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Cape Romano grass flats or lack of them?

I was talking with someone the other day and we got to discussing fishing around the Cape Romano are and how it didn't seem to be as good as it was back in the 90's and early 2000's. I'll be honest I haven't fished the area as much as I used to back around 2001 to 2004 or 05 when I had my bay boat stored down in Goodland but I did notice when I fished the area back in October and November of this year that the grass almost seems to be gone in many areas. I used to almost always be able to count on the Cape Romano area to produce some decent size trout on the grass flats but nothing the last couple trips. Anyone know what many have caused the grass to go away?


  • FLTXhunterFLTXhunter Posts: 516 Officer
    i don't know the cause, but It happened over a pretty short period of time and effect has been a completely different underwater landscape and a drastic reduction in the amount of underwater life. All is not lost down there, but the days of sight fishing snook, reds, cobia, etc. over the healthy grass beds is pretty well gone. Adapting to the new landscape will pay off, but it is different for sure.
  • snookaffinitysnookaffinity Posts: 1,303 Officer
    I read somewhere that storms and hurricanes killed the grass. Some old timers blame the manatee for the loss of lot of the grasses. And then there are claims that water pollution contributes to the loss. To some degree it probably is all three to some extent.:shrug
    "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain
  • TarpoonTarpoon Posts: 61 Deckhand
    A scientist type told me that the Naples beach renourishment have also contributed. Sand is washing down. South

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  • Egrets LandingEgrets Landing Posts: 956 Officer
    Tarpoon wrote: »
    A scientist type told me that the Naples beach renourishment have also contributed.

    Might be with the same scientists that are talking about that global warming causing the record cold temps and problems in Boston.
  • Mr.SnookMr.Snook Posts: 91 Deckhand
    Thanks for the info, I'm glad I'm not the only one who's noticed the lack of grass down there.
  • MegalopsAtlanticusMegalopsAtlanticus Posts: 91 Greenhorn
    Pretty certain that the grassflats were lush and thick until October of 2005 :)

    Hurricane Wilma's landfall was dead-center on Cape Romano, and the shifting substrates and storm surge cleared out most of the long-established vegetation. A lot of the area changed literally overnight. A massive amount of shallow water grass flats got cleared out from Cape Romano to Pavillion Key. Pretty much every major bight had enough surge to uproot even the most mature grasses.

    Kingston Key's sandbridge vanished and is now open water passable by boat, sections of Panther Key just plain disappeared, and that previously open cut behind Hog Key was altered enough that (over time) after the hurricane, the re-directed tides quickly closed off the cut. It's nothing but dead mangroves now- as they are no longer even in the water. I was living in Everglades City at the time (on a houseboat, no less) and it was like old nautical charts became obsolete immediately in some places within the 10,000 Islands, haha.

    "Local Knowledge" started back at zero for a lot of us, took a few years to figure out what was now deep, and what was now dry land.
    "Once in awhile you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right"
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,856 Captain
    Two thoughts about the coastal areas along the 'Glades... first -everything we're used to is pretty much just temporary until the next big storm comes along (an area might be stable for a hundred years and overnight change entirely if the right storm comes along). That goes for every part of the area that most of us love... When Wilma hit I lost every fishing spot I had along the coast from Cape Sable all the way up to Lostman's in just a few hours. Some areas never came back but new ones in other places have come on strong...

    Second, and this is important anywhere that "beach renourishment" is being considered, almost none of the sand pumped onto any beach stays where it was put. In every case wind, tides, and currents will all work together to remove it --and that sand has to go somewhere.... We've been fighting (and losing) that battle for years over here on the Miami side... Natural beaches ebb and flow, move and re-occur constantly. Every time anyone tries to "improve" that process - bad stuff happens. Hope y'all have better luck than we've had over the years...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • reelmagicreelmagic Posts: 13 Greenhorn
    Actually that area hasn't been "lush" since the early nineties!!! When I say lush, I mean thick thick turtle grass, very clear water and lots of fish, sharks, and life in general - like a mini Keys like area. And it was a storm, and a weak one at that that, I believe Georges that changed it overnight. Its never been the same since. It was a special area that I did not get enough time to fish before it changed.
  • JehutyJehuty Posts: 17 Greenhorn
    I also haven't fished this area in years (since maybe 2007?) and just moved back to the area. It saddens me that apparently all of the grass is gone. Are there any grass flats left to fish at all? I know the grass was already changing when I moved away and you could see that it was not going to be the same (the thick turtle grass that reelmagic describes is what I remember throughout the 90s and it was being replaced by other types of grass or just dying off in areas). I just remember a lot less thick grass and more and more dirty water year by year.
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