Sein nets hauled in the ponds and creeks, caught fish such as warmouth, sunfish, bluegill, mosquitofish and snook .
Because of sightings last year and nests found around the pond’s edge, the group was disappointed not to find large tilapia. But, they were thrilled to find juvenile tarpon.
“The seining in the lower Lemon Creek lagoon was very exciting since we found a wider variety of estuarine fish than I expected were there,” said Dr. Bill Duson, a biologist and retired Professor Emeritus from Penn State. “The dozen or so juvenile, and some very tiny, snook were amazing! There were also a few very small redfish, and assorted mollies, silver jennies, sailfin mollies and mosquitofish. We did not find the larger tarpon which we assume are there. They are likely hiding in the deeper holes.”
Ten small tarpon were caught. Other species bagged included snook, sleepers, blue tilapia, sailfin molly, mosquitofish and a tiny blue crab.
“We had better success catching the tarpon with a small cast net than with the large seine which gets too clogged with organic debris,” said Duson. “One tarpon was large enough for placement of a marker that will reveal its identity in subsequent years by a simple scanning process. Six of the tarpon had tail fin tissue removed for subsequent DNA analysis. “All in all it was a very successful day and we learned a lot.”
On land-use maps, the 80-acre Wildflower Golf Club in Cape Haze was always called a park. Last September, the Lemon Bay Conservancy was delighted to announce its purchase of the defunct 80-acre Wildflower Golf Course. The Conservancy has set aside $50,000 to build trails, remove exotics, plant native species and pay for other improvements. Groups such as the Audubon Society and the Native Plant Society will lend their expertise to the effort.
The neighbors have said they will help maintain the park and keep an eye on it. Nature has already obscured the former golf course, enabling the park to live up to its name.
Native plant enthusiasts Al Squires and Denny Girard took an inventory of wildflowers in the spring. They came up with five pages of species.
The Lemon Bay Conservancy will host a presentation, "Everything You Wanted to Know About Tarpon, But Were Afraid to Ask," on Monday, Feb. 2, from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium. Dr. Aaron Adams, the manager of the Habitat Ecology Program in the Center for Fisheries Enhancement at Mote Marine Laboratory and the director of operations and research for Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited will be the presenter.
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