Legislator fishes for year round black sea bass season

Representative Stephen Goldfinch, Jr., of District 108 in Georgetown County, has proposed a bill to keep the black sea bass season open year round in South Carolina waters.

Many local fishermen agree with the proposed legislation.

Jason Smith has been fishing the waters of Murrells Inlet since the mid-1980's and he's got a problem with the seasonal ban on black sea bass.

"Even if they put a 20 fish limit on just the black sea bass, the people's burning gas to get out there and bait and then you come back with nothing because all you've caught all day long is sea bass and you got to throw them back," Smith said.

He added that there's an abundance of the species up and down the South Carolina coast.

"I mean I go down on these wrecks and it's like sheepshead for instance you know there'll be 3,000 sheepshead on the wreck. There's 3,000, 4,000 black sea bass down there too and you gotta get through them to get your bait down there to catch what you actually wanna bring home," Smith said.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council says fishermen have reached their limit for the season and the fish need a chance to repopulate, which is why fishing for black sea bass is off limits right now.

Rep. Goldfinch says the federal ban is based on Florida numbers and doesn't reflect what you can find in South Carolina.

"Federal government's not efficient enough to be making these rules for the entire east coast. If they're going to make rules they need to do so on a state by state basis."

Goldfinch believes there's a 90 percent chance his bill will pass. It will be heard by a subcommittee the week after next.

The black sea bass season is set to open June 1st.