Fishing is big business; from commercial fishing to charter fishing, bait and tackle sales, boat sales, tournaments, TV shows to tourism and state taxes fishing generates dollars. Hell, I have made a living for the past 15 years solely from taking people out on fishing trips. For the wheels to keep turning the sport of fishing needs to be publicized (think back to the cobia example). The sport needs to be popular for people to go out an buy that fancy new flats boat or to outfit it with 10 rod and reel combos plus lots of electronics and gadgets. In another effort to commercialize the sport fishing industry we have come up with all sorts of tournaments which bring in lots of spectators and big dollars. I have fished sailfish tournaments where over a half million dollars was on the line (there are even bigger tournaments than that) and that was just for the prize money; what about all of the other sales that went into that tournament such as fuel, tackle, hotel rooms, meals…the list could go on and on for just that one tournament. You name it and fishing both commercially and recreationally drives revenue and when you place a dollar sign on the back of some poor fish you better believe that people are going to exploit the resource. And with the popularity of fishing currently at an all time high coupled with the huge increase in new people getting into the sport (especially baby boomers retiring and looking to spend more time on the water) it makes it tough for any fishery to sustain the pressure. Stay tuned for next month as we will be will be discussing how how the mentality of fisherman has impacted our fisheries.