs After reading both gentlemen's' point of view, all I have to say is a line from Hillary Clinton: "At this point, what difference does it make?"
Without enforcement, it doesn't make any difference what rules are put in place. That is especially relevant in Florida. I've been fishing the waters of Florida since 1984. I was a weekly tournament angler for many of those years, and now that I'm retired and own a home on the Kissimmee River close to Lake Kissimmee, I figure that I have spent an average of over 100 days a year on Florida's prime bass waters each year. In over 3,000 days on the water here in Florida over 32 years, I've been stopped for a creel check a total of two times.
The lack of enforcement is a well-known fact among people who have fished in Florida for any length of time. I (and a small group of local anglers) know of a group of anglers who come to Lake Kissimmee from another state every spring during prime spawn time for a 2-week period and absolutely rape the lake. They fish with shiners, fish all day (usually having to come in multiple times per day to offload their catch), keep everything they catch regardless of regulations, and then fillet everything they catch. They have become very proficient at catching big bass, and it's not unusual to see several 10-pound plus bass carcasses in the garbage every night they are here (with many more in the 5- to 10-pound range). They are obviously not concerned about getting caught.
Ironically, they've been reported to FWC officials for the past 2 years and nothing happens. This is the most egregious example of abuse I've seen, but I've seen many, many other occurrences of anglers who keep fish that do not conform to the regulations. There's just no fear of getting caught.
What dismays me most about this is that I very frequently get stopped for creel surveys sometimes multiple times a day. If the FWC would spend a fraction of their budget for creel surveys on actual enforcement activities, the rules they put in place might do some good. The way things are, it won't make any difference what they try to do.