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Pine Island today............

I posted some of this on a thread regarding where to buy chum. But decided it needed its own thread. I have been fishing in Bookelia for over 25 years. Before and after the net ban. I lived in Orlando and the annual trip in September ( because the season would open for Snook and Reds that month) was magical. Like going back to old Florida in the 50's. Clean water, beautiful turtle grass, lots of fish, few boats.... I had not been back in 5 years due to health, storms, red tide etc. Finally made the anticipated trip last week and what I found was sad.

1) Burn Store Road used to be a two lane road through wilderness (our shortcut to not take 41). Now 4 lanes and new housing developments on both sides.
2) Burn Store Rd used to end on 78. Now it extends into 4 lanes of Veteran's Parkway all the way to Ft Myers with hundreds or thousands of new houses
3) Driving through Malatcha was very slow with every heavy traffic. Packed with cars and people.
4) Publix being built at Pine Island Center.
5) We used to see 2-4 boats on the water on a week day. This time we could count 10-15 boats at every fishing stop we made..during the week.
6) Jet Skis in Pine Island Sound! Had to take pictures of a group of 8 running around the islands and 2 that got between us and the mangroves as we approached a fishing stop.
7) scarce bait (could be seasonal and due to colder water.(
8) areas that were covered with acres of beautiful turtle grass (used to scrape our ankles above the booties when wading) now covered with some "blob" of algae everywhere
9) We used to run into small and large schools of reds inside the Sound many years back. Have not seen them in years. I imagine the sound of outboards and jet skis running all over the place has taken care of that
10) At some times of the day, boat traffic in Shell Creek was so heavy that you had to slow down or stop to take a turn

In Orlando I have seen Mosquito Lagoon go from an amazing fishery to relatively dead now. The same happened to Lake Apopka before we moved to Orlando. The Banana River, No Motor Zone and Indian River Lagoon have gone from great fishing to mediocre or poor. Finding seagrass in the Indian River Lagoon is nearly impossible. 
Now the Red Tide is coming in the Southwest.........again!  Almost a yearly event

Sorry for the rant......but in my lifetime I have seen what was a magical place of out of this world scenery and fishing.....my favorite
place to get away...........to a.......not sure I ever want to go back again.


  • RStyleRStyle Posts: 1,544 Captain
    As we are approaching our fishing corner with our trolling motor these guys show up flying between us and the mangroves and then slow down to go over the shallow water on the flat
  • RStyleRStyle Posts: 1,544 Captain
    Jet Skis by Wood Key  (were were 8 of them. Not all in the picture
  • DodgerDodger Ft MyersPosts: 158 Deckhand
    RStyle said:
    Jet Skis by Wood Key  (were were 8 of them. Not all in the picture
    Probably one the many jet ski "tours".  I see them all the time in Estero Bay and they are not very polite to fishermen to say the least.  Been cut off fishing a point or flat many times!
  • mcquadeoutdoorsmcquadeoutdoors St PetePosts: 18 Deckhand
    Im up in tampa and hate when i see those guys show up. Bite always dies. 
    Youtube: McQuade Outdoors
  • RiverScoutRiverScout MidwestPosts: 17 Deckhand
    It's unfortunately going to continue to get more crowded. Boomer retirement boom is not even half way over. At least another 10 years of above average immigration.   I think FLA is getting 800 new residents a day, or 300,000 people a year.  Plus add in tourist which will be epic this year because no one can go overseas yet.  It massively sucks for your natural environments. 

    2018 Red Tide didn't help either. wiped out entire ecosystems for at least a year or three in some areas. (i.e. algae)

    Not sure what you can do about it. Hard to fight the demographics. Very complex with many moving parts and stakeholders.

    FLA is just an awesome place to be. It's beauty is part of its demise.  Hopefully it doesn't get pushed to a point of no return.  

  • DodgerDodger Ft MyersPosts: 158 Deckhand
    We have no control over the influx of people.  We need to continue to pressure our lawmakers to send the water South out of Lake O.  The more I read the more I pray this will actually happen in the next few years!  It really sucks that money and profit is the root of this water quality problem.  
  • MulletMaster239MulletMaster239 Southwest FloridaPosts: 742 Officer
    edited May 3 #8
    Another part of the water quality problem is all these Saltlife castles that have been built up on the canal systems in recent years, to the east of the area you fished.  Well the homeowners (vast majority of which aren’t even from here) they tend not to properly dispose of their chemical covered lawn debris.   They just let it all go into the water, seen it a thousand times. And out in their yard you will see a sign that says ‘captains for clean water’.  It would be hilarious if not such a big part of the problem. 

    The excessive amount of boats these days aren’t helping either, all the gas, oil, carbon dioxide, garbage and waste tossed overboard, noise pollution.  
  • BeastieBeastie Bokeelia, FLPosts: 872 Officer
    I have been fishing Bokeelia and Pine Island since I moved here 21 years ago. When I first got here all the geezers were saying similar things as you.
    You have become those geezers.
    Take up gardening.
  • dbourbondbourbon Posts: 116 Deckhand
    Was out there this last weekend and the Pine Island Channel looked like interstate 75 during rush hour. If we didn't 5,000 boats we didn't see 1. Cabbage Key was a cluster [email protected]#* to say the least. No more boating etiquette like days of old.  
  • 2times2times AlvaPosts: 154 Deckhand
    Welcome to 2021.
    Prepare yourself for more houses, cars, boats, people and less fish for next 10 more years.
  • Sixth GenerationSixth Generation Posts: 829 Officer
    We used to tent camp on Captiva Island back in the 70's with my grandfather.  We would crush the snook and every couple days head back to drop fish off and get more ice...  I see where there are houses built on the island.  I never imagined that would happen.  I wouldn't recognize it now.  
  • RStyleRStyle Posts: 1,544 Captain
    Last time I was there (this is around Patricio Key) it was all Turtle Grass. Now is this blob looking algae everywhere...
  • MulletMaster239MulletMaster239 Southwest FloridaPosts: 742 Officer
    Any idea if that stuff is toxic?  Past few years I’ve noticed mass amounts of red drift algae in the surf, way more than in the past. It isn’t toxic from what I hear but doesn’t make for a good day of surf fishing, with your lines being swept down shore all day.
  • RStyleRStyle Posts: 1,544 Captain
    I live in the east coast. Somewhat ironic that we are spending 14 million dollars putting sand in the Wabasso Beach and maybe another 10 million on the Ft Pierce Beach which will be gone with the next storm but all we ( the local and state) government officials keep doing every year is creating more commissions and more studies of the water quality in the inland waterways why they all die off.
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