I grew up in Merritt Island in the mid 60’s through the mid 70’s. The space program was in booming, jobs plentiful, human spirits full of joy and patriotism, and the fishing beyond compare. I remember my dad and I tying a few chicken necks on a crab cage, dropping it over the Humpback Bridge (now Ulumay Sanctuary) in Sykes Creek, and pulling it back up a few minutes later with it overflowing with blue crabs; dinner was served. The mullet runs were so epic, I remember watching it from atop a bridge and seeing what looked like a 6’ wide, black line that moved quickly through the water for what seemed like hours. There must have been millions of mullet passing under me that day, and on many more days just like that one.
Most days, after elementary school ended, my friends and I would grab our fishing poles and ride our bicycles to Sykes Creek or the Banana River. Along the way, we saw hundreds of various species of birds, a few gators, and happy people fishing along the shorelines. We brought shrimp, frozen bait or artificial lures and basked in the sunshine and great conversation as we pulled in sea trout, catfish, ladyfish and sailors choice at will. The water in the Indian River Lagoon was very clean and clear, and there were countless dolphin and manatee as well.
We had no idea how lucky we were sharing these experiences at a time when the Indian River Lagoon was in such good shape. The water quality, marine life, and plant life were about as perfect as you could ever imagine. Those fond memories were so gratifying and were brought to us courtesy of the Indian River Lagoon. The world famous Indian River Lagoon is our most precious resource, and an amazing home to so much diverse marine life and natural beauty that I’m driven to ensure today’s children, and adults, can share in her abundant resources, breathtaking scenery, world class fishing and enjoy the same great memories I experienced.
The Indian River Lagoon has experienced a population explosion since my childhood days, and all the collateral damaging effects that are associated with that growth. As a result, the Indian River Lagoon and its many inhabitants have been in a state of decline for some time. I hope that those who have been fortunate as myself, please join me and countless others, in helping to ensure we can help make a difference in the present and future generations of marine stewards. I am honored and blessed to be able to volunteer my time and services with the Anglers for Conservation; the least-pretentious and most passionate people who share in this same goal.