One very popular fish with sports fishermen and women is being celebrated here in a week-long fun fest October 17-21. It’s the “Redfish Rodeo” appropriately, because the fish of honor, so to speak, is the redfish.
Sponsors of the annual event are the members of the Marco Sportfishing Club, a non-profit organization comprised of more than 260 fishermen, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts who live in the Marco area.
Member Howard Laskau says this year’s event will be bigger than last year’s, when more than 50 anglers took part and caught more than 360 redfish in the two-
Highlights, in addition to generous amount of socializing through the week, are three tournaments, the two primary ones and a new feature of the “Rodeo,” a charter captain/guide event.
“One reason the Redfish Rodeo is bigger and better this year is the generosity of our sponsors,” Howard tells us. “Our main sponsor is Jim Walker, president of Walker’s Marine.”
A key feature of this week-long celebration is that it is, as much as possible, catch and release.
“Anglers can keep one per day on board, which are measured and documented and released,” Howard says. “We don’t bring back the fish, just the documentation.”
Knowing little about fishing, as we do, we asked some fundamental questions about the fish.
Why the name redfish?
Howard: “Here in the southeastern US it’s another name for Red Drum.”
We recalled a ban on commercial fishing for redfish some years ago, right?
“It was overfished in the 1980’s, as blackened redfish was a hugely popular on restaurant menus. They were depleting the stock. We still have serious size limitations. And you should never see redfish on a restaurant menu.”
Are they plentiful here now?
“In the past couple of years they’ve made a major comeback in Marco area waters.”
How do anglers know where to find them around here?
“Redfish love to eat oysters; it’s their main diet. Also, in October they come in to the shallows to breed.”
So the search for food and sex drives them to Marco?
“Yes, pretty much. They are a tough and rugged fish. And they have a spot on the tail, sometimes several spots and we give awards for the fish with the most spots.”
Why tail spots?
“They look like eyes to predators, who then may attack the redfish’s tail and not the head.”
For more information on the Marco Sportfishing Club and its activities, including the Redfish Rodeo, and its many community outreach efforts, go to the Web site: marcosportfishingclub.com.
Surprises at the Island Garden Center
Dying to eat a big juicy peach? Pining for a pumpkin? Temped by a tray of
beautiful tomatoes? Love to eat locally grown produce when possible?
Then the fruit and vegetable stand at the Island Garden Center is the place for you and your palette, open now six days a week at 1882 San Marco Road.
For more information on coming attractions to the garden center, see our Shop Talk column, elsewhere in this edition of the Eagle.
Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV, in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: email@example.com.