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When was the last time we had red tide this far up the bay?

TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 17,216 AG
I was speaking with someone yesterday about red tide and it's effect on tarpon fishing in the bay, and I got to thinking...

When was the last time you can recall red tide being this bad inside the bay?

In my 25+ years of fishing Old Tampa Bay, I cannot ever recall it being north of the Gandy (or even close to the Gandy), but what are your recollections?

The good news is I'm hearing reports that it's cleared up for the most part in OTB.

But the question still stands, and your input would be appreciated.  Thanks in advance for your replies...Mike

Replies

  • CaptainBlyCaptainBly Posts: 2,567 Captain
    I don't recall it ever but I don't fish the bay as much as some.   Good it is getting out of the bay potentially but unfortunately it looks like it is running the beaches north and some south.
    In Loving Memory of James Zielske, January 19, 1957-July 5, 2013
  • cracker4112cracker4112 Posts: 905 Officer
    I can only recall one time when there was a fish kill in OTB and we had dead fish on the rocks at my grandparents house in beach park. I was a kid, so sometime in the early 80’s, and I’m just assuming it was red tide and not something else.  That said, we had red tide regularly at our beach house in Clearwater over those same years.  When I was about 12 we were playing some good old tackle football on the beach and I stepped on a washed up catfish that got me.  That I remember a little better!
  • permit_mepermit_me Posts: 1,161 Officer
    It seems that 1971 was last time it was like this. I had a friend that worked on seagrass recovery in early 80's. She was always depressed about how bad the bay was.  She would have been happy to see 20 yrs later the bay had recovered significantly.  I moved from Gville to St Pete in 2000. I think it was 2005 /06 it hit bad everywhere.  That was my first time experiencing impact of big bloom (in S FL blooms were small and short lived in comp).
     not sure we recovered from that on 15 yrs ago before cold in '08 and '10 and the perpetual cycles of redtide have been too frequent (MOTE opened a red tide res facility its so bad). 
    I remember red grouper being hit hard and never really recover in big bend. next year 2015 was real bad as was 18. never recovered.
    Those all seemed to occur at the tail end of tarpon season.




  • FastEddyFastEddy Posts: 78 Deckhand
    permit_me said:
    It seems that 1971 was last time it was like this. I had a friend that worked on seagrass recovery in early 80's. She was always depressed about how bad the bay was.  She would have been happy to see 20 yrs later the bay had recovered significantly.  I moved from Gville to St Pete in 2000. I think it was 2005 /06 it hit bad everywhere.  That was my first time experiencing impact of big bloom (in S FL blooms were small and short lived in comp).
     not sure we recovered from that on 15 yrs ago before cold in '08 and '10 and the perpetual cycles of redtide have been too frequent (MOTE opened a red tide res facility its so bad). 
    I remember red grouper being hit hard and never really recover in big bend. next year 2015 was real bad as was 18. never recovered.
    Those all seemed to occur at the tail end of tarpon season.




    Yep - Everything I've seen says 1971 - even the media reporting that (50 years ago).
    And yep those 2008 & 2010 cold fronts were really bad... I lived on the Cotee River at the time ,Snook really took a hard hit  from it. 
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 12,288 AG
    red grouper is doing fine in the BB right now, lots of 15-19" fish as far in as 40'
    should be pretty good fishing next year
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 12,288 AG
    FastEddy said:
    permit_me said:
    It seems that 1971 was last time it was like this. I had a friend that worked on seagrass recovery in early 80's. She was always depressed about how bad the bay was.  She would have been happy to see 20 yrs later the bay had recovered significantly.  I moved from Gville to St Pete in 2000. I think it was 2005 /06 it hit bad everywhere.  That was my first time experiencing impact of big bloom (in S FL blooms were small and short lived in comp).
     not sure we recovered from that on 15 yrs ago before cold in '08 and '10 and the perpetual cycles of redtide have been too frequent (MOTE opened a red tide res facility its so bad). 
    I remember red grouper being hit hard and never really recover in big bend. next year 2015 was real bad as was 18. never recovered.
    Those all seemed to occur at the tail end of tarpon season.




    Yep - Everything I've seen says 1971 - even the media reporting that (50 years ago).
    And yep those 2008 & 2010 cold fronts were really bad... I lived on the Cotee River at the time ,Snook really took a hard hit  from it. 
    I'd like to see cold winters like we had in the 70's and 80's
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • SmoothwaterSmoothwater Posts: 178 Deckhand
    We had a really bad one in the 80's.  I rememeber being tasked with the cleaning up all the dead fish on the beach behind my parents and grandparents houses.  My grandfather was in an article in the ST Pete times with all the fish piled up behind his house.  RIP he was a true outdoorsman.  
    Everglades 243
  • permit_mepermit_me Posts: 1,161 Officer
    i remember 1989 xmas , was living in delray bch. fell to 26 banana trees turned to mush. snook floating. back in 1995 i remember it getting down to 9 degrees in Archer, fl.  that week I had ice on porch for two days, coral snake and babies frozen under plant containers. 
  • stpetebaitmanstpetebaitman St. PetePosts: 951 Officer
    edited July 22 #10
    This is the worst red tide I’ve seen in my lifetime. I drove from St Pete to Passagrille/St Pete Beach 2 weeks ago and it looked like an atomic bomb went off. There was a dead fish every 6inches as far as you could see in every direction for 15miles. The bay got absolutely annihilated. The difference between this red tide and the last really bad one in ‘05 is that this year I saw millions of small fish dead, in ‘05 I saw way more preditory gamefish mixed in.

    In '05 I can remember the water completely full of dead snook, large jacks, redfish, goliath grouper, gag grouper, cobia, tarpon etc. This year there were tons of catfish, grunts, pinfish, mojoras, threadfins, and every other species you could imagine. But I remember many more large preditory fish back in the last major red tide.

  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 15,325 AG
    This is the worst red tide I’ve seen in my lifetime. I drove from St Pete to Passagrille/St Pete Beach 2 weeks ago and it looked like an atomic bomb went off. There was a dead fish every 6inches as far as you could see in every direction for 15miles. The bay got absolutely annihilated. The difference between this red tide and the last really bad one in ‘05 is that this year I saw millions of small fish dead, in ‘05 I saw way more preditory gamefish mixed in.

    In '05 I can remember the water completely full of dead snook, large jacks, redfish, goliath grouper, gag grouper, cobia, tarpon etc. This year there were tons of catfish, grunts, pinfish, mojoras, threadfins, and every other species you could imagine. But I remember many more large preditory fish back in the last major red tide.

    I'm  hoping those large predatory fish moved offshore and escaped.   
    You can't pet a dead dog back to life 
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 12,288 AG
    Y'all had Elsa push that redtide up into the bay, plus a load of run-off from 2 weeks of rain
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • cracker4112cracker4112 Posts: 905 Officer
    edited July 22 #13
    Actually Elsa seemed to help out with the red tide in Old Tampa Bay and especially Hillsborough Bay, its much better post storm.  It had been creeping northward up the bay for a month prior to the storm.  At Ballast Point and the S. end of Davis Islands it was a killing field for the last 2 weeks of June with dead fish all along Bayshore for miles. Elsa spread it out all over the place elsewhere...
  • bridgeman213bridgeman213 TB area soon!Posts: 53 Deckhand
    What's everything look like today??  I'm planning to be in mediera beach next week.. don't care to swim in the ocean but I'm guessing I don't need to pack the travel rod.  Looking forward to a relaxing week from the stress of work.
  • permit_mepermit_me Posts: 1,161 Officer
    i'd plan an offshore trip of sorts w hubbards if you wanna fish, esp if you want fish to eat
  • FastEddyFastEddy Posts: 78 Deckhand
    edited July 22 #16
    What's everything look like today??  I'm planning to be in mediera beach next week.. don't care to swim in the ocean but I'm guessing I don't need to pack the travel rod.  Looking forward to a relaxing week from the stress of work.
    Haven't seen any life on the beaches  as far as sportfish  go for a couple weeks now.
    Snook disappeared after Elsa.
    Inter coastal has been pretty dead too...
    Monday I caught some dinks near Madeira in the inter coastal (flounder,Mangrove snapper,small grouper) .
    Went back to the same area on Wednesday morning during the incoming tide and thousands of dead fish (from trout,to baitfish,eel's,snook,sheepshead etc..). However, a bit south...Guys have been fishing the south side of the  skyway bridge in the evenings and catching healthy mangrove snapper. 
    And like permit says.... Offshore 10 miles out or so is fine from my understanding...so a charter may be the way to go if you want guaranteed decent fishing.
  • bridgeman213bridgeman213 TB area soon!Posts: 53 Deckhand
    Thanks to those that responded.  I'll nose around a bit and enjoy a few hours of what I intend to do almost daily once I retire.  Still have a little more than a year of this miserable occupation that keeps a roof over my head.
  • Tarpon MonoxideTarpon Monoxide Posts: 571 Officer
    edited July 24 #18
    This present red tide is bad and it has killed 6 foot tarpon as well as smaller ones. I was on Tampa Bay in 1971 and the red tide made it all the way up old Tampa Bay.  As bad as this current red tide is the 71 red tide was worse and covered a larger area of Tampa Bay. I rode the bay during the 71 red tide and I saw hundreds of dead tarpon of all sizes. Some small some giant as well as many other dead species.

    The 71' red tide in the bay was so bad that it killed most all the bait fish. In 1972 when it was time to tarpon fish the HF bridge at night not a bait fish to be found. One of the HF night tarpon fisherman got 6 inch shiners from his pond and brought them out at night in a fresh water tank and when a tarpon would go by he would put the shiner in the saltwater if the tarpon did not take he would lift it up on the hook and put it back in his fresh water tank until another tarpon came by.

    Back then we used artificial yellow 1oz nylures vibrated just outside the shadow line just under the surface got lots of tarpon bites before the red tide in 71 and after the red tide in 71 were even more effective because of the lack of bait fish for a few years.

    Channel 13 which was CBS at the time in 71 there was a report on there about the shooting of the sharks and the Highway Patrol temporarily confiscating the guns.

    What happened was that the red tide went so far up the bay and encompassed all the bay but a small area on what is now known as LIzard Flats. It pushed up thousands of sharks and I mean thousands of sharks of all sizes fleeing from the red tide. Since the south HF tarpon hole was just to the west of that area and had no red tide the tarpon still alive fled to that south HF tarpon hole. The large bulls and hammerheads took advantage and ate their fill of tarpon that were basically captive by the red tide.

    We went to the tarpon hole to tarpon fish not knowing what we were going to see. Sharks everywhere, tarpon everywhere and a lot of the sharks were giant.

    I did not go the next day to do what my friends said they were going to do. They took a 22 caliber rifle over there and shot some giant sharks and cut the jaws from them. A few pops from a 22 did not attract attention, but the word got out at the Tampa Bay Marina at the end of Hoover Street at the time and a half dozen boats showed up the next day some with 30.06 high powered rifles.

    It was a free for all on the sharks in the shallow water next to the south hole. It was calm as glass and some were shooting high powered rifles that if the bullet skipped off the water could travel the 3 miles to gandy or the few hundred yards to the HF causeway on the southwest end and have enough power left to kill someone.

    Well with all the shooting of the big caliber loud stuff it did not take long to get the attention of the Highway Patrol. The Highway Patrol pulled off the road and got on his loud speaker and told all the boats to come over to him, park their boats, and get out with their guns and come to him.

    The Highway Patrol got all the guns and put them on the roof of their patrol car and proceeded to check to see if everyone who had a gun was legal to have it.

    Since that made a lot of chatter on the HP radio a reporter from Channel 13 I think it was Warren Elly drove up to investigate.

    The HP determined that no one illegally possessed a gun, warned them to never do it again or they would be arrested and gave them their guns back. And everyone went home except my friends boat. The Channel 13 reporter asked my friend if he would take him (the reporter) over to the tarpon hole to see the site.

    My friend took the reporter out in the boat over to the hole where they saw lots of tarpon rolling and lots of giant sharks mixed in as there was no place to go but there in that part of the bay to escape the red tide.

    The reporter started to film the event when all of a sudden on camera a 12 foot hammerhead breaches out of the water with a 60 pound tarpon in his jaws. Seconds later only tarpon scales were left.

    That made the local evening Channel 13 news.

    That evening on the CBS evening news with Walter Cronkite they showed that film of the giant 12 foot hammerhead devouring a 60 pound tarpon. It made national news.

    Channel 13 probably has the film in their archives somewhere.


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  • hook_emhook_em Posts: 203 Deckhand
    Great story.  Thanks for sharing.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 12,288 AG
    that's cool, I remember fishing in the bay back in the late 60'- early 70's and it was a mess.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
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