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A Trip Down Memory Lane

I am preparing to change my social media platform, so I took a trip down memory lane to recover some of my old photographs; 9 years worth. Looking back through that time frame, it brought a lot of smiles to my face. The number of clients that I have been blessed to fish with, the fish we have caught, family trips, and some photos that were just a reminder of how special this place I call home is. I will admit that there was a little sadness in the trip too. Sadness because of friends lost and because of the obvious proof of how much the area has degraded in the last 9 years.

It is painful to see how much seagrass has been lost and how much is has hurt our fishing and wildlife in the area. I saw photos of redfish in grass so thick, it was all you could do to get them to notice an offering. Flies and jigs had to be designed to be as weedless as possible, or you didn't get many shots at catching. Thinking of that loss brings a tear to my eye and hurts my soul. Many of the people I fished with have moved on, trying to find areas that remind them of those past days here, or they have just given up fishing all together. I don't think we ever thought the ecological devastation we have witnessed would actually take place. But alas, it did.

While you may think I feel defeated, I do not! Just this past week, citizens took our local elections and they decided to put our river first, and get rid of the same old politicians that catered to builders and others responsible for our ecological issues. I have already been contacted by one of the newly elected officials and been asked to volunteer for a group that will oversee recovery efforts and help identify projects that can dramatic effects on improving the quality of the water. of course, I immediately accepted. This has given me hope that the people of our area recognize how special our waterways are and that, like me, they've had enough and want "the good old days" back. No, it will not happen overnight; we didn't get in this trouble overnight and it will take time to overcome the issues. But, several places have already been working on the issues and our governor has put forth the funding needed to correct the issues. So, we will march forward and continue to make things better.

In the meantime, we have adapted, much like the redfish, seatrout, snook, tarpon and black drum. While weedguards may not be needed for seagrasses, they are needed for protection from mangroves, which have been a huge success story in our area. Our fish have learned to utilize them for protection and as fishing enthusiasts, we have altered our tactics to chase them. So, unlike some of the reports you may see, we still have good fishing; it is just different from what most people were used to in the area. Some of us have adapted and some have not; that is the difference between success and failure. Soon, our water levels will drop back to normal, cooler temperatures will clear the water up, and our fishing will be as hot as our summer temperatures were. Don't wait until the last minute to try and book your trip, because once the photos start being displayed, bookings fill up quick!

I hope you enjoy the little photo trip down memory lane.

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