By Robert Trosset

Featured/published on coastalanglermag.com

Lionfish are a huge problem in the Florida Keys and it is growing. The invasive Lionfish have taken over our reefs and wrecks in a relatively short time and show no signs of stopping. The popular dive sites frequented by dive masters usually have less present because we tend to remove them more frequently. Personally I enjoy capturing and cooking Lionfish and find them one of my favorite species to eat.

I routinely capture Lionfish with a short pole spear all along the reef edge while diving or spearfishing. I carry a pair of sea snips and will trim the spines off of the fish because they are venomous and can hurt if you get poked. Trust me it hurts! Once the spines are removed you can handle the fish like any other. Another way I handle the Lionfish is to use a container like the Lionfish tamer. This device is a PVC tube with an entrance on one side. You take the pole spear with the lionfish on the end and push it into the pipe. Once in, just remove the pole spear and the fish is contained. You don’t have to remove the spines in the water  saving valuable time underwater.

The Lionfish Challenge Is Back

This is an incentive program created by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) to get anglers and divers to remove these invasive creatures. Go to www.MyFWC.com/Lionfish and register to participate in the program. The challenge runs through Sept. 4th 2017 and the harvester with the most lionfish will be crowned King or Queen for the year.

Help us control the lionfish population and get a great meal in the process. Stop by Finz and pick up your lionfish essentials, drop off your submissions, and help the environment at the same time.

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