Friday, January 22, 2016

Red Tide – Where to fish?

This comes to us from Tom Gadacz in Florida.

Yes, the red tide has rolled into the St. Pete beaches with dead fish behind Dolphin Village.  So where do we safely fish?
Meet Karina brevis, a dinoflagellate alga that has moved into our beaches.  It is a single cell organism which produces neurotoxins.  The two flagella allow it to move through water.  It requires light to grow and reproduce and is usually in surface water.  In high concentrations the water takes on a reddish or pinkish color – giving it the name red tide.
These organisms have been described as early as the 15th century by Spanish explorers.  Southwest Florida is especially noted for these algal blooms which are increasing in frequency.  They also occur around Texas and Mexican coastal waters.  They are a part of the natural community of marine organisms and recent frequent and intensive blooms raise speculation that human activities generate excessive nutrients in runoff waters resulting in bloom conditions.  The neurotoxins have deleterious effects on fish, marine mammals, turtles, birds and shellfish.  These toxins are airborne and have respiratory effects in humans.  Common symptoms include difficulty breathing, coughing, and shortness of breath.  It has also depresses the immune system.  There is also a red tide on the western coast of our country.
Our west coast Florida red tide is different than the west coast from mid California to Washington and even extending into Alaska.  The algal organism there is Pseudo-nitzschia.  It also produces a neurotoxin, domoic acid.  It requires very high concentrations of the organism to cause harm.
Well so much for the villain.  Where do we fish when Karina is wreaking havoc? 

Head for the back country of rivers and bays away from gulf waters.  Check out the water and made sure there are no dead fish along the bank or pilings.  Get out that fly rod and drift along the bank and get that fly in, under, and around structures.  Common places to throw that fly include trees, logs, bushes, mangroves, docks, bridges and pilings.  A horizontal cast will get the fly under docks and the branches of shore vegetation.  Get your cast as close as possible to the bank and explore undercut areas.  Bendbacks, Clouser minnows and poppers can be the go to flies.  Vary your retrieve between long slow strips to sharp tugs for surface flies.  Once you get a few strikes work the area especially if snook are around.  On a recent trip we caught several snook and Pat landed a 27 incher.  Nice catch!

Tom Gadacz & Captain Pat Damico, IFFF MCI

Pat Damico w/ very nice snook

Tom Gadacz w/20" Snook

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