By Keith Lozott, Contributing Writer
I grew up in Lake Park, Florida and learned to fish all around Munyon Island. This beautiful place is the playground that kept me out of trouble and off the streets. I would cut lawns to make some extra cash as a kid and buy barracuda rigs, Zara Spooks, and bucktails at Lott Brothers and Seven Seas tackle shops. I’d then ride my bike over the Blue Heron Bridge to go wade fish all along the shoreline at what is now the last and thriving saltwater flat from North Palm Beach to Miami. The stretch of shoreline is just north of Pine Point and goes all the way to the preserve or dead man’s curve as we called it growing up. I can’t begin to tell you all the species of fish that we caught through the years. The area has beautiful grass flats, shallow areas, deeper edges, mangroves, and everything you want as an inshore fisherman. I’ve caught snook, redfish on occasion, seatrout (few and far between), large mangrove snapper, barracuda, tarpon, bonefish, all size ranges of jacks and not to mention the bait schools that thrive in the area.
Now for the sad news that can hopefully get turned into good news with the participation of environmentalists, politicians, local and seasonal residents!!! It has come to my attention that an investment banker/developer has decided to “forcefully” gain approval to develop the land that is currently underwater and now the only aquatic preserve of its kind left in South Florida. The owner wants to bulkhead the flats and fill it in in order to create more housing north of Pine Point. This will be an ecological devastation to an area that doesn’t have spare aquatic preserve left to allow fish to grow and thrive. As a real estate professional myself I understand development, profit, tax generation, etc. but there is a line that we can’t cross if we want our state and local economies to thrive. Saltwater fishing contributes billions to our economy every year and if we want this to continue, we must preserve these sensitive areas. There is a reason that the development of this area stopped at Pine Point and that is people finally realized what was being done to the environment by continuing the practice of filling in aquatic preserve. Allowing this development or turning a blind eye to it isn’t sustainable to the ecology of the Lake Worth Lagoon and would be a tragedy.
Today more than ever in our state water quality is a huge issue with politicians being elected as a result of poor management in the past. Let’s learn from our past and the issues that have negatively affected sensitive areas across our state and stop this NOW from happening again.
Hopefully more kids in the future will have a chance to fish what is left of the ONLY flats left in North Palm Beach.
Avid Angler and advocate for the Great State of Florida