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On the Water: After Hurricane Irma

September 20, 2017
By Capt. Bill Russell , Pine Island Eagle

Wow! What an emotional roller coaster and stressful time we endured before, during, and after Irma's arrival. Islanders agree we were very lucky and spared what could have been a long term disaster to our Island life. One week after the storm passed most Islanders had their electric restored and suffered minor damage. Yes we were lucky, especially when I think back to the after math of Hurricane Charley.

We can all agree that fishing took a back seat to Hurricane Irma the past couple weeks.

I did get on the water one day this past weekend and I was happy that everything looked the same. After Charley I had a very hard time navigating because many landmarks and channel markers were gone. Trees were stripped from many islands and every mangrove leaf was gone. It was both frightening and very depressing. It was very uplifting to see that our back yard paradise was spared and intact after Irma

Article Photos

While checking on his Grandmother Ginger Pence in Bokeelia after Hurricane Irma, David Wieton visiting from Indianapolis was able to get in a morning of fishing. David caught and released this 30 inch snook near Useppa Island while fishing with Captain Bill Russell.


We fished a little and actually did pretty well catching snook, jack crevalle, and sea trout in northern Pine Island Sound. My charter wanted to spend some time on the beach, we went through Captiva Pass, up the beach to the shoals, and returned through Boca Grande Pass. The beach and adjacent waters looked good and were teaming with schooling mullet, large bait schools, lots of birds, plus manatees and dolphin. Inshore was alive also with numerous mullet schools plus lots of bait and bird activity.

We always here that time on the water is great therapy for destressing. I couldn't agree more. It really was great to get back out with nature and forget about these past two weeks. I highly recommend when you get a chance to do the same, even if it's only for a little while.

Hopefully everyone's lives will get back to normal and we will get some good fishing reports soon.

If you have a fishing report or for charter information, please contact us at Gulf Coast Guide Service at 239-283-7960, on the Web at or email

Have a safe week and good fishin'.

As a native of Pine Island, Bill Russell has spent his entire life fishing and learning the waters surrounding Pine Island and as a professional fishing guide for the past 18 years.



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