The fishermen from Cuba and other Spanish colonial settlements who had first sailed their smacks into the waters of Charlotte Harbor and Tampa Bay recognized that the bays, inlets, and rivers of the area abounded in edible fish and green turtle ready to be taken with minimal risk and perhaps even with substantial profit. The organic content of these waters provided ideal feeding haunts for many species for which there would be convenient markets. It may be reasonably assumed that commercial fishing, at least on a small scale, was carried on there in the latter part of the seventeenth and the early years of the eighteenth centuries, although evidence of such operations is meager.
Hammond, E. A.
"Spanish Fisheries of Charlotte Harbor,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 51:
4, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol51/iss4/3