Season's greetings

Season's greetings

Gary Meyer | Tuesday, 3 November 2020


As I type this a cool breeze is forcing through my house windows. You cannot believe how wonderful that is! The last nine months have been, for me, the longest unfishable duration in South Florida that I believe to have ever happened in my lifetime.

It started back around early March when unseasonably warm weather released the wintering fish out of the backcountry. That is expected each year, but it is a bummer when it happens so early.

What followed weather wise was also not unexpected: the winds of Spring cranked up and added another dimension to further degrade my fishing enthusiasm. Normally I can trudge through those common early year distractions, but of course this year we had COVID and that essentially blew the flame off the candle.

COVID was less of a medical concern (for me, and likely other anglers) than it was a practical roadblock: parks were closed, and even boatramps were shut off in many areas of Florida, which caused overcrowding and conflicts in the few areas that stayed open. The entire Florida Keys were shuttered to non-residents.

By the time tensions eased, summer was upon us, and this summer produced an unprecedented tropical storm season. At this time the Atlantic tropical storm season has spawned 28 storms, and number 29 is in the making. Since the "season" does not end until November 30, it is quite likely to hit 30. A normal year sees maybe a dozen. I believe the first two storms actually spawned before the "official" beginning of the season on June 1.

While South Florida essentially evaded any direct landfall of any of the storms (so far), the amount of rainfall has been extraordinary. The rains started in late May, per usual, but then they continued throughout the summer, which is a bit unusual. Normally, the rains decrease during mid Summer, and then pick back up in September when hurricane/ tropical storms are most likely. This year the middle of summer stayed pretty wet, and then, right on cue, the precipitation peaked in September. What was really extraordinary is that rains continued to peak all through September and October! I cannot remember as wet an October as we have just experienced. During the last few weeks, urban street flooding across South Florida has been common.

Personally, I have lived in the same house for over 30 years, and I never witnessed my local street or neighborhood flood. Not even during hurricanes. It flooded twice over the last few weeks.

All of the above is to explain what an unhappy angler I have been of late. It has been so bad I could not easily practice my flycasting in the park behind my house lately. It has held about a foot of standing water for weeks now. I had to don waders to practice. It is not that I am a wimp and cannot get my feet wet. It is much more serious than that: the excessive rains have over burdened the sewer systems and sewage has backed-up into the storm drains - polluting the river and making all ponded water suspect.

Here's hoping these first cool winds of Autumn usher in not only a change of air temperature, but a change in fishing conditions as well.

Maybe then I will have something interesting to write about?