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Snorkeling & Collecting Discussion Group

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Ron Reefman

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Thanks Ron!
I had a blast out there and am so happy with my catch.

I did a kinda fun thing to attract fish. I picked up a couple clam shells and started clicking them together. It attracted some small grunts and larger snappers. They were just watching so intently and checking out what the sound was. Also following me to see what I stirred up in the grass bed.

I think next time I'm gonna wear gloves though. I was afraid every time I sunk my fingers into the sand to get one off the macroalgae that I was gonna get stung by a bristle worm or something.:oops:

My goal is to catch a mini seahorse or two. Where do they usually hang out?
For collecting in the estuary sea grasses where it's really shallow, I use a 2' wide but 6" narrow pool cleaning net. It also has a plastic edge that sticks out like a 'scrapper' and protects the net at the front edge.

When we go snorkeling and I collect, I always wear gloves. But not so concerned about fire worms in the grasses, but when I pick up rocks, bigger chunks of dead coral or especially dead queen conch shells, I find my share of big fire worms. I wonder if anybody would keep one of them? Maybe in a refugium? Or a predator tank? They are cool looking, just like prickly pear cactus plants!

We've found almost all of the dwarf sea horses in waist deep to chest deep water by dragging the net through grass beds. Usually in somewhat more protected areas like small bays. And always near (within a half mile) of an estuary.

I'd love to see on a google earth map, were you were. And if you ever want to drive over to this side of the state and work Bunche Beach, I'd be happy to meat up with you and show you where we play.

I've started using a casting net to catch small bait fish I can chop up and feed to my RFAs. There is a spot at Bunch Beach that always has lots and lots of bait fish... as long as it's not a super low tide. In that case there is VERY shallow water in front of the mangroves and less small fish. I think they move back into the mangrove estuary.
 
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SMSREEF

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For collecting in the estuary sea grasses where it's really shallow, I use a 2' wide but 6" narrow pool cleaning net. It also has a plastic edge that sticks out like a 'scrapper' and protects the net at the front edge.

When we go snorkeling and I collect, I always wear gloves. But not so concerned about fire worms in the grasses, but when I pick up rocks, bigger chunks of dead coral or especially dead queen conch shells, I find my share of big fire worms. I wonder if anybody would keep one of them? Maybe in a refugium? Or a predator tank? They are cool looking, just like prickly pear cactus plants!

We've found almost all of the dwarf sea horses in waist deep to chest deep water by dragging the net through grass beds. Usually in somewhat more protected areas like small bays. And always near (within a half mile) of an estuary.

I'd love to see on a google earth map, were you were. And if you ever want to drive over to this side of the state and work Bunche Beach, I'd be happy to meat up with you and show you where we play.

I've started using a casting net to catch small bait fish I can chop up and feed to my RFAs. There is a spot at Bunch Beach that always has lots and lots of bait fish... as long as it's not a super low tide. In that case there is VERY shallow water in front of the mangroves and less small fish. I think they move back into the mangrove estuary.
That’s a good point about protected bay. The one time I saw one, it was in the bay, not ocean side. But that was before I was collecting anything.
It would definitely be cool to meet up sometime on your side of the state. I’m not doing any traveling till this covid thing blows over though. I work in a hospital so I’m as nervous about giving it to others as I am of getting it myself. Hopefully we have a good vaccine soon.
This is where I went. It was really nice. I may collect on the other side (in the bay) but the Miami Seaquarium on that side makes me a little nervous. Not sure what would be in the water they return to the bay.
ABDB2DC0-E770-4FF4-B3D2-C85E34776C17.jpeg 80118398-AB50-46A8-8506-6FF03C8394BB.jpeg
 

Paul B

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I think this was Key Largo



I don't normally snorkel as I am a Diver but this is a coral tree in Mustique "planted" by the Coral Restoration organization in the Keys.
Looks to have a hair algae problem.



I don't remember where this is.




These are Bora Bora in Tahiti, but of course these were with SCUBA


And I didn't collect these because they are not reef safe. But there were hundreds of them and you can pet them. Kind of.

 
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Ron Reefman

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@SMSREEF, Thanks for the map. Do you ever snorkel in that area?

I completely understand about the COVID concerns. I'm 71 and it's at the top of my 'be careful about' list. We just started doing some serious traveling the last couple of years before now, and this has put a major crimp in our plans! We can't wait till a safe vaccine is available!

And when that happens, I'd be happy to meet up with you. Over here, over there or on a short vacation in the Keys!

@Paul B , your last photo; are you sure those aren't reef safe? ;Hilarious;Hilarious

A reefer I know down here found what we call a mermaids purse on the beach. It the egg case of a skate. He could see there was a yoke inside because they are kind of translucent when held up to the sun. He took it home and put it in his tank. Surprise, surprise, it actually hatched. He kept it for a couple of weeks and then sold it to an LFS.
 

SMSREEF

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Do you ever snorkel in that area?
I was snorkeling while I collected. I just swam along the grasses and made multiple trips back to shore with my catch.


I don't remember where this is.
That’s gorgeous. I don’t see the elkhorn corals when I dive anymore. I did in the 80’s though. I wish you remembered because I would love to dive among them again. They are one of my favorite corals.
 

Paul B

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Actually I think that was St Lucia. They had one there almost as big as my house.

Ron those sharks may be reef safe but they are about 8' long and my tank is 6' long and I am not sure I could fold them in there. :rolleyes:

Those Mermaids purses are very common here in NY as sharks and rays are real common. :cool:
 

mikee002

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I had considered doing this, but I hear FWC is very strict and if you collect something that you’re not allowed it can be a big deal, and the rules seem very specific as to what you can take. I’d hate to be wrong and get in hot water. On a side note I had dreams about collecting red leg hermits last night... odd
 

ReefGrammie

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That’s a good point about protected bay. The one time I saw one, it was in the bay, not ocean side. But that was before I was collecting anything.
It would definitely be cool to meet up sometime on your side of the state. I’m not doing any traveling till this covid thing blows over though. I work in a hospital so I’m as nervous about giving it to others as I am of getting it myself. Hopefully we have a good vaccine soon.
This is where I went. It was really nice. I may collect on the other side (in the bay) but the Miami Seaquarium on that side makes me a little nervous. Not sure what would be in the water they return to the bay.
ABDB2DC0-E770-4FF4-B3D2-C85E34776C17.jpeg 80118398-AB50-46A8-8506-6FF03C8394BB.jpeg
I loved seeing this!! I grew up in Coral Gables, within a bike ride distance to Univ of Miami and Matheson Hammock. I remember when Crandon Park was a zoo!!
 

SMSREEF

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I had considered doing this, but I hear FWC is very strict and if you collect something that you’re not allowed it can be a big deal, and the rules seem very specific as to what you can take. I’d hate to be wrong and get in hot water. On a side note I had dreams about collecting red leg hermits last night... odd
Just make sure you have a saltwater fishing license and read through this list.
For the most part, I think the ones that are protected, you will know to stay away from.
 

SMSREEF

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I loved seeing this!! I grew up in Coral Gables, within a bike ride distance to Univ of Miami and Matheson Hammock. I remember when Crandon Park was a zoo!!
Crandon Park is a beautiful beach. I love that all the kite surfers are out there. It's a lot of fun to watch. I haven't been down to Matheson Hammock for over 20 years. I bet there are some good spots down there too. Maybe I'll even find my sea horse I'm looking for.
 

ReefGrammie

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Crandon Park is a beautiful beach. I love that all the kite surfers are out there. It's a lot of fun to watch. I haven't been down to Matheson Hammock for over 20 years. I bet there are some good spots down there too. Maybe I'll even find my sea horse I'm looking for.
I hope you find your sea horse! We haven't been past Fort Lauderdale in recent years (cruised out of there several times). I need to go a little further south and visit the old stomping grounds. I loved the Sequarium as a kid. My dad and I used to fish off the catwalk on the old Rickenbacker Causeway way back in the day. I caught a seagull there (which completely freaked me out). Great memories. ;Joyful
 

SMSREEF

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I hope you find your sea horse! We haven't been past Fort Lauderdale in recent years (cruised out of there several times). I need to go a little further south and visit the old stomping grounds. I loved the Sequarium as a kid. My dad and I used to fish off the catwalk on the old Rickenbacker Causeway way back in the day. I caught a seagull there (which completely freaked me out). Great memories. ;Joyful
All I have caught are some awesome tasting sea trout while kayak fishing. Thank goodness because hooking a seagul would freak me out too.
 

SMSREEF

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Any recommendations for palm beach county spots?
I wish had some experience with Palm Beach but haven’t been up there.
You may check out this place, I would snorkel here if I lived up there.

Coral Cove Park looks like you can fish and maybe collect. Call first though because I have no first hand experience.

maybe others have some good places for you in palm beach
 
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Ron Reefman

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I had considered doing this, but I hear FWC is very strict and if you collect something that you’re not allowed it can be a big deal, and the rules seem very specific as to what you can take. I’d hate to be wrong and get in hot water. On a side note I had dreams about collecting red leg hermits last night... odd
As SMSREEF said, saltwater fishing license and look over the regulations. The only really big reg for you maybe the total number of some species and total over all collection of 20 animals per day per person.

Any recommendations for palm beach county spots?
I wish had some experience with Palm Beach but haven’t been up there.
You may check out this place, I would snorkel here if I lived up there.

Coral Cove Park looks like you can fish and maybe collect. Call first though because I have no first hand experience.

maybe others have some good places for you in palm beach
I'm with SMSREEF here as well. I've never tried the area. But since I have already driven several hours to get from my house (Cape Coral) to the east side of the state, I might as well drive a couple more hours to great snorkeling in the Keys. But if you find a spot, please, please, please let us know so we can advise others. Good luck.
 
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Ron Reefman

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A final note to my beach/estuary visit. After I pulled out all the critters I wanted, I had a 5 gallon tank full of VERY small, live 'stuff'. So I looked at them with a magnifying glass and 90% of them were tiny ceriths. So I pulled them out too.

These little guys stick like glue to almost anything, sea grasses, the glass in my tank and even my hand when I worked at moving them!

20200907_144307.jpg

20200907_144322.jpg
 
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