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The way it was

September 26, 2012
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

I started coming to Matlacha and Pine Island back in the 1980s after marrying my wife, whose grandfather had built a cottage on Pine Island Road in Matlacha in 1946. He was from middle Tennessee where he worked for the railroad, but when he retired, he moved to Matlacha after hearing what a fishing paradise it was. My wife spent her summers growing up there and also became a fisherman as well.

For those of you who recognize my name, my passion is for wine, but next is my love of fishing. I love fishing for large mouth bass in fresh water, and speckled sea trout in salt water. On my first trip to Matlacha, we caught all the trout we could eat in the bay waters just north of the little cottage on Pine Island Road. The water was so clear that you could easily see the horseshoe crabs on the bottom in 5 feet of water, and the shrimp abounded underneath our little dock. There were also plenty of snook and redfish in those waters, in addition to the trout, all the way from Pine Island Road up north into Indian Fields.

My wife's grandfather is gone now, as well as her mom and dad, so the little cottage is ours now, and we try to get to Matlacha every chance we get. However, I have started to notice a change in the last couple of years. The water is not as clear as it was, and we have a hard time catching trout these days. I have not seen a horseshoe crabs in several years and there are no shrimp under our dock. Another thing is how much dirt and scum accumulates on our little aluminum boat in just a few days, and you can't see the bottom oat all in five feet of water.

Now I am not an environmentalist, and I am not an activist, but I am a fisherman, and I know that trout need clean, clear water to live in, so my questions is, "What has changed in the last couple of years to cause these conditions?" It is in the best interest of us all to find out what has changed our fishing paradise. Maybe the government of Cape Coral and Lee County can give us the answers. The view out our back window is still beautiful, but it's not the way it was, and it is not a fishing paradise these days.

Norm Bentley




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