Is it safe to go fishing in the waters around SWFL after Ian?

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Man fishing in Southwest Florida. (Credit: WINK News)

Fishing is back in Southwest Florida after Hurricane Ian, but debris still fills the Gulf and other waterways, so is it safe to cast your line?

The debris isn’t keeping some from hitting the water to fish, and the fish are biting.

“Fishing has been excellent. Catching a lot of fish,” said Captain Gene Luciano, owner of Dalis Fishing Charters.

“There’s tons of bait, tons of life. The Snook are biting real good. There’s a lot of Pompano out there. The sea trout are really plentiful. Redfish are really plentiful,” said CJ Lafauci, fishing captain for Endless Summer Charters.

Michael Westra, the owner of Lehr’s Economy Tackle, said, “It’s like clockwork. As soon as the storms over, anybody that gets out on the water and starts looking. There’s fish around the storm is no different.”

But is it safe to fish, and are the fish safe to eat?

Captain Luciano said he’s been fishing in the Gulf waters southwest of Naples.

“We’ve been eating them our children are meat-eating, my grandbabies are eating them. The fish are fine,” said Luciano.

When it comes to fish caught in our rivers or canals, “I would be cautious about that. You can fish, you might, you’ll catch big fish, whether I want to eat them or not. I think I’d still wait a little while longer,” said Luciano.

“I probably wouldn’t eat a fish from there anyway. If there were any dead fish in there, you know, I would definitely not even be fishing in there,” said Lafauci.

Westra said, “I wouldn’t eat inshore. Personally, I don’t think you’re gonna get sick from eating the fish. But we had a lot of fuel in the water. Okay, and we’ve got a lot of stuff in the water from the flood, and we got in the runoff we got we all know what stuff means.”

The fishermen said you can always just fish for sport by doing catch and release.

The fishermen also said to be careful wherever you fish. They say there are many hidden hazards in the water and debris that you may not see.

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