Monday, July 11, 2011

Mangroves + Snapper = Mangrove Snapper

Black mangroves (foreground bushes with flowers) on the Gulf side of Snake Key, Florida.

The photo above shows the Gulf side shoreline a Snake Key. The tide is up and the plants are sharing information about the topographic slope in this area.
  • The grasses at the seaward edge are Spartina and they love to have their feet and whole body wet at high tide.
  • The black mangroves love wet feet, but are not in to deep wading the way the grasses are.
  • The sabal palm forest that begins behind the mangrove mangel tells us the island slopes up enough to prevent constant salt water baths at that point. Sabals handle a wide variety of habitats from dry sand dune to freshwater swamps here in Florida, and they are very tolerant of salt spray. 

Lutjanus griseus
The mangrove snapper above is one of the finest fruits of the mangrove tree. They are extremely wary of the hook and can drive you mad if you ever encounter a school of them, in clear water, stacked like cordwood, and  ... ignoring every delicious bait you might cast at them.

When I was the resident Ranger at Fort Matanzas National Monument, they did just that every night under the NPS boat dock.
Crazy fish!

I do not carry a grudge though, and when this one fell for my bait a few weeks ago, I took a quick shot and released him.

Isn't he beautiful? That is one filled out, healthy fish.

May he continue to fill out and then, perhaps on another day, honor me one more time.

No telling how that story might end ... but it might involve cornmeal ...

... and datil pepper relish.

4 comments:

Dani said...

He is beautiful!

Floridacracker said...

Dani,
Isn't he? Just beautiful.

Thunder Dave said...

Ha, I knew it! You can't play catch and release forever! ;-)

I brought back some fish from my 4th of July Missouri visit, courtesy of our avid fisherman/woman. Good missouri catfish and crappie!

Anonymous said...

I would have released it into some hot grease.