not sure if its just me but in the circled area of pic 2, it looks like there is a face.
EDIT: found this on the net
Hiding in darkness, they operate right under the nose of the law
We left the ramp very early. In fact, it was before daybreak. It was Saturday and we wanted to beat the crowds launching on what was forecast to be a
beautiful day. We figured we could get the early bite and be out of the water before the late sleepers even launched. The jetties at the mouth of the
St Johns River were barely visible in the darkness as a gray bulge on the waterline as we headed east from Mayport.
We had been catching sheepshead in good numbers and larger than average size during the past week, so we were targeting nothing but these bait
stealers today. Unfortunately, there was at least one other boat targeting these same fish.
Over the past two years I have managed on several occasions to hang what appeared to be remnants of gill net material along the jetty rocks. I
shrugged and passed these pieces off as so much trash from old nets, possibly even from before the net ban was instituted in Florida. Today I would
find more netting, but not the remnant variety.
As we slowed and made a turn to go around the south jetty, a boat came by us in the darkness. Painted flat black and running with no lights, it was
typical of the kind of net boats we used to encounter on the Gulf Coast of Florida in years past. I thought it strange that this boat would be running
into the river with no running lights. The two men in the boat crouched low behind a small console and a pile of what looked to be netting rose from
the front quarter of the boat.
At about the same time the light bulbs in my head went off, I saw another boat very similar to the first one. This one was up close to the rocks on
the south side of the jetty and the two men were working feverishly at hauling in what turned out to be a long stab net. Sheepshead were flopping in
the bottom of the boat as they rushed to leave before I got any closer. I heard them yell at each other and in an instant they too disappeared heading
up the St Johns River.
It appears to me that these two boats were, under cover of darkness using illegal gill nets along the jetties and taking sheepshead in large numbers.
Needless to say, we caught very few fish that morning.
I contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) later that day and reported my encounter, but I doubt anything was done. I
don’t see anything that could be done in a situation like that. I certainly was not about to confront these poachers, and unless a wildlife officer
sat out there all night these people would be almost impossible to catch.
So, now I wonder even more about those net remnants I kept finding. Is there an ongoing illegal net operation being run at night off the jetties? Were
these remnants actually from a net that tangled in the jetty rocks in the darkness on a rough night?
It remains to be determined whether these people are still poaching, but one thing is sure. The numbers of sheepshead on the jetties here in North
Florida have steadily declined over the past several years.
The “antis” want to stop any form of fishing because the resource is being depleted. People such as these poachers give the antis more ammunition to
use against legitimate anglers – even the legitimate commercial people.
It is the responsibility of each of us to report poachers, and you can do that in relative safety without confronting them on the water. In my case,
boat numbers were non-existent. But if enough of us report these activities, the fish and wildlife folks will have more opportunity to catch and stop
them. Ignoring it will not make it go away – ignoring it will certainly make the fish go away!
[edit on 1-1-2005 by llama009]