Twenty-five seconds doesn’t sound like a long time.But imagine you’ve stalked a big bonefish across 100 yards of shallow lagoon, watching its tail and dorsal fin flicker out of the water when the fish feeds.It was caught on a live crab and tagged in late May in the Lower Florida Keys by BTT scientists from UMass Amherst and Carleton University, and was the second fish ever tagged as part of the program.We just received word from colleagues that their receiver near Port Orange, Florida, detected Helios in late June.This detection is interesting because it’s the first time we have been able to actively track fish in this size range — previous satellite tagging efforts funded by BTT were limited to tagging fish 80 pounds or larger.
I remember one time, bonefish was so thick over the flats that we averaged over a hundred a week, fishing every day. To see the sun rise out there, sometimes it’s so quiet your ears start to ring.
The project is also providing remarkable perspective and fascinating stories about an industry that is central to the region’s economy and culture—and from a group of stakeholders who know it best.
Thus far, Karrow has completed nearly 80 formal interviews with guides, some of whom were born as early as the 1930s, and shares below what we’re learning along the way: Why is this study important?
I was in the Miami Herald one time saying if you go with me and don’t catch a bonefish, I’ll [take you] the next day for free. How many skiffs have you built, and what’s the biggest to date? I built six boats, starting at age 15, before I started to bonefish.
I have a reputation to live up to, which is bad for me. To go out there, you get paid to do what you love the most.
To assess changes in fish populations, historical baselines are needed to determine how well the fishery and habitats are doing today compared to the past.