In general I’m a very laissez faire kind of person; do your thing as long as it’s not illegal and it doesn’t bother other people. When it breaks those two qualifiers, I tend to get grouchy. Like now.
I travel the JFK/79 St Causeway between Miami Beach, North Bay Village and Miami daily, both on car and on bike. On every bridge along this route there is a sign that clearly, in plain English, states NO FISHING FROM BRIDGE. There is no way to misunderstand that message. And yet, daily, at all hours of the day, there are people on each of the bridges, with rods or lines or nets, that apparently have a card that grants them an exception from this mandate.
I honestly don’t care that they fish (I personally would think twice before eating anything that came out of the waters around these islands, considering the amount of pollution clearly visible in the water, but hey, knock yourself out), but come on, it’s clearly stated on the sign that you can’t do it from here! Plain and simple, you and all your equipment are in the way of pedestrian/stroller/bicycle/skateboard/rollerskate/etc traffic. It’s just the same as if you were doing it from one of the lanes on the road. Of course, there’s also the issue of fishing lines and flying nets squarely in the waterways, and while most of these bridges have clearly marked channels for boats to go through, there are tons of idiots that have an exception card for that as well and cross under the bridges wherever they choose to.
What bothers me is that I have never, in 7 years of living in this area, have seen any cop do anything about it. I mean, there’s a bridge right across from the North Bay Village Police Station and people fish right in front of them with impunity. Nothing. I don’t know that this is a ticketable offense, but at least get them moving from there.
I’ll lay a bit of blame on the cities as well; find these guys a place with public access to the water so they can go and fish there. We live near the water, fishing is just a reality of our way of life, so just embrace it and make it safer for all. Miami Beach just recently opened a small park in Normandy Isle, at the south end of Trouville Esplanade, with access to the bay for the walking public, a fantastic move on their part. Why not do something similar for fishing? The City of Miami should rehabilitate the wooden pier at the south end of Pelican Harbor Park which was partially destroyed during a recent hurricane. North Bay Village should also find a couple of spots to grant public access to the water (how about one of the two empty lots next to the Western Inn?), both for fishing and for the general public.
I’d love to say that I expect some improvement here, but I tend to take the cynical route and not expect anything. Still, I’d love to see the cops enforce the No Fishing From Bridge rule and for the cities to find ways to channel this activity to proper areas.