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Local recreational fishermen returning to the waters after Ian

Posted at 5:44 PM, Feb 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-02 18:46:37-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — As life is starting to return to some sense of normalcy after Hurricane Ian, more people are looking at recreation on the water.

But as they dig out their rod and reel and think about heading to a favorite spot, they may have to find a new one after the hurricane took out piers and closed beachside parks.

"It was just a big, big ruckus honestly," said Kane Stahura, a recreational fisher from Naples.

Like many of us, Stahura remembers what we all saw and felt during Hurricane Ian.

"A lot of storm [surge]. A lot of cars floating down the road," said Stahura.

Instead of the constant rebuilding, the need for recreation is critical as plenty of anglers are getting back out there.

But fishing on our barrier islands is different with the debris and changed water conditions.

"I mean over there, there is a car in the water," said Stahura.

A car, still in the water months after Ian. That massive surge of water not only filled the area with debris but changed the underwater ecosystem.

"Waterways and like passes and stuff, all the sandbars are being moved,” said Stahura. “And all the oyster bends have been torn up. So, it's just a bunch of new ecosystems for the fish to come around."

But even with the underwater environment changed, Stahura thinks the fishing should be pretty good as anglers figure out how to work around the underwater obstructions.

"It's going to be hard for them to figure out, but once they do, I feel like the fishing is going to be way better. In my opinion, it's just more structure in the water," said Stahura.

And for those who don't fish a lot, fish love to use structures in the water to hide from other predators and to ambush their own prey from, making for great fishing spots. But like a few Anglers we spoke to off camera Thursday, the new hurricane debris can snag lines and make fishing just that much harder.