The fishing before Elsa was on the up and up with the big female Snook bite taking off, landing multiple fish over 35” on just about every trip going into July. The Tarpon have showed up in droves with tons of reports of multiple fish and sometimes double-digit days throughout Tampa Bay, Egmont Key, and Anna Maria. The often elusive but fun fighting Permit have also begun flooding the shallows and nearshore wrecks and reefs making for fun action on light tackle.
There have been traces of the dreaded red tide becoming more and more evident as June approached and it is unfortunately now inevitable, as July has now descended upon us. RED TIDE IS HERE and RAMPANT throughout Tampa Bay. Although Red tide is a naturally occurring phenomenon, within the last 30 years we have seen unprecedented fish kills and worsening human physical ailments such as respiratory irritation.
There are several reasons for the worsening conditions of our ecosystem including over-population, pollution, sewage and fertilizer run-off, Lake Okeechobee release, and a lack of oversight regarding Tampa Bay ecology due the direct actions regarding waste of businesses including Big Sugar.
The number of fish kills are rapidly climbing as some projections top 427 TONS of dead marine life and debris having been removed already as full-time clean-up crews have been deployed to help battle the awful stench, poor sights, and at a minimum a tickle in the back of your throat. 9 TONS of DEAD FISH and MARINE LIFE have been cleaned up in a single day following Elsa. Many of us were hoping and praying the storm would pull the red tide out of the bay and limit the bloom due to a lower concentration of salinity which red tide cannot survive. However, that does not seem to be the case as scientists are projecting this may continue well into the foreseeable future, bringing back nightmares of the most recent 2017 bloom. The longest bloom was recorded in 1994 lasting 30 months. However, the bloom in 2017 was one of the top 5 worst blooms in since red tide had been recorded, lasting 15 months. The Piney Point dump should be recorded as a major triggering event that can and will be a leading cause of another horrific year of red tide blooms.
I say all of this with a heavy heart, as I depend on Florida’s natural resources as my livelihood, but we need oversight and change, in order to reverse this trend of significant damage to our marine and human life. It is not just bait fish and small eels that are dying like some years, now there are manatees, dolphins, goliath grouper, and even tarpon that succumb to the effects of this worsening “phenomenon” that humans have exacerbated. I am pleading to you the public, and our elected officials that we need to raise awareness on the subject, and we must hold those individuals and businesses accountable for our worsening ecological state of emergency as we search for solutions and alternative methods of limiting the red tide blooms.
The Suzuki Repower Fishing Report is sponsored by Mastry Suzuki Repower
Hi – I’m Captain Skylar Wilks and I am a full-time Tampa Bay Inshore Guide, residing in Madeira Beach. I grew up spending my weekends and summers fishing with my Grandparents who live across the street from the Madeira Beach Marina. In 2011, I moved a bit further south to Fort Myers and attended Florida Gulf Coast University, with a scholarship to play Division 1 soccer. When I wasn’t playing soccer, I was spending my time learning the waters and fishing in Sanibel, Estero Bay, and the Naples area. In 2015, I graduated with a degree in Business Management and moved back to Madeira Beach to launch my fishing business, Inspired Fishing Charters.