“Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes just one ing natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on earth, we’re still at the mercy of nature” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
A HURRICANE’S EFFECT ON FISHING: BEFORE THE STORM
My wife and I packed to go on a professional education trip to Arizona three days before Hurricane Michael made landfall on Oct 11, 2018. We didn’t know just how eventful of a week the Gulf Coast would have while we were gone. The suspected tropical depression turned tropical storm was inching quickly towards a CAT 1 hurricane. On Day 2 of our working vacation, Jeff Sanders (Hospitality Manager) informed me of two things……#1 Hurricane Michael may become a CAT 2 overnight and #2 everyone on Perdido Key was ignoring the MANDATORY EVACUATION issued by Gov. Scott. In addition to the mandatory evacuation, the Weather Channel showed this strengthening storm barreling towards Panama City Beach. Some of our inshore fishing friends on Perdido were out on the water casting a line.
A HURRICANE’S EFFECT ON FISHING: LANDFALL
Before Michael hit landfall between Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe Florida, these towns were considered by many to be one of the last strongholds for “Old Florida”. In addition to wiping out these to towns entirely and sinking the marinas, Hurricane Michael succeeded on toppling entire neighborhoods in Panama City Beach.
Unfortunately, when devastation of this magnitude hits coastal communities, an unforeseen side effect is the damage the waterways fall victim to. Think of all the tons of debris in conjunction with oil, has, raw sewage followed by silt and “river trash’ collecting in the bays and you will have a pretty clear picture of just how a hurricane affects fishing.
A HURRICANE’S EFFECT ON FISHING: THE AFTERMATH
We are going to keep this simple. Panama City Beach suffered severe damage. Front Beach Road is often referred to as the miracle Mile. It’s namesake comes from the attractions, restaurants, bars, and condos that line the coast. Officials say it may be at least 30 days before power and water utilities are restored. As if the massive amounts of debris and chemical/sewage runoff is not bad enough, Treasure Island Marina, as we know it has been destroyed. Have you seen that collapsed dry storage facility with all the boast piled up? (That’s our guys) If you’re wondering about the hog hunting operation just north of Panama City Beach, watch this video below. ALL HUNTING AND FISHING OPERATIONS EAST OF DESTIN HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED.