The Grand Isle Returns: As business returns, the fishermen are back, too, eight months after Hurricane Ida | Louisiana outdoors

Eight months ago, the Grand Isle was a wasteland, a nine-mile-long island devastated by Hurricane Ida.

The first images of the massacre of this powerful storm brought tears. Sand covered the island, most of it coming from the mostly washed-out embankment facing the Gulf of Mexico, and every man-made structure exposed to some degree of damage. Many of them are gone.

With no electricity, no water, no fuel, no food, nothing, and worst of all, access along La. 1 Limited to one lane – Ida’s energy has washed away parts of this vital link – The Grand Isle faced a bleak future.

“It was bad,” Hired Fisherman Frank Dreyer She said.

This was an understatement. Business and camp owners contemplated their future, rebuild/reopen or not, knowing that it would take months before electricity, then water, and then other services would be restored to support a growing battalion of workers.

Sometime in October, salty sweat replaced salty tears.

Dreherr and other chartered fishing operators worked with the island’s cleanup crews, then spent their meager free time sourcing the materials they needed to repair their bases of operations on the island.

The island’s big grocery store, Sureway, is back in October, running on generator card. Power and water followed.

However, post-Ida images showed the uphill battle facing the islanders, including Buggy And Dodi VegasEfforts to revive the iconic Bridgeside Marina, which first marina visitors see when crossing the Kamenada Bay Bridge.

Today, Bridgeside is open with fuel, ice, live and adult shrimp, edibles and food.

“It’s still a work in progress,” Vegas said. “We’re shooting for bait boats serving live bait for Memorial Day weekend.

“We had to rebuild the piers, and we have a boat in the marina building a new berth,” he said. “And we rebuilt about half of our rooms. The RV park is 100% connected, we work around the fishermen in the morning and work around the place the rest of the day.”

Side Bridge is only one place. Others like The Blue Dolphin and six RV parks are open along with a few restaurants.

It took two months to clear the wreck from the marina,” Vegas said. We were on the fence. Dodi and I had to make a decision, and our kids said they wanted to rebuild the place. So we did, so we could leave them a place where our family has worked for many years. He was excited.”

This excitement will be cut short if the visitors, mostly fishermen, fail in their shore and sea excursions projects.

“We fish, all charters,” said Dreherr, owner of Laid Back Charters. “We caught a border of[trout]along with red fish, sheep’shead, and tympanum.”

His Friday ride had five trout in the 3 to 4 pound range between catches, and most charters returned to the pier with 25 trout or close limits.

“There are enough rooms and enough supplies now to say we’re open on Grand Isle,” Dreher said. “Almost all the (fishing) guides are working, the fish are biting. Some have accommodations, and if you can’t find a place to stay, call your captain and they’ll find you a place to stay.

“The only thing everyone should know is the island and the water definitely doesn’t look like they did before the storm,” he said. “Most of the rubble has been removed and some camps have continued to be demolished.”

Dreyer took the time to warn boaters of the appearance of two new sandbars along the Kamenada Pass, one on the Chener side and one on the east side near the bridge.

“Right now, I’m more concerned about sandy debris,” he said.

For Vegas, months of dread, anxiety, and work had rewards.

“It’s been a long way to go, and we’ve had a lot of support from our friends, the fishermen we’ve seen for years,” he said. “It’s exciting to be back and exciting to see our friends back.”

You may need this

It was reported last week that the Return ‘Em Right campaign will provide $100 “free launch” gear to hunters overseas.

All you have to do is participate in what the campaign calls “a short online review of the best practices fishermen use to help reef fish survive.”

One estimate is that 1 million reef fish die each year after being caught and then released, and the main cause identified for the expedition is barotrauma – bulging/compression of the fish’s internal organ when the fish is rolled up from the depths.

Return ‘Em Right emphasizes the correct use of descending devices, which fisheries managers believe can “improve long-term reef fish survival by up to three times.”

The campaign release noted that these descending devices were weighted “to help fish overcome buoyancy and injury by releasing them to depth. These devices come in a variety of shapes including weighted inverted hooks, lip stabilizers, and weighted boxes and boxes.”

So, if you’re 18 or older, Google the Return ‘Em Right site, review release best practices, and pick up the release toolkit.

The program is a consortium of the Florida Sea Grant, the University of Florida, the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, and NOAA married fishermen groups, industry associations, government agencies, universities, and governmental and nongovernmental organizations with interests in the Gulf of Mexico.

This project was selected by the Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Trustee’s as part of the 2019 restoration plan.

After completing the review, you will spend your time well on this program.

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