Miami Fishing - How Times Have Changed



  • Saltwater JunkieSaltwater Junkie Posts: 1,009 Officer
    I too agree with Capt. Alan, Capt. J and Capt. Bob. when I did the Florida Sportsman radio show with Alan, we discussed the effects of commercial fishing for shrimp in the bay what seems like every winter. As everyone knows this is a complex problem that is not easily solved. I've discussed this during those Florida Sportsman fishing seminars when we had the opportunity to speak about fishing here in South Florida. Fish need several key elements to stay/survive in an area. These things are key to consistently find fish: water temp and water quality, salinity level, shelter and food. However, one last thing that we as humans can't detect right away and that may be what is causing the die off of these grass flats. It's what I call the parts per million. We may not be able to see it smell it or taste it and because our exposure to this PPM is minimal we are likely not showing any medical signs. That's not to say that it's not there. As mentioned above, today there are less and less areas that can support marine life. So they move, but the sea grasses, oysters, corals and sponges can't move. they're getting wiped out. So in conclusion, we are and have lost one of the key factors in the ability to sustain a marine environment. 

    All of us that grew up here in the 50's and 60's can remember we were a small town. Maybe someone can pull a old census from the 50's, 60's even the 70's and compare to Miami today. I'm sure the difference is astronomical. When you look at that data and the environmental impact with all that development. I have a feeling it won't be hard to say that it's surprising that it too so long to have an impact.....Pete Silot
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 2,936 Captain
    Alan, you're right about the grass flats (he fishes them during the day -I run night charters in that same area...) deteriorating badly - and I see no sign of a massive study or research (Rosenstiel school - are you listening?) into whatever the problem is.  My first guess is that multiple things are occurring - so whatever is going on won't be easy to diagnose...

    It's not helped by the "so called" mitigation project that was allowed to occur on the north side of the Julia Tuttle causeway (36th street causeway from Miami to Miami Beach) a year or two ago.  Big dredges tearing up a good area of the grass flats that were still healthy - and at the same time they filled in the channel that had existed along the north side of the causeway to create a shallow area where they planted mangrove seedlings..... I'll be surprised if any of it takes at all.  It almost looks like it was an enviro scam from the beginning for an outfit needing a place to dump the bottom areas that were dredged up to deepen Government Cut back then... I could be wrong - and if any one can set me straight - I'm willing to listen....

    My bookings at night are mostly worked along the east side of the Bay between MacArthur and Haulover.... I've yet to see a decent flow of shrimp on that side of the Bay this year at night - and those shrimp are what makes a night time baby tarpon trip come alive.  We're still catching fish  -but having to work a lot harder for them than ever before (and I've been running my small night charters now for 21 years... in that same area....).  

    None of this is good - and if we can't get some attention for the Bay it's sure to continue to deteriorate - and that would be a shame.  Most skilled anglers down here run to the Everglades or Keys - or way offshore for their sport -  but we could have world class fishing in all of Biscayne Bay if we could get some good old-fashioned conservation efforts right here at home....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • northbiscaynebay1northbiscaynebay1 Posts: 58 Greenhorn
     CaptJ, I agree with what Capt. Bob Lemay is saying and you are right there is so much more to this problem. Stopping the commercial shrimping will definitely help the bay but it won’t fix it.  I like many of us that have lived in South Florida for much of our lives have seen these bays go up and down over the years but now we are seeing things happening that have never happened before. I learned how to fish in North Bay in the late 50’s. The grass flats stretched from Haulover Inlet South to the Florida Keys. For awhile there was grass flats up in Dumbfoundling Bay. The fishing would go up and down every so many years always rebounding. That has changed. 10 years ago, I noticed a grass flat near a canal in North Bay that led to a Salinity Dam going through some changes. The grass flats started showing signs of deterioration. Small circles of sand were now where the grass once was. I thought it was due to the large numbers of manatees that fed on the grasses in this area but as time went by the circles became larger and today that grass flat is totally barer of grass. Only mud, sand and silt.  Soon after I noticed every small grass flat in North Bay had the same thing happening to them. Today from Haulover Inlet south to 79th st. there are but a few patches of grass left. What’s worse is this is also happening to every grass flat south of 79th st with the exception of the turtle grass flats on the east side of South Bay south of Crandon Park. On the western shorelines the grass flats are disappearing at an alarming rate. This has already happened in large areas of Florida Bay as well. Most of this grass was manatee or shoal grass. Once the grass disappears what’s left are large areas of sand, silt and mud. Add some wind, choppy water and waves created by large boats and what you get is a muddy brown water that ends up smothering what is left of the unhealthy grass and then they die as well. The end results no grass, no place for the shrimp to live, no crabs, no pinfish, no pilchards and so on. Where will the sea trout go? How do they hide from the bottle nosed dolphins? Where will the baby lobsters hide and what will the manatees feed on?

    Our bays are in great trouble! Yes, Bob stopping the shrimpers will help but so much more needs to be done to stop the death of our bay grasses. Is it too late?  Maybe so!!!!side of South Bay inbetyween the Finger Channels that gets somewhat clean ocean water twice a day stays healthy enough to sustain the rest of North and South bay because that area will be the onlt area with live grass falts. 
  • northbiscaynebay1northbiscaynebay1 Posts: 58 Greenhorn

    Bob, you won't see any shrimp in the North Bay area because there isn’t any grass to support them. Parts of South Bay still have grass but there not healthy either. That is where what’s left of our shrimp population lives. It won' be long till that grass is gone. Hopefully the turtle grass flats on the Oceanside between Key Biscayne and Ocean Reef and the flats between the Finger Channels stay healthy enough to sustain the shrimp, baby lobster, pinfish and pilchard’s schools.  They could since they get a good dose of somewhat clean ocean water twice a day. As far as the Mitigation Project by the Julia Tuttle Bridge that had nothing to do with the grasses in that area dying. That had already started way before that project. Next time you have a few hours to waste on a nice Saturday or Sunday afternoon and there is a decent east wind blowing, park your car at Mt. Sinai and go into the Hospital. Take the elevator to one of the top floors and walk to the western side of the building. There you will find a picture window over looking the bay between the Julia Tuttle and 79th st flat. Let your eyes find the markers where the channels edge is that is supposed to keep boaters off the flat and in the channel. Now look for dark water that would signify grass on a shallow flat. You will soon see that you must look more than a third of the way towards the west before you will see that darker color. 10 years ago, the grass reached the eastern edge of the channel markers. Now, what I hope you will see is all of the muddy and silty water stirred up in Malloy Channel from boats too big to be navigating that area. Their props pull the muddy water up to surface and then the wind and wave action pushes that mud and silt up onto the flat. That is a major reason of loss of sea grasses. They are being smothered, now add that to poor water quality, higher water temperatures, and a ton of boats and jet skis tearing up what’s left of the flats and you see why we are where we are. Lots of possible reasons but no quick fixes. Bob be happy that we are not starting our guiding business as young Captains because 10 years from now we will all be saying remember when????

     Capt. Alan Sherman

    Get Em Sportfishing Charters

  • woeivwoeiv Posts: 61 Greenhorn
    Sounds like y'all certainly had epic days, 1,000's of pounds of kings, snapper, grouper, swords, etc, sold for next to nothing. Kinda sound like the settlers that went west and shot up all the buffalo. Is it a wonder why your children and grandchildren will not be able to experience what you did? Blame it on other factors all you want, your **** and pillaging contributed to the problems we see now.
  • xeniaxenia Posts: 261 Deckhand
    These guys certainly helped.
  • aboveboredabovebored Posts: 1,233 Officer
    Gill netting kingfish still occurs legally every year in the gulf. Its about time they put a stop to it.
  • rumit4rumit4 USAPosts: 18 Greenhorn
    Really its a big change & seems like very good.
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 593 Officer
    I've fished Canaveral to Key West and can state that the nearshore/reef fish populations in all of these areas have decreased dramatically. Too much pressure, pollution, and legislators beholding to the commercial interests who donate loads of money to their coffers. As we've proven time and again, once they're gone they're not coming back anytime soon. We {anglers} can **** about it, or get out and vote. It's time for us to elect some politicians who are willing to back us instead of the privileged few. In my last life everything I caught went in the box, but I now catch my legal limit and go home. I let plenty of fish go that I don't consider to be worth keeping even though they are legal size.  I don't fertilize my lawn, use excessive water, dump gas and oil and trash in the ocean. Got to start somewhere.
  • CoastalCatchCoastalCatch Lighthouse PointPosts: 346 Deckhand
    I'm wondering if greed and ego have anything to do with declining fish stocks! 

    'The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.' ~ George Orwell

  • xeniaxenia Posts: 261 Deckhand
    Yes to both.  Are there any soul fishermen left?
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