Finished off July with a few more charters, snook and redfish were really getting good and fishing was easy… when you could keep the bait alive. Then the red tide moved into the area in full force. The red tide/algae is a naturally occurring algae that we deal with every year. I’ve been here my entire life and seen the red tide come and linger for a few days, kill some bait, and then go away again and allow marine life to get back to normal.
This year is completely unprecedented, the red tide is feeding off of the nutrients (chemicals/pollution) from the Lake O water releases down the Caloosahatchee River. This red tide has been fueled by the releases and has exploded in ways that have never been seen before. All of SWFL beaches are covered in dead fish, and have a stench that has settled in and refuse to leave. The water is filthy, and also covered with floating dead fish for as far as the eye can see. The scariest part is that it is not your normal small fish species. We have seen countless dead tarpon, goliath grouper, snook, redfish, trout, mullet, and sea turtles.
Our politicians and government agencies have allowed this to happen and since have taken almost zero action to correct the problem. Many captains, myself included, who rely on this fishery have taken action into our own hands. We have joined together to create a “no kill policy.” This means that until further notice, Blue Line Fishing Charters will not harvest any inshore species. There is enough pressure on this fishery and I will not contribute to any further stress on the environment by keeping any inshore species for dinner. To be abundantly clear all inshore charters will be catch, photograph, and release with no exceptions.
If you want to take action I beg you to please look into the following organizations: