Paradise Trashed

“There are no other Everglades in the world. They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth, remote, never wholly known. Nothing anywhere else is like them; their vast glittering openness, wider than the enormous visible round of the horizon, the racing free saltness and sweetness of the their massive winds, under the dazzling blue heights of space. They are unique also in the simplicity, the diversity, the related harmony of the forms of life they enclose. The miracle of the light pours over the green and brown expanse of saw grass and of water, shining and slow-moving below, the grass and water that is the meaning and the central fact of the Everglades of Florida. It is a river of grass.” ~ Marjory Stoneman Douglas, The Everglades: River of Grass, 1947

Recently I was hiking in the Everglades to do a bit of exploring and some fishing from the bank. It saddened me to see such disrespect for such a special place. There was fishing line left all over the place that can entangle birds, turtles and other wildlife. Plastic water bottles, aluminum cans, candy wrappers, paper and even discarded clothing everywhere I looked. I saw empty shiner buckets, worm buckets, cricket holders and every other kind of container that you can imagine. What a mess! If you want to know what bait to use, just look on the ground. I was floored by seeing discarded cast nets everywhere. It seems that people throw them and get snagged on the rocks or something else and just leave them there. They leave them there to catch God’s creatures instead of ripping them out and throwing them away. It takes a very long time for them to break down, if at all. In only a few minutes you can take it with you and discard it properly. Is this what we as anglers want to leave for future generations? If so, it sure doesn’t look good.

Please, if you’re out bank fishing in the Florida Everglades, carry out what you bring in. My feelings are if we’re to get a grasp on this mess that has been left behind, we’re going to need to carry out our own trash, as well as somebody else’s trash too. If we want to go out and have successful outings, we all are going to need to take better care of our environment and the only Everglades we have.

Despite what the shorelines look like, fishing in the Everglades is great. Water levels are low, which forces all the fish into the canals. Bass are biting big worms, sinkos, swim jigs and all kinds of topwater baits in the mornings or on cloudy days. Peacock bass and all the other exotic and invasive species are easiest to catch with live bait. If you’re not going to harvest your fish, please release them properly and as quickly as possible.

Till next time. Catch’em up!

Capt. Neal Stark
(954) 822-1481
Fishing with America’s Finest, Inc.
“Changing Lives One Cast at a Time.”
501(C)(3) Non-Profit Organization, FEIN #45-5494005
American Everglades Guide, Inc.