Black sea bass can go into the cooler starting today. Offshore anglers who have been throwing them back say some of the best fishing and biggest fish are out there waiting.
Both the commercial and recreational catch reopen. The daily recreational catch limit remains at 15 fish per person until a regulation now under review is put into place limiting the catch to five per person.
The recreational fishery was shut down in February by the National Marine Fisheries Service, after the commercial fishery was shut down in December 2011, when reports indicated the annual catch limits had been reached.
The closures are mandated partly by federal law designed to end overfishing and partly by a management plan put in place to meet that law.
According to the plan, when an annually determined poundage of fish has been caught, the year's fishing ends until the year begins again in June.
The black bass is a mainstay of offshore fishing -- tasty, always around and easy enough to catch that it routinely fills coolers.