We arrived at the pass right at sunrise after a 10 minute leisurely peddle (well, I used my trolling motor):
I snapped a photo of the last vestige of the "pass" in Rollover Pass, as the water flow has been cut off to a mere trickle:
I sighed, and began to fish. Over the next three hours, I caught 18 keeper specks from 17 to 22 inches and lost another 7 or so at the boat. No flounder or redfish, but the specks were in the mouth of the pass, just waiting on a free meal, but they were on the bottom this time. I caught 1/3 of my fish on different baits all on a ¼ oz bubblegum ball lead head by Four Horseman Tackle – 33% on a Down South Glo 4 inch paddle tail, 33% on a White Lil John and then the rest on a Pink Lil John. I threw a topwater for a little bit, but they were on the bottom and were not coming up to feed.
As a kid, I passed over Rollover Pass all the time on the way to the beach, but never fished it until last week. I now understand the love for Rollover and the anger that welled up in the fishing community when the finally decided to close it. Next week, a worker said the water flow will be shut off for good and then they will fill it in with dirt. Supposedly, following closure a public park and recreational area will be built on the former pass and allegedly, a fishing pier will also be built on the gulf side of the peninsula for fishermen. I have my doubts.
As we drove back over the pass on the way home, I felt a pang of sadness, but I think our trip was a fitting tribute to decades of fishing fun for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of anglers over the years. I am sad to see this resource be sacrificed in the name of "economic progress," but this, too, shall "pass." I'd be willing to bet that they re-open it, or another one, in the next decade once they realize that the "erosion" problem was not fixed by the closing.
Here's a video I found from Shallow Marsh Yaker showing closure beginning that was posted two weeks ago. Let's raise a glass to decades of fun at the Pass as we take a long last look, before we say goodbye!