Where Have All the Fishes Gone?

A few years ago, Honda Matt, Tawny, Charles and I had an addiction. It wasn’t an affinity to drugs and we weren’t alcoholics. We had an addiction to fishing. We fished the Chesapeake Bay and coastal Atlantic so frequently it became habit. Our group was just short of “expert” status and we usually took home more fish than we could possibly consume in a day.

After a while life got in the way. Flash forward a couple years – Matt and Tawny had a kid, I became very career oriented, and we just never found the time to go fishing again. Up until about a year ago when Tina and I got together, I hadn’t touched a fishing rod in quite a while.

Tina, however, had re-inspired me to seek out and bring home the fish. So I started again – the hunt was on. I dusted off my lonely gear and we headed out obsessively.

Now, it’s been almost a year since I started fishing again approximately once a week. I’ve fished the same waters with the same techniques and gear as I used to, as well as expanded my hunt into Florida. Now it seems that I can’t catch a darn thing! I stressed about this for quite some time until I recently realized that I am not the problem. I’m still doing everything right. I’ve noticed that everyone else fishing around me is having the same troubles and rarely take home a fish of any size. I even noticed yesterday, as I patiently jigged my lure in Jupiter Inlet, that even the birds are having trouble finding a meal. I witnessed a large Pelican completely give up and lay down hungrily in the sand.

I could hypothesize all day about where the fish have gone. There are many theories – from overfishing, to global warming/climate shift, and even reef devastation due to invasive Lionfish. As a diver/snorkeler, I know that the fish are still there, because I can see them, and it doesn’t appear that their numbers have significantly decreased in recent years. The truth is that I have no idea what is happening and I’d venture to say that the scientists don’t know for sure either. One thing is a concrete fact though…the fish are no longer biting like they used to.

Here’s some photos from our adventure yesterday at Jupiter Inlet.

When it’s all said and done, we still have a great time fishing every time we try. We didn’t catch any fish yesterday but we did catch some great scenery on film. We were actually just invited to join my parents for a Reef Restoration Class and dive this weekend in Key Largo. Maybe the class will provide some insight on where all the fish have gone.

Cheers!

On and Around an Island

January of 2012 was a busy month for Tina and I. We were itching to get to South Florida and start a new life together. We managed to pull it off – we got a decent condo, packed our belongings, and Tina transfered within her company – and just like that we now live in Palm Beach.

One of the perks of being here is that both her parents and mine have recently bought homes in Florida. My parents landed in Key Largo and hers in Daytona Beach (due to a complicated series of events – check out http://www.graceunderway.com). We’ve made multiple trips down to Key Largo to hang with my ‘rents and we recently returned from Daytona Beach. I’d like to share some stories and photos of both adventures, so here we go!

 Key Largo, Florida

On our most recent trip we had the pleasure of taking out my parent’s boat, “Reef Seeker”, and doing some snorkeling and fishing in the Atlantic. For the second time, I got to check out the Christ of the Abyss statue off Key Largo. The reef was full of life with schools of Parrot Fish, Sargent Majors, and Grunts everywhere. This was Tina’s first legitimate open-ocean snorkeling experience and I think she thoroughly enjoyed it. She was terrified of the concept of swimming with sharks until it actually happened…we were in the water for no more than two minutes before she spotted a shark on the reef and shouted out to me “is that bad?”

I just smiled and tried to catch up to the shark.

Later in the day, we dropped Tina and my mom off at the house (they’d had enough) and went back to the ocean for some Mahi fishing. We could see big fish swimming all over the place but we couldn’t get them to take our bait. Nonetheless, it was a great ride and I think Roger enjoyed his first big-game fishing experience aboard the “Reef Seeker”.

Daytona Beach, Florida

As I mentioned above, Tina’s parents also bought a house a few hours from us. We recently made the Northbound trip to Daytona Beach to visit with them. We arrived in the afternoon and reunited on Grace, a 46′ retired Lobster boat that her parents own. Last fall they piloted the boat from Virginia Beach to Daytona Beach in an epic adventure of their own. We spent the evening and the next day exploring Daytona and checking out their new house that’s only four blocks from the marina.

Notable happenings in Daytona:

  •  Apparently, Tina is the only able fisherman among us. After hours of fishing from the docks at the marina, she made the only catch with a ~14″ catfish.
  • Tina is now driving “Dora the Ford Explorer” around Palm Beach County. WATCH OUT if you’re in the area.
  • Silvana makes the best breakfast burritos I’ve ever had. Definitely.
  • When you see a man pull down his pants in public, in the street, in Daytona, at night … he most likely is homeless and needs to go #1.

I know…it’s amazing, but I didn’t snap a single picture of Smelly Melly. Daytona was great (other than the peeing-hobo incident described above – I would have been OK without that) and we can’t wait to visit later in the summer when the whole family is in town.

Stay tuned for lots more adventure photos. It’s only going to get better! Chao!

A Manatee at the PPP

A manatee recently visited my parents house (the Pink Pelican Palace) in Key Largo. Here are a few pictures that Tina snapped of the friendly creature attempting to get a drink of fresh water. I wish I could have seen the manatee in person, but I was personally too busy [not] catching Mahi at the time.