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Blue Heron Bridge Trolls

Discussion in 'Florida' started by BHB ScubaTroll, Jun 20, 2011.

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  1. Biminitwist

    Biminitwist Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Cooper City
    783
    1,179
    Thanks for the ID Deb, that was our first striated frogfish at the bridge.
    Bizzarely there was no one around to show it to so I was just hanging out videoing (hoping to catch it eating something) when I saw Mena settting up her slate. I showed her my new friend hairy and she was kind enough to point out a "funky shrimp" I thought might be a micro slipper lobster. Would that be Debbies funky shrimp? She has a picture on her blog.
    See you all this weekend hopefully.
    John
     
  2. Johnoly

    Johnoly ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location:
    2,612
    2,493
    Blue Heron Bridge's Jupiter Cousin, Cato Bridge in Jupiter

    For about 3 years now I have been hearing stories about how this one Jupiter dive site can really produce some very cool fish pictures as well as an occasional shark. Its called the Cato bridge in Tequesta (Jupiter) Florida.

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    My 1st attempt at Cato was 4 months ago and it kicked my butt. I slipped on a rock, my old wornout camera housing leaked, and I mis-timed up the high tide mark. I'm a dumb, stubborn redneck and I'll get back on the horse if I get kicked off the 1st time.

    This bridge ain't as pretty, polished and refined as it's cousin BHB, starting with one of two entrances if you like the short steep way.

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    There is a lot of similarities in this bridge family. Both BHB and Cato are just about a 1/2 mile from their inlets which provides plenty of clear water at high tide. They both harbor lots of small tropicals, cool stuff and the rocks have many places to hide.

    But Cato is much harder. Since there is no island to protect you from the current, your dive window is shorter at 40 mins. 20 before and 20 after or you're headed for the inlet! Also there no fresh water showers, picnic benches, restrooms and not even a playground with Jungle Jim like BHB! Heck they only cut the grass when it's shoulder high. The charm is that you usually have the whole place to yourself.

    You park your car in the handful of spaces ahead of the bridge tender's car and suit up there. Since its at the bottom of the hill, you cross over the guard rail and walk on the flat grass to the water, its pretty easy. (Both picts)

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    There is either a small beach entry 50ft south of the bridge or you can enter on the smooth concrete under the bridge. Here's a picture of both entrance points

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    Top-down of the smooth concrete entry
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    We got hit with 4-6 foot waves Sunday morning and it dumped a bunch of crud in the water, so I have lots of backscatter in the underwater images.

    I started south of the bridge and let the current nudge me towards the pilings. Also since the prop boats come much closer to the shore, you need a good sense of direction as well as a big redneck dive flag and put a Bud/Nascar/S&W label on the top red part for additional distance respect. South of the bridge is a lot of sand and a few tree branches.

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    Trash is here too, just not as many bottles and stuff.

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    There still are plenty of fish south of the bridge, but they are schools and hang mid column. This fish would lay flat in sand and then would take off like a rocket as soon as my strobe went off. Pretty sure this is the fastest 7 inch long fish I've ever seen underwater.

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    Still some structure but not as much as directly under the bridge.

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    As you work your way north towards the bridge, the boulders increase and so does the size of fish.

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    Don't bite my finger,,,, cause I bite back !!

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    The bridge is a draw bridge and it opens and closes while you are underwater every 30 minutes. Sounds pretty cool too, like a kinda soft whiney sound. The main support bridge looks like a giant concrete block in the above pictures. Go diving under it and it's totally different. Instead its a hollow cave underneath. The cave has 2 big 10ft square openings side by side. As I came up on it to look inside, a small nurse shark that must have been sleeping inside bolted out the other opening. I never had the chance to get my finger on the shutter. I tried to get a good picture of the cave but this is the best I could get showing the corner and the sand slope inside of it.

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    The north side of the bridge has more rocks and small critters hiding in them. Mister hogfish recognized me immediately and tried to flee. I still got shot of him on digital.

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    They say underwater critters have their own built in GPS.
    Too many “Recalculatings” going on in his head and won't stop to ask for directions.

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    There a short boat fender bumper system supported by concrete pilings like BHB. The bigger fish will move with the tide but just like BHB can be found moving around here.

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    Three different types of crabs and they all got pinchers.

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    Tiny fish fighting with a small lobster. The lobster won with a whack of his antenna.

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    Lastly, if you use the guard rain supports, it's actually pretty easy to don and doff your gear, even in the rain.

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    So you are probably asking, should you dive Cato? It's really a different dive site from BHB. Little bit rougher, fish are bigger and it's more challenging photo wise. I'd still rank BHB above Cato. 1st it's a bigger area with 2 huge sides and also the outfront BHB area of shopping carts, mooring balls and double the dive time. Just my 2 cents, but if you don't dive the bridges often then BHB is better. But if you have dove BHB a lot and looking for a new challenge and interesting area, then Cato is a great time to explore something new.

    This Cato dive took place on Sunday June 24th, 2012
     
    idive2, jimw, sportxlh and 8 others like this.
  3. Scuba_Jenny

    Scuba_Jenny dirty-finned dive goddess ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Hollywood, Florida
    29,158
    14,658
    Nice dive report! Thanks!
     
  4. Reck Diver

    Reck Diver Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location:
    542
    172
    Great report on the Cato Bridge. Great place for large snook and other big critters.
     
  5. Splitlip

    Splitlip Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Jupiter
    3,913
    468
    Cato saw lots of action after Hurricane Frances when Phil Foster was down for rehab.
     
  6. Biminitwist

    Biminitwist Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Cooper City
    783
    1,179
    X2, thanks John
     
  7. BLoaf

    BLoaf Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Tampa
    124
    11
    I was looking at tides for BHB on the 3rd of July. Is the optimal dive time 30 mins before and after high tide? In my case 8am to 9am.
     
  8. fisheyeview

    fisheyeview Divemaster

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL (The Diving Capital of the Worl
    3,100
    432
    I usually get in an hour before high tide.
     
    BLoaf likes this.
  9. BLoaf

    BLoaf Contributor

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Tampa
    124
    11
    Thanks. If anyone will be there on the third and wants to meet up let me know. My buddy and I have never been there though.
     
  10. trigfunctions

    trigfunctions Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    974
    38
    I did the June class last weekend. I just wanted to follow up and say that this class was GREAT and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their macro photography. Phil and the rest of the guys at REEF were fantastic. Thanks again for mentioning it.
     
    jimw and fisheyeview like this.
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