Over the past few trips into the back country, I’ve noticed a lack of the grey ghost and a surprising number of redfish. The redfish stocks appear to be doing better but the bonefish as still having a hard time. Does this mean that decline in the grey ghost will being filled by redfish? Will the legendary Florida Keys silver speedster be replaced by a newer red muscle car? Is Red the new Gray?
BTT republished an article from the Angling Report discussing the decline of bonefish stocks in the Florida Keys. Habitat loss and change is cited as one possible reason for the decline. The current state of the Everglades is viewed as one of the reasons. One of the issues that the author talks about is the Everglades and how we did a number on them and the historic water flows. The redirection of the water resulted in dramatic shifts in the water chemistry of Florida Bay. An example is the algae bloom that is holding around Big Pine Key. There is a school of thought that this bloom is a direct result of the Okeechobee water release coming out of Ft Myers. This water contains massive amounts of pollutants and has caused massive havoc in Ft Myers and on the East Coast as well. It would appear that the bonefish are feeling the pinch as well.
There is hope now that the Everglades Water Flow Restoration project is moving. The return of the redfish to the Florida Keys is a sign that they are doing well, and that’s good. Hopefully, the bonefish will follow. BTT is conducting a study in the Florida Keys to determine what is going on, I’d say support them. Until then, are we going to be seeing Red??