March 28, 2012 in What's Happening
A few weeks ago I attended two fishing conservation events. One was the Atlantic Salmon Federation Dinner in NY and the other a Bonefish Tarpon Trust Symposium in Florida. Both events are dedicated to species protection and habitat restoration thru scientific research and grassroots manpower. What I found interesting was an old saying that resonated from both; and I myself remember hearing from my father. That is ” I remember when.” In my fathers case he was reflecting on catching long fin albacore right outside the Newport Beach jetty where I grew up. I was 16yrs old and we were heading out the jetty on an over night, in pursuit of albacore. The problem was we had to travel 100 miles in order to catch one. We were in for a long boat ride and he liked to reflect back to when he was a kid and a time when the oceans were teaming with fish right outside the harbor, Remembering When! The strange thing is the other side of the coin.
This year at the Atlantic Salmon Dinner everyone was talking about how good the fishing was in North America this year. “Best fishing I can ever remember” and how in all the years they had never seen salmon fishing like it! There are some old guys at the ASF dinner. Were some of the conservation efforts all these years we paying off?
We know that Mother Nature can heal itself if given the chance. Look at the striped bass. They might be one of the great success stories in conservation of our time. I tell my 16yr old son how 20 years ago there were no stripers to catch. He can’t believe it. Maybe it’s because he often sees the acres of blitzing bass off Montauk Point. I think we may be in trouble with the stripers again. I think the fish is mismanaged and our memories are short and our greed is great. I pray that my son doesn’t have to look at his and say “I remember when.”
At the Bonefish Tarpon Symposium there was a panel of experts talking about Tarpon and Bonefish. Great names in the fly-fishing sport like Stu Apte, Steve Huff, Flip Pallot, Bob Rich and Bill Curtis. Mostly old timers that had been around to see the golden years of the Florida Keys. The general consensus was that the fish populations were down 90 percent from historic levels. I have been guiding in the keys for over 15 years now and believe we were seeing the Bonefish come back slowly before the freeze of 2009. The bonefish got wacked in the freeze along with Snook and many other species. Hopefully Mother Nature will repair the damage and with a little good conservation on our part we will see the glory years again. The tarpon fishing for the big fish seems to be as good as I remember but when you hear the old timers talk of fishing the Keys or Homosassa in the 70’s you just can’t imagine what it must have been like. I heard comments like “I remember when, thousands and thousands of Tarpon as far as the eye could see.”
I just pray that my sons won’t have to say “I remember when, there were acres of stripers off Montauk, tailing bonefish in keys and tarpon as far as the eye could see.” I want them to say “I’ve never seen it so good!” I am going to fight to make that statement come true. The world’s oceans are in trouble and only by getting involved are we going to be able to say “Best Fishing I can Ever Remember.”
Paul Dixon has been a saltwater fishing guide for over 20 years and is a huge addition to the Rise Fishing Pro-Staff. Most of the year you will find Paul poling his Hell’s Bay on the flats of Eastern Long Island or chasing tails in the Florida Keys. In his career he has seen fishing at its best and worse. It is because of this that Paul offers so much to Rise. He is one of our main rod testers and his feedback is a main reason our rods perform in tough conditions. This, along with his conservation efforts to bring awareness to our sport is a big reason why we are honored to have Paul on our team.