The red tide has decimated the commercial fishing industry off the coast in southern Florida, bringing it to a halt for those who fish the surf.
Rich Vidulich’s sanctuary has turned into a toxic, deserted wasteland, choking out life as he knows it.
“It’s 100% deterrent. You don’t catch pompano in this,” he said. It’s a depressant. It really is. It famishes you mentally.”
Catching pompano is his identity.
He teaches it. He sells the bait for it. He even wrote an article in Florida Sport Fishing magazine in 2014.
The fish known as the silver nugget is his golden ticket.
“Making people happy is the number one thing that makes me happy and it makes me love what I do,” he said.
It’s best done from the beach, where the water is shallower.
“Everyday is a holiday that I go to the beach,” he said.
The coughing and sore throat are enough to keep him away. The red tide has choked out his livelihood.
“I’ve been here 62 years. I’ve experienced the best. I don’t want to say the words that it’s the worst that it’s been, but it probably is at an all-time low,” he said.
He’s 71 now, in a wiseman’s game. This old man will have to wait the red sea out.