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.
More importantly, I know who loves the Lagoon.