Have you ever had the pleasure of poling a remote shoreline in Mosquito Lagoon early in the morning while being serenaded by the buzzing of thousands of wings?
No, not the insects for which the area earns its well deserved name; honey bees and bumble bees are omnipresent when mangroves are blooming. So much so, their collective buzzing nearly drowns out all other sounds in the area.
The next time it happens, slow down and poke your nose into the shoreline and watch them work. It’s a fascinating service they perform as they glean nectar from blossoms and collect pollen.
The lagoon is an amazing place, down to its smallest detail. Just like these little overachievers, we all need to do our part to make sure we’re acting in a manner that contributes to its sustainability.
Our responsibilities lie in how we treat it today and how we leave it for tomorrow.
In February 2019 I was minding my own business, gassing up my skiff and slapping a couple of stickers on Pump 1 at the Oak Hill Sunoco (The Meth Lab), when I noticed an old strip of double sided foam tape that was stuck in the middle of the sticker collage. My first thought was to scrape it off to make room for more stickers. As I contemplated it, I looked in my Whipray’s aft locker and saw a fly box laying there and decided to stick a couple of clouser minnow flies on it instead. I posted a story on my Instagram profile, @saltbum, offering them to a good home.
Over the next few weeks, the two flies disappeared and miraculously, new ones appeared from other fly anglers who frequent the store. After visiting Castaway Customs to order fly patches for the Tailer Trash Fly Fishing Podcast, I stuck a 239 Flies patch on the pump to see if something a little more formal would inspire even greater participation.
We later talked about the number of stickers that had been accumulating on the gas pump as well as the addition of the fly patch on an episode of Tailer Trash. Thats when it really started to take off.
Carl Granger and I needed fuel before heading out to watch one of the rocket launches that frequently happen here along the Space Coast and while we were there, we posted another story featuring the fly patch with the “Need one, take one – Have one, leave one” mantra that is often associated with a cup of pennies alongside a gas station cash register. During the next podcast, the term Flybrary was used for the first time to describe it.
We sent a couple of our new Tailer Popper fly patches to our good friend Ben Sittig in Colorado so he could put them up, creating the first two Flybrarys outside of Florida. When he did, he posted a story on his Instagram and the response was HUGE.
Since then, the Flybrary Project has taken on a life of its own, creating a sense of community and a positive vibe within the fly fishing community nationwide. Flybrary Projects come in all shapes and sizes. The spirit of the movement is to create a community of sharing and collaboration amongst anglers. get out there and found a Flybrary in your neighborhood.
Learn More about the Flybrary Project by reading about it on Fly Lords. Click Here
For decades Mosquito Lagoon has been know to some as “The Redfish Capital of The World”. The area earned the title due to the presence of redfish of all sizes that roamed lush grass flats, shoals and oyster strewn bays. The highlight being the presence of schools of breeder size “bull” redfish in many areas that sustained the local population by remaining in the estuary to spawn.
Over the years, water quality has suffered and what was once an estuary known for its gin clear water has become a place where often times you will face limited visibility due to algal blooms and turbidity caused by a devastating reduction of seagrass.
Now more than ever, the guides that work in Mosquito Lagoon must be committed to loving the imperiled estuary.
Loving the estuary starts with how and where they fish, how they handle and release the fish and what they teach anglers about efforts to restore Mosquito Lagoon.
There are approximately 80 guides who may legally operate charters on Mosquito Lagoon. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is responsible for the permitting process and enforcement of commercial operations across a vast area. The Law Enforcement Officers tasked with doing so are understaffed and underfunded.
Due to the wholesale lack of a law enforcement presence, guide operations are not unlike the wild west frontier. Routinely you will see behavior that is unprofessional and unethical in the name of putting fish in the boat.
A large number of the permitted guides are merely part-time operators who merely see their trips as extra cash in their pocket, not a lifestyle or profession. Their behavior in exploiting the resource is shameful.
The small number of working guides who are out there nearly everyday are working hard to highlight these problems and have taken on a leadership role in advocating for policies and practices amongst guides that will aid in sustaining Mosquito Lagoon.
If you’re looking forward to booking a fly fishing guide in Mosquito Lagoon, please make sure you’re supporting the resource by choosing a guide who has demonstrated a commitment to preserving and protecting it.
Not sure who that is? Contact me and I’ll make sure you get the names of guides that I would trust. I’ve spent a long time fishing alongside them and know who is worthy of your hard earned money.
Yesterday, as Tropical Storm Hermine brought wind and rain to the Space Coast; very few, if any, skiffs were on the water enjoying the mostly pristine beauty of Mosquito Lagoon.
The serenity of the quiet moment was interrupted when a thunderous series of booms shook the house again and again.
I immediately went outside to investigate, knowing it wasn’t thunder from a storm band rain shower approaching.
Moments later, social media began to break the story of an “anomaly ” that had just occurred when SpaceX was testing a rocket motor in preparation for an early morning launch on Saturday.
I went to a nearby dock and immediately saw the smoke plume rising to the south, nearly 17 miles away.
Thanks to safety protocols, no human life was lost, nor were there any injuries. The question that remains is: how much environmental damage might be done by the remnants of rocket fuel that were surely washed into the surrounding marshland when a deluge of water was applied to extinguish the massive fire.
Currently, Space Florida is awaiting an environmental impact study’s completion in an effort to bring just such a launch site to the MINWR, just 5-7 miles south of my home along the shores of Mosquito Lagoon. I hope that a fully transparent and objective study includes the aftermath of this incident in the study. The area being considered is home to many endangered and threatened species and is opposed by US Fish & Wildlife staff that run the Refuge.
Yesterday was a wake-up call. Space flight remains a risky business and with that in mind, I remain opposed to the Commercial Launch Facility that is proposed.
Shiloh Commercial Spaceport
In 2012, the State of Florida requested 150 acres of NASA land located at the north end of the Kennedy Space Center, near Daytona. The site – known as “Shiloh,” which is largely unpopulated at this time, would be developed into a dedicated commercial spaceport. Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana communicated his support to the Federal Aviation Administration in April 2013 for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Study of the site. Today, the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation is working with the State of Florida to complete the Environmental Impact Study, which is anticipated to be complete by late 2015. Following the successful completion of that study, Space Florida will submit a formal application to the FAA for consideration of a Spaceport Operators License at the site.
I support the creation of a new launch facility on the current NASA campus where infrastructure already exists to respond to and manage the next inevitable “anomaly” when it occurs.
Continue to stay engaged on this issue and have your voice heard saying No Shiloh Launch Complex. The MINWR needs to remain pristine and clean.
From stories being recount from a day on the water, to analysis of the latest fad sweeping Instagram, you’ll get a fresh new perspective that hasn’t seen the desk of an industry insider before the publish button is clicked.
The overwhelming push on environmental issues that are far from clear like anthropologic climate change on social media sometimes results in easily understood and non controversial ones to be overlooked. For instance, water quality in our communities’ waterways has declined over the past decades, yet not a lot of people are aware of the issue and how easily they can change their behavior to improve it.
Whether inland or along the coast in Florida, decades of fertilization of yards has resulted in lush landscapes around most neighborhoods. The unintended consequence is run-off of excess fertilizer into adjacent streams, ponds, lakes and rivers. The resulting nutrient load in the water results in algae blooms and uncontrolled growth of various submerged and emergent grasses and plants. In the worst of cases, oxygen levels plummet and living creatures throughout the water column die.
Even cutting grass and allowing it to get washed into storm water sewers has the same effect, as the clippings contain high amounts of nutrients that are easily released into the water, upsetting the natural balance.
In order to combat these problems, many communities have asked their residents to suspend fertilizer application through the rainy season, June – December. Doing so will help to prevent the run-off from thunderstorms being so easily loaded with excess nutrients.
In addition, several counties and municipalities are using placards and public information campaigns to educate the population on how to avoid sending clippings downstream into bodies of water by simply being mindful of where your mower sheds clippings. Don’t blow them into the street, send them back across the yard where they can degrade and release the nutrients into the lawn, where you want them anyway.
Simple problems and simple solutions are easy to understand. They don’t contain hidden agendas or the creation of “credits” made out of a nebulous idea that go to an equally mysterious bank.
If your neighborhood lacks a similar program, get involved and get one started. The cost is low and the benefit to the environment is real.
Check out how its being done along the Indian River Lagoon in Brevard County, Florida. Its a great example of how little ideas can have a big impact.