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Anglers forced to find new favorite fishing hole after fire at El Jobean Pier

The El Jobean Fishing Pier is closed until further notice.
Posted at 6:55 PM, May 29, 2024

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Anglers who frequent the El Jobean Fishing Pier will have to find a new spot to drop a line in the water for the time being, after a fire caused the pier to close.

According to Charlotte County Fire and EMS, the fire started on Tuesday night around 7, and was difficult to put out because the pier was burning from underneath its planks.

Smoke from the fire briefly shut down El Jobean bridge while it burned approximately 100 feet of the pier.

Fire investigators said it will be difficult to determine the exact cause of the fire but “high probability" the fire started due to the careless handling of a cigarette butt.

Charlotte County Public Safety Pier Fire
Firefighters battle a fire at the El Jobean Fishing Pier on May 28.

Fox 4’s Charlotte County Community Correspondent Alex Orenczuk went to the parking lot of the pier early Wednesday morning to speak with anglers about having to find a new favorite fishing spot.

“It actually means everything,” said Roy Marques. “I drive my scooter here everyday, I live just a few minutes away. We fish for a variety of fish in the morning and after work every single day. So, to see what happened here is truly a tragedy.”

Roy Marques
Roy Marques poses with a Crevalle jack he caught at the El Jobean Fishing Pier.

Marques said hearing that it was likely caused by a cigarette butt added insult to injury.

“It makes your blood boil because it's something that could have been avoided, just by not doing it first of all,” said Marques. “Secondly, it is a wooden pier so the risk of some type of fire is increased.”

For Cary Sexton, not only is the pier his favorite spot to fish but his connection to the pier goes beyond fishing. He told Fox 4 that his mother’s ashes were released in a memorial reef near the pier.

“I get to go out there and go fishing and talk to my mom, because I had her buried out there,” said Sexton.

Additionally, Sexton said the pier is a social place, often seeing the same anglers and making friends.

black drum
Cary Sexton holds a large drum he caught at the El Jobean Fishing Pier.

“I hate to see this,” said Sexton. “People come here all the time, and that is where we gather at. We’re not over at the coffee shop, we're here at the fishing hole.”

According to Charlotte County officials, the pier will be closed until further notice.