Decided to hit the water this morning before Memorial Day weekend boat traffic hits full swing. I'm fortunate to have a customer who is also a friend, so we can officially call it a work day. We lost more fish today than I can ever remember losing (pulled hooks, broken lines & frayed leaders from mangrove roots and docks, etc.). It's still pretty fun getting freight trained; even when you lose. Despite our early futility, we landed ten trout (mostly overslot fish) and four reds (kept two slot fish) and were off the water by 10am. All the overslot trout were released. I don't keep trout and Scott agreed with my theory of sending all the big girls back to repopulate the gene pool.
I think we can all agree that it has been a phenomenal year for big trout in the Indian River Lagoon system. Given that, I have some grave concerns about our future fishery. Our usual healthy seagrass is virtually non-existant from north of Pineda causeway to Sebastian Inlet. My concern is: although we seem to have a healthy supply of breeding size trout; there is little to no nursery for a successful spawn to survive. My fear is that without the grass and all the organisms that live in it; our baby trout, snook, and reds will have no nursery to grow up in. They will die from either starvation or predation. I think our adult fish will be fine (provided we do not harvest/remove them) as there are plenty of finfish (mullet, menhaden, etc.) to eat. I am fearfull that our fishing will suffer dramatically two years and more into the future as year classes are lost due to non-existant or inadequate nursery areas. Hopefully a marine biologist or someone with more knowledge than me can chime in and tell me I'm wrong.