For ages, the passage has been used by shipping traffic as a shortcut between the Gulf Stream and the open Atlantic Ocean. In places like the Florida Keys, Belize and the Bahamas, the sport fish is known to spend its entire life in waters no deeper than 6 feet.
That's why researchers were puzzled to observe bone fish make a spawning run deep along the edge of the Providence Channel. “Following the bone fish on their offshore spawning migration was a marathon for the science team as well as the fish,” said Adams.
Like many species of coastal marine fish, bone fish gather in groups known as spawning aggregations consisting of a mix of males and females. First, adults travel up to 70 miles from shallow water home flats to form nearshore pre-spawning aggregations.
Tiny larvae hatch from the eggs and live in the open ocean, adrift on currents as plankton for days to months. A tiny radio transmitter about the size of a small battery is surgically implanted into the fish’s abdominal cavity.
The strength of the signal sent from the tag to the hydrophone tells the researchers which direction to move the boat in order to follow the fish. The researchers spent four days from sunrise to sunset observing the bone fish respawning aggregation in hopes they would move offshore to spawn.
At sunset on the final scheduled night of the research cruise, bone fish began “porpoising,” or gulping air at the surface. The successful observation of bone fish spawning capped an exhausting but exhilarating 18-hour shift on the water, spanning two days.
We had talked to swordfish fishers who said they have found adult bone fish in the bellies of the swords, a deep water predator.” “We were stunned by this discovery,” said Steven Lombard, first author of the paper and a doctoral candidate working on bone fish habitat studies with Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Fishery Ecology and Conservation Lab.
“Data from our acoustic telemetry tags showed us in real time that bone fish were capable of handling extreme pressures. “In Florida, saltwater fishing is worth over $9 billion annually, but it's only sustainable if we protect the habitat,” Adams told Calm.
“The Florida Keys flats fishing annual economic impact was $465 million as long as 10 years ago. A single Keys bone fish is worth about $3,500 a year and as much as $75,000 over its lifespan, a University of Miami study found, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Find local guides, charters, bait shops, and boat & fishing equipment rentals. You can fish from land, bridges, piers, docks, the beach, inshore, backwaters & flats, and offshore.
We have thousands of reefs and wrecks offshore for action packed fishing, snorkeling, and diving. With hundreds of saltwater species making the Gulf of Mexico, the Straights of Florida, and the Atlantic Ocean home, your choices are endless.
If you are vacationing here we have local charter's and guides ready to show you a good time. There is a vast network of canals, channels, and lakes throughout the state offering excellent fishing with large mouth bass, catfish, crappie, pan fish and bream being popular targets.
A large portion of Florida is within county, state, and national parks offering excellent freshwater, brackish, and saltwater fishing. All parks require fishing licenses and advise anglers to review their guidelines to ensure a safe and successful trip.
Most of the area within the Everglades is a wild wet wilderness receiving 55 inches of rain annually. With all this water comes a vast variety of fishing opportunities in freshwater, brackish and saltwater.
Freshwater species in the Everglades include Large mouth Bass, Yellow Bullheads, Bluegills, Golden Sinners, Sunfish, and Florida gar. You can also finds nook, tarpon, and other saltwater species that have adapted to brackish and freshwater.
Saltwater species are abundant in the Everglades where land meets the Gulf of Mexico, Florida Bay, and the Atlantic. When you finish your days of fishing, boating, golfing, hiking, and exploring, stop by any beach or any other location on the water for our daily ritual of watching the sunset.
Be sure to look up in all directions after it sets and watch closely as the clouds change colors right before your eyes. Most spectators of this daily event look for the “Green Flash” which occurs just as the sun is disappearing on the horizon.
I personally have never seen the green flash (could be my UV glass lens) but many have marveled at its beauty. But once it gets cold up north, the “snow birds” arrive tripling our population and crowding our waterways.
Snow Birds are, as we locals call them, either part-time residents or vacationers that come to our area to escape the cold winters up north. Don't get me wrong, we love the snow birds, they are a very important economic necessity for our tourism based economy in Florida.
But locals start counting a few weeks before Easter the car carriers arriving daily. Residents and visitors alike spend a good portion of their time outdoors enjoying 821,620 acres of federal and state parks, preserves, and refugees.
Inland lakes and canals, both natural and man made, offer freshwater anglers a variety of species. For a change of pace, attend one of our numerous outdoor events, festivals, arts and crafts shows, museums, the zoo or the botanical gardens.