I find myself a lone voice,
while live baiters & jiggers continue to fight, about what seems like you catch more fish than than I do so you must be bad?
The truth to me is very different as I see it, and maybe only as I see it.
To me watching the evolution of fishing, and studying the movements,
spawning, habits, of Tarpon
How the currants affect where the eggs flow to, where the very young fish grow up.
There is a much larger problem than jiggers or sharks or bait.
When confronted with a problem in the present or a problem for the future you need to look first to the past, See what was, what is this will help determine what will be.
So let’s start at the turn of the last century, commerce came to South west Florida.
Phosphate the mines at Liver pool were really getting going, The Cattle industry was taking off,
plenty of good needed to go to market. Money to be made, all good. It is what humans need to have civilization. Jobs!
So with the need Boca Grande Pass was just deep enough to get smaller deep water vessels into,
but by 1912, the need for larger ships prompted the first dredging of Boca Grande Pass.
As I understand from the writings the two sand bars at the north end of Bokeelia used to be islands? I cannot verify this However the story goes That after dredging the pass the increase in water flow, I do not know how else to say it sucked the islands away.
That first dredging changed the currant & flow of the pass, & for almost 100 years it was kept constant, as every 3 or 4 years routine maintenance dredging was done until 2001.
It was in 2001 that the power plant in Fort Myers, switch to Natural gas, instead of fuel oil, This alone does not seem like much, But The delivery of fuel oil to the tanks located at the south end of Gasprilla Island by tankers made Boca pass a commercial shipping lane, once the shipments stopped, it is no longer a commercial shipping channel as not eligible for routine maintenance dredging.
Jump from 2001 to 2012 Tarpon season, The Tarpon last year & the year before have been behaving differently than previous years, not following normal patterns, what is the problem?
The pass is now narrower than it was 10 years ago or the year before or the year before that. The water flow is changing each year! Add to that the beach rebuilding “Dredging sand from the gulf and putting up on the beaches.
From what I can see from old Satellite photos, Boca is now at least 25% different than it was, & will continue to change. I have spoken to many fishermen about this. NO the pass is as deep as it ever was
so there is no problem, I have been told this many times, My case my response is that Captiva, Gasprilla & Stump Passes are still deep but are blocked by sand bars on the gulf sides, Is this not considered filling in? Change is change
the islands which are forming are changing redirecting the currants restricting the water flow. Our Tarpon fishery depends on water flow and the currants. Tarpon have been using Boca Pass for feeding & spawning, man has maintained that constant even flow not changed for almost 100 years, until now.
It only makes sense the Tarpon would change with it.
This is not as sexy as Look, there is the guys who are doing this, blame them! They are the ones.
Now is the time for jiggers & drifters to get together, As one voice shout at the top of our lungs Save the passes we and the Tarpon knew it. To even think that humans could dredge for 90 some years and it would have no effect is well complete lack of thinking!
What is wrong is not about whom, but about what.
For decades Tarpon were killed and hung on nails as proof of a good day
Now Sharks get some. People buy Tarpon tags, and the money is spent on research,
Some Tarpon die. No it is not good, but it does take money to do learn things.
Please quit fighting over who is doing what. Just look you will see what I am talking about.
Hate, and finger pointing, is not productive. Yes the Tarpon habits are changing, yes it could all end.
Now ask yourself, Jigging has been going on for quite a while, what really changed in the last few years? What is the most significant change?
The water flow of Boca Pass itself.
This note has been my opion of what is happening and while is not to be consider the only truth, it is definatley part of the Truth, and anyone who thinks they have “THE” answer really does not understand the question. Many things affect the movement of fish and their spawning habits, Red fish, Shrimp, Snook, mullet, Golith & Gag groupers are also amoung the ones who rely on the currants of boca pass to carry their eggs into the safty of the creeks and canals of Charlotte Harbor. WHile fihsing pressure will and does change fish habitat it would surprise me that after 50 years of people fishing in the pass this is the cause of the problem. It is or could be a contributing factor, Ocums Razor is the theory which the simplist explaination is usaly the correct one, Well over the last few years things changed, Jiggin was going on for longer than that, the one thing which has changed. They stopped dredgeing the pass. Ban the jigs, ban all fishing in the pass, but only if you can get it back on the dredgeing program otherwise it will be a mute point. By the time they make laws, the fish will either be gone or moved anyway