Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers busted 4 men who they observed fishing illegally with gill nets in a pond off of U.S. 41 in the Collier County section of the Big Cypress National Preserve last month. The four men were charged with misdemeanors for allegedly violating the species’ bag limit of two catches per day for peacock bass. Two of those men were also charged with felonies for using gill nets, which were banned in 1995 in Florida.
According to the officers’ incident report, they were driving on U.S. 41 and saw two vehicles off the road near the Dade-Collier Training Airport. The officers suspected the vehicle owners were in the woods illegally fishing, so they snuck into the area and hid in the grass to observe the four men for more than 90 minutes. They watched the men fish from the bank and from a small inflatable raft as well as running and pulling gill nets to trap fish. Once they had enough to arrest the men, they approached and cited the men for the fishing crimes. The four men had 15 peacock bass in their possession 7 more than the allowed limit, the illegal method of fishing notwithstanding.
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