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Updated: 11/09/2017 08:30:00AM

Gag time, thanks to hurricanes

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By Capt. Ralph Allen

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Southwest Florida anglers have been frustrated many times in recent years when gag season has closed just as the fishing starts to get good. There is probably not much chance of that happening this year. Believe it or not, we can probably thank hurricanes Harvey and Irma for that, at least in part.

Gags are migratory, sort of. The migration consists primarily of juvenile fish and is an inshore/offshore migration that isn’t fully understood. Local anglers see the result each fall when juvenile gags appear in good numbers in shallow nearshore waters of the Gulf and inside the estuaries. These juveniles are not tiny 6-inchers — they’re mostly in the 2- to 15-pound range. Many of them are keepers which exceed the 24-inch minimum size limit. Yes, this means that we are keeping immature fish that have never spawned.

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