The Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) has become the International Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF), and our own Ron Winn was in charge of selecting an updated logo. He helped select a design that is recognizable to the old guard yet has a modern and enticing look for new members:

BFFA is an active Member Club
of the
International Federation of Fly Fishers

Become a Member of the IFFF

Only $35.00 Membership fees 1 year
senior (65+) - US - $25.00

Join the International Federation of Fly Fishers


Each year between September and December the BFFA collects dues from its members. These dues help us maintain the function of our club by having funds to pay for such things as speakers, postage, PO box rent, awards, tide charts, etc.

During the 25 years we have been in existence we have not raised our dues and they will remain $20 for an individual, $30 for a family,and $10 for a student. If you have joined from May on in 2015 you do not have to renew for this coming year, but if you joined before May in 2015 we ask that you do renew.

Please bring a check to the next meeting, or mail it to:
BFFA of Brevard

PO Box 524, Melbourne, FL 32902
Please include: your snail mail address, email addresses and phone number(s)

casting for recovery

BFFA is a proud supporter
Casting for Recovery is a national 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization, supports breast cancer survivors
through a program that combines fly-fishing, counseling,
and medical information to build a focus on wellness instead of illness.
Please help support this program.

(*mark your check for Florida Chapter)

                                Marlin off the menu

Take action today to make sure that no billfish will end up on grocery store shelves or on restaurant menus again.
Click here:
Do your part to Take Marlin off the Menu!

Limit your kill, don’t kill your limit !
Please practice Catch and Release

Dominic Agostini is....
"How about some good news about the lagoon!?."


View our list of 2016 new members

Member Information:
club history

We have been operating as a club for 27 years.
One of our founding fathers Ron, Winn wrote the history of the club on our About Us
next outing
We would like to make club outings a social and
educational opportunity. Plan on attending the next
outing with someone you don’t normally fish with,
perhaps a new member. Also, share your boat with a
non-boating member. Just inform any Board member
(see the list in BackCast) if you have a boat to share,
or if you are currently boatless, and any suggestions
you have for a local destination.
We are planning an outing for the next couple of
months, so let us know your ideas.

Go the the Outings
page for details

* view PHOTOS and reports on our Gallery page

come fly tying
In May, Jeff Ward will be tying a Classic High Tie Baitfish

Click here for fly tying tips

Monthly Dinner Meeting:

Thursday, May 5th 6:30 PM
6:30 PM, Memaw's Bar B-Q, Eau Gallie Blvd.
Indian Harbour Beach

Eric Davis

Our program for May will be presented by Eric Davis of Vero Beach. He has fished the east coast of Florida for over 30 years. For many years, Eric operated a fly shop and fishing store in Vero, called the Backcountry. He now guidesin the Vero Beach and Fort Pierce areas.

He will discuss fly tactics for fishing the Indian River. He will speak on changing river conditions and how he has adapted to these changes over the years.

He urges you to bring your maps to mark up with his secret places. He will be happy to answer any questions you have about fishing the Vero Beach and Fort Pierce areas.

Eric had fished a wide variety of locations around the world, including the Amazon, the Bahamas, Christmas Island, Costa Rica, Cocos Island, Hawaii, and the Florida Keys."

The recent fish kills in the IRL have spurred a pulse of interest in fixing the problems of the Lagoon. This is a good reaction, but must be tempered with practicality and logic. It is important that we not abandon our past successful, if gradual, efforts in favor of grandiose but impractical new ideas. Non-productive emphasis on approaches not supported by past research can quickly dampen the necessary enthusiasms.Increased funding is necessary and helpful, but only i
f spent on the best approaches.

We are fortunate to have a member, Marty Smith-son, with great knowledge and experience concerning the IRL, its characteristics, problems and needs. Marty’s discussion of the situation occupies most of the newsletter this month. In it he points out that algal blooms and fish kills have occurred in the IRL for over 100 years and efforts to alleviate them have had successes, such as peaks in seagrass coverage within the past decade. Stresses on the Lagoon, in terms of increased population and development, have increased greatly, but much has been accomplished to control these stresses. Improved regulations and better enforcement of existing regulations, coupled with acceleration of programs such as muck removal can go far in restoring the lagoon.
...Frank Perkins

Editor’s Note:
Marty Smithson was Brevard County’s first Stormwater Utility Director, former Director of the IRL National Estuary Program, six years in private consulting and currently the Director of the Sebastian Inlet District. He has worked on Indian River Lagoon issues for 30 years

Disclaimer: Frank Perkins asked me to discuss the current Indian River Lagoon situation. He said to spill it all. No limits on article length. To my close friendswho have heard recent rants, I apologize.

I like to put things in perspective, when addressing the Indian River Lagoon crisis. But not necessarily when describing the fish I have caught. Lately there have been a few suggestions on how to clean up the Indian River. Someone suggested that we filter the lagoon with pump stations to get rid of the brown tide and green algae bloom. Sounds good, but is it feasible? Using a small segment of the Lagoon for example, we can assume at any given moment, there is approximately 7 billion gallons of water between the Eau Gallie and Melbourne bridges. The Melbourne water Treatment plant which serves customers within a 100 square mile area, filters approximately 6 million gallons per day. That’s a big operation. If a similar treatment plant was constructed for the lagoon itwould take over 3 years to filter the 7 billion gallons between the bridges. That’s not a real feasible or cost effective operation. If we could establish a million clams, mussels and/or oysters in this same area of th elagoon each filtering 25 to 50 gallons per day, the area’s volume could be filtered in 4 to 9 months. Now we’re talking! At least for this small segment of the estuary.

We keep hearing, “we need more inlets.” My fear is one day we may get them. Then we will be worrying about something other than lagoon quality. Regardless, let’s put manmade inlets in perspective.Sebastian Inlet, a relatively small inlet, has a tidal prism of 4 billion gallons exchanged between mean high tide and mean low. The area influenced by this flushing is limited to about 2 miles north and 2 miles south of the inlet. Sounds like just the solution between the bridges. Well, maybe. Currently State law prohibits the construction of new inlets, with the exception of deep water ports. We may be able to get a local legislator to try and change that law. Until they discover that Sebastian Inlet took 60 years to reach equilibrium, caused severe erosion of the coastline before reaching equilibrium, was embroiled in 10 years of litigation and cost several million dollars eachyear to manage. We would need a new inlet this size every 10 miles to effectively flush the lagoon. Sebastian Inlet is a tremendous asset. Biological diversity is higher around the inlet, it provides a $200 million annual economic stimulus and pulses salt water north past the Melbourne area maintaining the salinity regime that makes the lagoon an estuary. But the inlet however is poor at flushing the lagoon. Building more inlets would come with extreme consequences and a very tall price.

What about pipes, culverts and pump stations? There is a large pump station on Destin Harbor that has improved its water quality. A pipe running out into the ocean feeds a pump moving 50,000 gallon sper minute. The pump is maintained to run eight thours a day. Destin Harbor is 1.3 miles long by 1,000feet wide. This large pump station has helped this relatively small isolated pocket of water near Destin. By comparison, our stretch of lagoon between the two bridges, previously discussed, is 3.7 miles long by 1.8 miles wide. Using the Destin harbor pump station scenario, we are talking 10 months to turn over the volume between the bridges. Maybe this would help, in concert with established living reefs of oysters and mussels. A cost-benefit analysis would have to be thoroughly evaluated.

There may be some merit in targeting small segments of the lagoon for restoration. Especially the urban segments that are ecologically dead and seem to struggle. Like taking one bite of the elephant at a time. But, I’m not hearing many people wanting to take bites right now. They want to eat it all and get the big fix. There have been many bites or steps taken over the last 25 years that have helped the lagoon. Stormwater regulations for every residential and commercial development have generated countless ponds, basins, swales,etc. Just look around. Drive the stretch of Babcock Street through Melbourne and Palm Bay and look at all the commercial properties that have modifiedt heir sites to capture or slow down stormwater. Imagine what the Indian River would look like if none of these modifications were required over the past 25 years. It would be much, much worse than it is now. Creeks have been dredged and more is needed. Many retrofit projects have been implemented by cities and counties. But, not enough.Much more work is needed.

Have all the efforts over the past 3 decades benefited the lagoon? I believe they have. Consider this, in 2007, 2008 and 2009, the Indian River Lagoon had 15 percent more seagrass than in 1943. The1943 seagrass distribution, digitized from a beautiful set of aerial photographs, was adopted as the restoration target in the 1980’s. We said, if we could achieve that level of seagrass distribution,we would claim victory. All this wonderful sea-grass was flourishing in 2009, in spite of septic tanks, manatees, rampant lawn fertilizing, nuclear fall out, you name it. However, just as some were beginning to cheer, we had 15 days below freezing with a low of 25 degrees. Water temperature in Haulover Canal dipped below the recommended serving temp for Michelob. A huge biomass of tropical and semi-tropical animals died releasing their stored nutrients. Even the drift algae disappeared which we now believe was the buffer controlling nutrients in the water.

A result of this extreme meteorological eventset off cascading responses leading to significantl osses of seagrass acreage and marine life. In 2010 the disaster began with a superbloom of several green algae species and a brown tide organism. The epicenter of this bloom was in the southern Mosquito Lagoon and northern Banana River. This devastating bloom started in an area with no residential lawns, no septic tanks, no urban development. But it started. And its pread to the vulnerable urban areas where you would expect a eutrophic response. That’s when all thefinger pointing started, pointing to all the ills of urban development.

By 2012 we lost 100 acres of seagrass on the Sebastian Inlet flood shoal. That was a shock to us considering the daily flushing that occurs so close to the inlet. There may have been a toxic effect from the residual algae bloom, versus simple light attenuation that caused such a sudden loss of seagrass. We are not certain, but, by last summer, in 2015 we gained 80acres of seagrass back. So, we have a level of confidence that the system can recover. Stressed areas of the lagoon, the urban areas, will need help and resiliency needs to be bolstered. The lagoon will never be like it was 50 years ago. Not with its artificially expanded watershed and a million people living next to it. But, it can easily return to the conditions in 2009. And hopefully be able to more easily sustain its health.

Making the necessary improvements in the lagoon will require a unified approach. The new IRL Council under the National Estuary Program is determined to do that. The existing management plan for the lagoon needs to be updated and reprioritized. Muck dredging is a priority. Identifying and removing illogically situated or failing septic systems is a priority. Upgrading our aging wastewater treatment plants from providing only secondary treatment to advanced tertiary treatment should be a priority. Continued stormwater retrofit projects and significant reductions of residential fertilizer is a priority. Aggressive actions to restore and reestablish ecological habitats using living reefs and transplants should target prioritized segments of the lagoon. Over the coming months the IRLCouncil should be able to work with its unified members of counties, cities and agencies to develop a revised plan with firm cost estimates. Once that occurs, meaningful funding requests can be made. Blank check requests in advance of a plan with a realistic price tag only fuels distrust and frustration.

We are going to have some nasty events, like the recent fish kill, as the residual algae species cycle through and dissipate. It may take a few years to see a more normal nutrient balance. I can see some positives from the last few years of Indian River woes.There has been a new wave of public awareness with renewed calls to action. The overall management program for the lagoon has been restructured and new funding commitments have been made. This should put IRL restoration and protection on a firmer track.I hope we will see a fresh wave of young students and professionals wanting to address the Indian River’s problems. We need new blood and passion to build upon the experience of those of us trained in the1970’s.

I would like to end on one last point to put things in perspective and offer a little more confidence tha tthis estuary can recover and rebound. My good friend,Jim Culberson, former Sebastian Inlet District Commissioner and Inlet historian, sent out an email referencing two newspaper articles from 1896 and 1902.He has allowed me to pass it along. Enjoy and ponder. (REFERENCE ARTICLES in the column to the left)

“If there is a bright side to this mess, it is self-correcting. It may take years, but the Lagoon will come back. Events like this have been happening aslong as there's been a Lagoon System.”


Here are articles from more than 100 years ago detailing problems in the Lagoon.

The August 21, 1896 issue of the Advocate described the mess with the following brief story; "Sebastian: If there is not some change in the weather soon the fishing industry will have a hard set back. The fish are dying by thousands on account of the gas which is rising from the mud in the bottom of the river, the water being low and of a red muddy color. All the jelly fish are dead."

The following story appeared in the October 3,1902 edition of the Advocate; "Micco: The river is above its average level now, and at this point the water is in a peculiar and very rare condition. For three or four weeks past it has been muddy,perfectly green for a time, now brown or reddish.The shore at places has been lined with dead fish,and the general condition does not seem to beunderstood by the citizens here."


Download a previous issue of our Newsletter: "The Backcast" in PDF format

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Although you can receive a hard copy of the newsletter by postal mail, we encourage you to sign up for email delivery. This not only saves the club postage, but reduces the workload on our hard-working secretary/treasurer who donates the printing and mailing every month. Furthermore, you will view a color version, rather than black and white. To switch to email distribution, just contact Frank Perkins or Ron Winn.

Some email programs attempt to automatically filter messages they view as spam. This can result in messages from a suspect address being diverted to your spam orjunk folders, rather than your in-basket. If you fail to receive your newsletter in a timely manner (we aim for delivery a week before the meeting), check your spam and/or junk folders and inform your email program that they are not junk.

Once an address has been associated with spam, it can only be declared acceptable by you, the addressee. If our listing of your email address is obsolete or contains an error, the delivery may go astray in a non-obvious manner. If you suspect this has occurred, send a message to from the correct address and we will check our records. Note also that you can view BackCast content, including program information, on our web site, as soon as it is published.

We strive to make the content of BackCast varied and interesting. If you have comments or suggestions a message to the editor is welcomeIf you still receive your BackCast by postal mail and would like to get it by email, please contact Ron Winn or Frank Perkins
to get on our mailing list

Thanks to those of you who have signed up for email distribution of the BackCast. As a result we have significantly reduced our postal expenses. Other who would like to receive a full color electronic distribution, just call or email Frank Perkins or Ron Winn.

If you experience problems in receiving the electronic edition, contact either of us and we will correct the problem.If you have requested email distribution in the past and haven’t received it, please resubmit.


We encourage any member to attend a board meeting. They are informal and more social than business. Come and enjoy the latest news and jokes, and contribute your ideas for improving the club. During tax season, the Board of Directors meets at Squid Lips on Pineapple Ave on the river in Eau Gallie. The meeting is on the normal day are at 6:30 PM. Some members arrive earlier for dinner, at 5:00 PM.

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