I've Seen the Future and It Scares Me about the Indian River Lagoon Algae Bloom

Captain Richard Time Travels Five Decades
Lifelong Resident and Fishing Guide, Captain Richard Bradley gives his Perspective to the Impact We’ve Made on Florida’s Majestic Mosquito Lagoon
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Mosquito Lagoon Cucumber Island 2010

Biolab Boat Ramp 2010

Much Healthier Grass Beds

Mosquito Lagoon Cucumber Island 2017

Biolab Boat Ramp 2017

Less Than 5% Sea Grass Left

I’ve Seen the Future and It’s Not Good

“If I only had a time machine,” I ask myself often. Each season, my mind wanders to what it must have been like before the hordes of Westerners descended on Florida. Was sawfish abundant enough to see them lazily swimming the shallow water grass flats? How far did manatee migrate up the coastal waterways without the warming protection of power plants? Did mastodons and mammoths share the saltmarshes with humanity?

This kind of thought process reveals much about my childlike imagination and mentality as an adult. I have to admit; it’s a mental exercise I do when I’m alone lying in my hammock. My mind meanders to what it was like before me or pre-Richard.

Mosquito Lagoon Biolab to Cucumber Island

Biolab Boat Ramp (left) to Cucumber Island 2010

An Overall View of the Small Portion of the Mosquito Lagoon and Where it’s Gone in the last Decade.  To give you perspective, this is probably a three-mile-wide by one-mile image (roughly).  Study the images of the Biolab and Cucumber Island on the top and bottom of this article.


Each one of us has a time machine, mine roughly started in 1962 when Marilyn Monroe stopped her time journey, and the Cuban Missile Crisis gripped the country. Naturally, I don’t recollect my time travels until somewhere around 1967, when my father started taking me fishing.

Considering what I do now, it’s ironic that my earliest memories are with dad, watching salamanders while he fished from the Jon boat he’d built from the plans in a Popular Mechanics magazine. Dad’s time machine started in the 1930’s, mine 30 years later in the 1960’s. We both have vivid memories of our journey and where it’s taken us.

Every one of us lives in our time machine. From the moment we can recollect our earliest memories and experiences to the day we die, we enter our paradigm of when and where the world begins and ends. Our experiences define who we are and what we become. It’s our time, and nothing matters beyond that.

I know, you’re thinking to yourself, “why is Richard writing about time? It’s because my mind no longer takes me backward in time on the Indian River Lagoon. As I’ve grown older, my mind races to the future. My time journey took me from five million Floridians to roughly 25 million and my time travels are not complete. When I think back to dad’s 1.5 million population, I panic at the thoughts of a Florida with 50 million before my journey ends.

For the last century, we are so busy erasing our past we are cementing our futures to a world without the outdoors. I’ve posted a few aerial photos of the Mosquito Lagoon. One set is near a boat ramp we regularly use to launch from, the next is two miles east on what was once a fertile grass bed and productive flat named Cucumber Island.

If I was a newcomer starting my journey on Mosquito Lagoon fishing, one might think to themselves, “man, this is a beautiful place, I wonder what it was like decades ago?” From my perspective, the lagoons are no longer beautiful, and my time machine has taken me from crystal clear waters and vast grass beds to murky brown waters with smells of algae. Not too long ago, hordes of redfish filled each grass flat and sandbar, sea trout were abundant, and I dreamed about what it was like before my journey began.


Mosquito Lagoon Biolab Boat Ramp 2010

Cucumber Island Grass Flat 2010

Roughly One Square Mile of Healthy Grass Bed on the Mosquito Lagoon

Mosquito Lagoon Biolab Boat Ramp 2017

Cucumber Island Grass Flat 2017

Red Algae (tumbleweed) Cover what’s remaining of the seagrass on the best parts of the lagoon.

Captain Richard Bradley

Captain Richard Bradley

Charter Fishing Captain/Guide

Being a husband and father to three incredible women my life overflows with joy. As a lifelong resident and third generation Floridian, my passion is not only my family but the outdoors.  It has been a great pleasure to take my family, friends, and customers on fishing excursions on Florida's east coast where I grew up for over five decades.

I love sharing my experiences and writing about my knowledge of where I live and often mix in my opinions and journeys.  Please feel free to comment on my writings and express your views and experiences as well. [Captain Richard]

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