Help The Florida Keys Angling Community Recover From Irma

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Image Via NOAA

Image Via NOAA

Images of the lower Florida Keys after the devastation of Hurricane Irma tell a bleak story.

The image above is a spot which may be familiar to many anglers. The former site of the marina at old Wooden Bridge. Now a trash-strewn vacant lot. Scanning the NOAA satellite images of the lower Keys, its hard to form a clear picture of the damage. One house may seem fine, while the house next-door is flattened. When I talk to my friends, who are just now returning to see how much of their lives are left, they respond just as you’d expect a Keys veteran to.

It could be a lot worse,” they tell me, one after another.

I know that’s more a comment on the irrepressible spirit of the Keys than it is a realistic assessment of the situation. Things are plenty bad and folks in the Keys will need plenty of help. Things could indeed be worse and, with any luck, they won’t be.

Most anglers know enough to know that fishing guides live pretty close to the edge. It’s a rewarding job but the reward isn’t usually monetary. In times like these, guides are often the hardest hit. In a fishery like the Keys, where we depend on the guide community so heavily, a tragedy like Irma can affect us all.

A storm threatens a flats guide twice. Once with the loss of home and property and again with the loss of income. Often the second is the most devastating. Fortunately there are a couple of things we can all do to help.

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust along with the Guides Trust Foundation have set up a special guides relief fund. Dollars raised will be provided to guides and their families during this difficult time by the Guides Trust Foundation based on recommendations made by the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association and the Lower Keys Guides Association.

You can support the guide community by sending your most generous contribution to: Guides Trust Foundation c/o Rand Holstead, 1800 Augusta Drive, Fourth Floor, Houston, TX 77057. Or click here to donate online. Please reference “Hurricane Irma” in the notes section for online gifts.

The other thing we can do to help is fish!

The Keys are open for business. If you have dates booked, don’t cancel. You may have fewer choices for dinner but the fishing is still good. If you are concerned, talk to your guide. they can help. If you don’t have dates booked, now’s a great time to go. There are plenty of openings and the dollars you spend will help families in need.

Thank you for your support!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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One thought on “Help The Florida Keys Angling Community Recover From Irma

  1. Also Marco Island and Naples took a direct hit from the huge storm which affected the whole state. I’m sure there was heavy damage not only from wind but surge as well. I have friends toward the upper Keys and they faired better then the lower Keys, the hardest hit looked like Big Pine Key. The State was fully prepared for Irma which mitigated more loss of life. Overall though Florida as a whole was lucky when the storm cut north thru the mainland, the eye wall disintegrated and not along the west coast where 15 ft storm surges were predicted and damage would have been catastrophic. Also prayers for Puerto Rico which was flattened by Maria and will take years to rebuild.

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