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Solutions needed for blue-green algae problems

By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON - | Aug 6, 2021

Capt. George Tunison

The problem — Microcystis is a type of toxic cyanobacteria that grows in Lake O. Pictures from a few months ago showed marinas on the lake blanketed in a solid mass of these poisonous algae. Agriculture run-off into the lake fuels these blooms, the summer rains come, the lake level get too high, then water is released to the east and west poisoning two rivers and exposing both humans and animals to the toxins, wreaking havoc on the economy while starving the Everglades and Florida Bay of badly needed fresh water.

One solution — Send more water south through the Everglades during the dry season increasing Lake O’s capacity for the summer rainy season resulting in less discharges to both rivers. This tactic, plus stopping the pollution from entering the lake, cleaning out areas of toxic lake bottom that helps to continue to fuel these blooms and holding/cleaning water in large reservoirs before releasing it will over time, help solve the Lake O water woes.

Just who is really in charge of determining when this toxic water is released and in what direction? The Army Corps? Politicians? Water managers? Others say huge money agriculture interests help guide these decisions.

We are told The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers makes these decisions that affect our health, our economy and environment, and will release the final draft of their LOSOM or the Lake O System Operating Manual in November. Chosen plan “CC” was one of five proposed management options and so far it seems the proposal is good news for the St. Lucie River and those living along it, as the rainy season toxic water discharges to the east will be stopped or slowed.

So where will this excess rainy season water go? All to the south through the Everglades? Held somewhere? Sadly, so far, it looks like the plan calls for this poison stew to be shipped west, down the Caloosahatchee to Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Sanibel and Pine Island, Matlacha Pass and our coastline, although the plan calls for Corps to “slow the discharges, during the summer months”

Exposure to these cyanobacteria has been linked to human diseases as well as respiratory issues. Between the ongoing COVID-19 and toxic water-caused airborne discharges, we all might soon be wearing three masks, or respirators.

Decades of land and water mismanagement in the name of the dollar have brought us here and unfortunately there is no quick fix.

If you’re concerned about this toxic issue and the future of the Southwest Florida environment, as well as the negative health effects on our families and marine life, then direct your thoughts to the Corps before the November deadline.

Season after season, as hard as you try, you just can’t seem to catch your really big snook, your snook of a lifetime. Yes, you’ve caught some respectable, mid-30-inch fish, but that long-as-your-leg monster always eludes you.

You’ve got to up your game to get in the over 40-inch club. Big fish are lazy and would rather take one large prey item then waste time and energy chasing minnows.

It’s time to break out the big rods, heavy line and your cast net. Cast net a livewell full of large mullet in the 12 to 15-inch range. Tackle up to a rod that can handle casting or lobbing a one-pound baitfish and have 80-pound test braid on the reel along with an 80 to 100-pound fluorocarbon leader.

When fishing a 12-inch mullet, I’ll use a 7/0 to 9/0 hook through the lips or better, bridled with the hook fully exposed.

As the snook make their way back upriver this fall, intercept them along the way by fishing docks and seawalls with good current flow.

Tighten down your drag then lob cast your free-lined mullet under these docks and hang on, if you can!

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. You can contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com.

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