Two Charlotte County Fishermen cited for commercial netting

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ENGLEWOOD, FL-Two men were cited last week by Marine Patrol deputies on charges of allegedly doing commercial netting in the area of Coral Creek where commercial fishing is excluded.

On Monday December 23 at about 3:30 pm, the Marine Patrol unit found Zachary R. Tooker, 21, of 6480 Happy Hollow Road in Punta Gorda, and Clifford E. Brody IV, 23, of Crestview, Florida, travelling south on Coral Creek in Tooker’s mullet skiff.  They were coming from the section of the creek north of the Coral Creek Bridge.

The deputies, who had met both men a week earlier, saw they had two large cast nets on the boat’s deck.  The nets appeared to be wet with pieces of sea grass and a couple of dead pinfish in them.  Both men were asked for their Saltwater Products License (SPL), the license required to commercially harvest fish in Florida.

Tooker’s vessel registration showed the vessel was registered as a recreational, not a commercial, vessel.  He had an SPL with a Restricted Species Endorsement.  Brody did not have an SPL.

When the deputies looked inside the cooler onboard the boat, they found numerous large mullet and several large sand brims.

Tooker was cited for Commercial Netting inside Coral Creek and Failing to Register his Vessel as a Commercial Vessel.  Brody was cited for Commercial Netting inside Coral Creek and No Saltwater Products License.  They were both given Notice to Appear citations that require a January court appearance.