We’ve noticed a disturbing trend the last several years and it seems to have gotten worse. I’ve fished since a kid and for most of my life had never hooked a porpoise. This past year, anglers on my boat have tugged on a hundred of them. Fortunately they don’t always actually get hooked. They possess the uncanny ability to steal a shad off a tarpon hook or a ladyfish off a stinger rig. They’ll often pull drag but somehow spit your hook back at you. I don’t mind sharing, in fact we encourage it, but lately it’s gotten one sided in some locations. On a trip last week along the edge of the Ships Channel a couple miles inside the Skyway, several over aggressive porpoise helped themselves to 95% of the grouper, snapper and grunts we hooked. Though we got some of our rigs back, many inhaled hook, line and sinker. Seabirds too have seemingly become more aggressive. On a recent trip thirteen miles offshore we had gulls dive bombing on our baits we were letting straight down right beside the boat. Others would stand on the T-top and attempt to ambush our fish as we lifted them over the side. It’s not clear whether the loss of marine life due to the Red Tide outbreak has contributed to this aggression (less food for them to gather on their own). I do know that although well intended, all those years of feeding the birds and tossing unwanted fish to the porpoise may have done more harm than good. It seems they now feel entitled. Unless in captivity – wild life shouldn’t be domesticated. They can fend for themselves. Wish I’d learned that sooner.
Captain Jay Mastry