Simple observation, flats that are normally covered with grass this time of year are virtual deserts. Talked with a commercial angler and a guide and they are seeing the same thing. No Grass. Another angler at a recent offshore tournament commented about the "Dead Zones" in the Indian River. From my own experience it is an area that runs from Grant to past Johns Island in Vero. at least. Any ideas as to what is happening? Have heard about the possibility of a blight killing the grass.
One theory has it that it was an algae bloom started by a faulty sewage treatment plant. Theory number two lays the blame on a combination of the freeze two years ago and a rise in the salinity in the river which allowed the algae to grow and spread. One that I heard this weekend is that the grass was killed by weed killer carried in run off.
Unfortunately, it seems like there's a much bigger issue at hand. Seagrass has not come back like it should. Yes, it's still winter time, but this year was surprisingly mild. Grass die-offs are occurring from Stuart north to New Smyrna Beach. There' s something going on in the Indian River lagoon, and many of the traditional areas that grew grass are not. My guess is that runoff into the IRL is really screwing up salinity and turbidity levels. If we lose the grass, we lose the baitfish, the wading birds, and fishing suffers. Not a good situation.
Happy to report that the grass in the Johns Island area is starting to make a come back. The muck that I like for Reds is starting to cover a few spots. The real grass is still sparse, but it is showing signs of recovery.