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Indian River Dolphins

Bottle Nosed Dolphins or Porpoise in Florida

Thursday June 21, 2018

Little is known about the history prior to early european explorers and settlers on Florida's central east coast on the Indian River Lagoon. The Spanish evidently named the lagoon "Rio de Ais" after the Ais Indians that inhabited the area during their original expoits. Later, settlers would simply modify the Spanish name "River of the Ais" to the Indian River.

Modern day settlers or pioneers would inhabit, change and develop the Indian River over the course of many decades. Inevetabley the Indian River and it's communities would grow in popularity as a warm weather mecca and oppportunity for workers and retirement. Thousands of years of virtually uninhabited or sparsly inhabited coastline would give way to European advancement in less than 100 years.

The Early Years and Ais Indians

Early accounts of Central Florida Coast recorded a very hostile group of Native Americans called the Ais or the Indians of the Coast. The Ais and Timucuan Indians lived adjacent to one another, but the Ais lived roughly from Cape Canaveral and southward to where Ft. Pierce Inlet is today. Very few European settlers successfully had relationships with the Ais and the Spanish were never able to Christianize them. Disease, war among other tribes and with each other evidently had more to do with their demise than conquest from the west. There seems to be more speculation from historians that warring with neighboring tribes and cannabolism may have doomed the Ais. The last recorded sightings of Ais were above where present day Vero Beach near Sebastian in the early 1700's fishing in canoes. Prior to the foraging and hunting Ais Indians, there is little evidence of earlier inhabitants other than a small instance of early inhabitants near Titusville, Florida. It's difficult to determine how early native Americans dwelled along the Indian River Lagoon.

The Ais lived off the land and their primary diet was shellfish, fish and hunting. Large mounds of shells marked many of the camps and villages where the Ais lived. What caused the Ais to be violent and non accepting to outsiders is up for speculation.

After the Ais...

From the early 1700's til the 1800's became a silent period for east Central Florida's Indian River lagoon. With the Ais gone and no other indigeonous people recorded in the area, parts of the Lagoon and particularly the Banana River may not have seen a human for almost 100 years until the first American Pioneers attempted to inhabit the area. There simply was not enough Spanish, French and other Europeans that were interested in the central Florida Coastline during that period. American was still sparsely populated and the trend westward had more appeal to pioneers and settlers alike.

The Louisiana Purchase was the catalist that allowed pioneers to explore, settle, squat and purchase land in Florida after 1803. One of the prominent pioneers and settlers on the Indian River was Capt. Douglas D. Dummitt who would successfully establish citrus groves on north Merritt Island and ship fruit northward on the Indian River. The 1830's would start an agricultural revolution along the banks of the Indian River and central Florida. Indian River Fruit would practically be patented as the world's finest and has maintained that status today.

Small settlements and towns would spring up in Brevard and Indian River County for the next 100 years, but significant growth was slow and tedious. Henry Flagler would build and maintain the Florida East Coast Railway bringing visitors and residents to south Florida's Palm Beach and Miami area. Flagler built several resorts and hotels along the way and established himself as a real estate tycoon of the late 1800's. it seemed as if the Indian River part of Florida would be overlooked again as many travelers simply skipped over this region of Florida for south Florida's bluer waters where Ernest Hemmingway looked further south toward Key West and Cuba in the 1920's and 30's.  But travelers slowly took notice and our sleepy area slowly grew with each successive year as new tides of people slowly ebbed onto the shores of the Indian River Lagoon. New history was covering up old tales of Indians and pioneers only to be replaced by newer generations of Americans seeking opportunity in Florida's sunshine.

The Turning Point on the Indian River Lagoon...

December 7th 1941 will be "a day that will live in infamy" for the Indian River Lagoon and Florida's east coast. With the coming of WWII and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the United States government funded roads, bases and employment on Central Florida's east coast. No longer was Henry Flagler's Florida a resort destination, it was an employment opportunity for new residence. The real estate boom shortly started and the Indian River Lagoon would find itself being crossed by concrete modern bridges and bordered by roads, industry and residents. Brevard County would soon become the Space Coast and the Long Range Missile Test Range would become the Kennedy Space Center and men would be launched to walk on the moon from the shorelines of the once sleepy lagoon where Ais Indians fished and foraged two centuries earlier.

Space... The Final Frontier...

"As a child growing up on the shores of the Indian River Lagoon from the early sixties, I took for granted that it had always been the way it was.  My youthful ignorance has haunted me now as a fishing guide and resident for the last fifty years. Watching the Apollo space craft lift men to the moon and witnessing the first and last of the space shuttle launches, my curiousity about my predicessors on the Indian River Lagoon has changed my outlook about it's past and future..."  explains Captain Richard Bradley.  "The glory days of fishing on the IRL were prior to 1962 when I was born, the roaring 20's and depression years of the 30's and early growth years of the 1940's undoubtably established the Indian River as the "Trout Captial of the World". Commercial interest in the 60's, 70's and 80's devasted the fish population for almost 30 years until the residents of Florida spoke up and changed commercial fishing by establishing a Net Ban preventing intanglement netting within three miles of shore."

"Florida's growth in the last 60 years has outpaced the management of it's resources and it shows in the Indian River Lagoon. I often daydream about what it would have been like to live during the undeveloped hayday on the Indian River Lagoon when sawfish were a common sight and manatees were more prown to southern waters where power plants did not afford them a wintertime hot tub to bask in.  It's difficult for me to accept that many parts of the lagoon have changed so drastically they will NEVER recover from over development, storm water runoff and commercial interest. But I must remain optimistic that mankind endeavor to save their own spaceship earth while their attempting to explore other worlds and beyond..."

Indian River Dolphins or Porpoise

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: November 03 2016 20:28:04.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

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Fishing Reports

It's June of 2018 and I haven't been hitting the Mosquito Lagoon as often while summer becons me toward more temperate waters to fishing off the beaches for Kingfish, cobia, tripletail and snook. When I have been taking anglers up into Mosquito Lagoon we've been showing up on the water well before sunrise and taking advantage of the milder morning temperatures before the summer boat traffic and fishing pressure starts to rise during the later morning and afternoon.

Redfish bite in the Mosquito Lagoon all year long, I've found that the warmest parts of the year can be the most challenging for anglers to get the fish to cooperate unless they are willing to get out before sunrise and be on location as the sun rises. While this is not always the case, it's often the truth and you'll find many anglers pursuing fish in other areas or looking for cooler waters off the beaches of the Canaveral National Seashore, Ponce Inlet or Sebastian Inlet. I recently took an angler into the Mosquito Lagoon and we landed several nice redfish in the slot 18-27 inch range and also a couple that were below the legal slot limit before releasing them to hopefully be caught when the grow up to Mosquito Lagoon's Legendary breeding size over 25 pounds and 40 inches.

June of 2018 looks to be a great month for fishing. If you're looking to go fishing on Mosquito Lagoon, call Captain Gina at (321) 868-4953. She'll tell you what's biting and where and you'll always have fun fishing.

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Inshore and Offshore Charter Fishing near Orlando and Cocoa Beach, Florida. Catch redfish, sea trout, tarpon, snook and many other saltwater gamefish aboard the world famous Lagooner flats fishing boat with renowned Captain Richard Bradley.

BIG fish - Capt. Richard knows how to put you on the fish!! He is a very knowledgeable guide and knows the waters well. We were on big reds and trout within minutes of the leaving the dock and ventured about the lagoon to catch different species. It was fun and exciting. The scenery in the Lagoon is remarkable! Richard’s boat was well...
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