Veteran's Day Fishing Report, November 11, 2015.
The Halifax River....
Well...almost fifty years now.....fishing up and down the banks of this river. And though it has seen better days, it is still somewhat encouraging to be able to throw a cast net,...or toss a line almost ANY where along it's 25 miles of shoreline, and catch at least a little something.
The better days? Oysters and clams were once catchable and edible! The oyster bars thrived...and held within them a small family of mussels, mud crabs, blue crabs, dogfish, crayfish, and many small unknown species that sought protection in their shallow depths....flourishing above the jagged sharp edges of the thriving oysters!
But money speaks louder than the muffled cries of this dying ecological treasure. There will be no empathy with the oyster or the waterway. New subdivisions mean a larger tax base! A new Civic Center will reel in tourist dollars! An International Airport...with one quasi-international flight per day...will attract international spenders!! Hugely famous hotels , water-parks, beach tolls ,...and that wonderful little power-play called "eminent domain". All supported by the community and subsidized by their very own tax-dollars. Nose deep in the internet...whatever else is happening outside of it is a bitter and ugly distraction. Someday..ahh someday! ...we can be just like Miami! Daytona....you sleepy little beachtown you! So jealous of Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville....Orlando. Why can't you be just like them?
Now, it isn't as if it has been poisoned by a civilization carelessly dumping raw sewage, chemicals, trash, plastic, or motor oil into it. And the area is not a bustling Metropolis that has forgotten about nature ,... lost in their own little sea of tall buildings, concrete and steel, and fabricated reality.
The population is not immense...but ignorance and carelessness in a growing community has kept ecology to the wayside, as more and more people choose that fabricated reality. Building a sewage treatment plant was one of the plans with good intentions, but unfortunately paved the way to an ecological disaster. It removed common conscience, and any real concern from the local citizenry, or from local politics. They had done their duty,,..spent their tax dollars, embraced technology, and resigned responsibility to their local politicians. The city of Daytona Beach is permitted to dump 20 MILLION GALLONS of (treated) sewage water A DAY onto this river! And it exceeds that routinely! The poor river doesn't know what hit it. Boasting a 99% purity rate, could potentially put TWENTY THOUSAND GALLONS OF RAW SEWAGE A DAY into this river. For math rats, that's 7 million three-hundred thousand gallons of whatever you flushed down your toilet...every year. And for statistics rats, we all know that pundits will tout their BEST statistics, not their worst..
Floridian's know about black ice. It's that first 30 minutes of rain on the local roads that floats all the engine oil, transmission oil, worn tire rubber, diesel, etc. to the surface and creates a virtual automobile slip-n-slide. Now up north, it's a sheet of ice. Here, luckily, after a half-hour or so....all that scum , grit, chemical, greasy, oily soup gets washed away...and then we can glide along happily on our highways with some friction!
But it's not gone. The toxic concoction is washed into the poor Halifax, through hundreds of storm drains and through general runoff, hitting it with a near bell-ringer as it's defenses in filtering oyster beds , vast estuaries, and natural unobstructed flow....are taken from her. All of that fertilizer, ..pesticides in ant killer, cinch bug killer, and the poisons to kill all of them bastardly bugs that might make a brown spot on your lawn and your status in the neighborhood. Lavished on your lawn with a loving sanctimony, feeding a weed type grass that obviously does not belong there..., your concerns an ethereal fantasy of how the neighbors look on your lawn with envy. The world truly ends...at the tip of your nose.
But we have houses to build, and cars to buy...parking lots to pave. And we have an internet to distract us from anything going on out there anyway. These are our priorities, for our time. Perhaps, one day a million years from now when we are gone, the Halifax River will have her day again...
But onto the fishing report! Started off at 6 am with the free-lined finger mullet. Laying into a small snook on a Zara Spook hiding in the grass a couple days ago, got me dreaming of that elusive 65 pounder! So, I cast netted two live finger mullet, and sent them onto their destiny. I named them! (my finger mullet). Tweedle Dee, ..and Tweedle Dumb.
Now , for those of you who have used these small flittering baits before, you might know why I gave them these names. There are two types of finger mullet. There are the scuba divers, and there are snorklers! I hate scuba divers. No matter what you try, they go straight down to the bottom like they're not suppose to. Yank'em, rehook'em, break a fin, coax'em, curse'em...they are going deep no matter what you do. I call these the "tweedle dumbs"...but they are probably pretty damn smart! What you are SUPPOSE to be doing, is what 'tweedle dee' over here is doing. Snorkling! Floating around on the top making sweet little rippling circles that create a prehistoric and carnal RAGE in redfish, snook, gator trout, bluefish, jack crevalle, and pelicans. They will eat you even though their belly is already bursting and full from morning breakfast. Irresistable..
By the time I got to tweedle dee, though....the sun had come up blazing, and it was only a two pound jack crevalle that couldn't control himself and take the bait. "Tweedle Dees".. are Jack crack, and they can't get enough!
Resorted to some mushy dead shrimp that my nephew JT had so graciously given me 8-months ago. They thawed quickly in the rising sun. And though all juveniles, I caught a variety of fish that you can only reap from salt-water fishing,.., the best kind of fishing. Mangrove Snapper, Sailor's Choice, Mudcat, Sailcat, Sting Ray, Croaker, Sculpin (or Robinfish?). All too small, and probably anxious to leave the oyster barren river soon.
Well, good luck! Remember to fish the unregulated species for a more productive venture! Throw everything else back, because you might end up with a hefty fine if your greedy little selfish hands are in possession any of the over 160 regulated Florida aquatic species. Remember though, it's because you have been greedily catching way too many fish,. (You and that 57 year old Grandma on the shore line with her cane pole.)! Or, perhaps, the regulated species have been decimated by a neglected and conveniently ignored environment, subjugated by our own vision of sugar plums in a modern fabricated reality. Tight lines! :)