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Conservation Captain of the Month; Capt. Richard Black

The Conservation Captain for May 2015 is Florida Keys guide Capt. Richard Black. Capt. Richard has volunteered his time and boat to help with a number of BTT research initiatives. Recently, he has been constantly providing bonefish fin clip samples from the Upper Keys area to be included in our bonefish genetics program.


A great day. Image credit BlackFly Charters.

Click here for more info about Capt. Black

BTT: Where do you guide and how long have you been guiding for?

I fish out of the Lorelei in Islamorada and I guide in the Upper Keys and Everglades National Park. I have been guiding for 7 years.

How did you become a fishing guide?

I grew up fishing the Everglades and Upper Keys. Somewhere along the way, taking friends fishing and watching their enjoyment catching fish became more rewarding than catching the fish myself. Passion turned career when I started guiding while earning an environmental science degree in college.

How many days per year do you guide?

About 300 days a year. Some years a little more, some a little less.

What species do most of your clients want to fish for? Why?

I’m lucky enough to live in Islamorada, really one of the only places in the world where you can target such a wide variety of inshore and offshore species in the same day. I would say the majority of my days spent on the water are targeting snook, reds, and/or bonefish.

Tell us about how your fishery used to be, compared to today.

Our fishery is ever changing. Like most fisheries we cycle; some years are better for one species than another. How it’s changed…I could write pages on this subject. But, in short, it’s changed by more boating pressure, changing climate, and decreased water flow from the everglades.

In your opinion, what is the most important conservation issue facing your fishery right now and what can be done to help fix it?

Freshwater flow. Restore freshwater inflow to appropriate seasonal volumes and timing from the glades.

Despite some of the negative things happening to the fishery, why do you love it so much?

It’s the only place in the world you can super slam (snook, redfish, tarpon, bonefish and permit) and be able to target them in so many different scenarios.

Why do you support Bonefish and Tarpon Trust?

I support BTT because it’s our life support to ensure we have a healthy fishery for years to come.

In your opinion, what is the most important work that BTT does and why?

Continuing science on bonefish, the more we know the better we can protect our fishery.

Why should a fisherman that doesn’t live in Florida or the Caribbean care about BTT?

Any person that is an angler should care about BTT. Anglers of bonefish and tarpon often live hundreds if not thousands of miles from their favorite target species. Anglers can follow BTT’s work to stay updated with the fishery. BTT is more than an organization that works with bonefish, tarpon, and permit. Their breakthrough fisheries science can be adapted and used in many different fisheries.

You have the day off. What species are you going to fish for, where are you going to find them, and what are you going to use to catch them?

Snook, redfish and bonefish. I like to call it the Islamorada slam, my preferred method is spin fishing with buck tail jigs. Ideally, I like to target the three inside the Everglades Park boundaries.

Tell us one of your favorite fishing stories.

Taking a family fishing trip with my wife, Brooke and our 13month old daughter. With a little one walking around the boat spinning the handles on all the reels, umbrella deployed, poling around looking for an afternoon bonefish. We were fortunate enough to catch two bonefish that day and show our little girl a “ish” as she call’s them. I’m very lucky to have such a beautiful family that enjoys the same passions I do.


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