Cape Coral to re-consider bridge fishing ban
Six years ago, the city of Cape Coral considered a ban on fishing from bridges after neighbors complained of littering, noise and people trespassing on their lawns.
Monday, the Cape Coral City Council indicated it may be time to address that subject again after residents complained the problem has gotten worse and, perhaps, indirectly led to the death of a Cape Coral man who was cleaning up trash.
Council members John Carioscia and John Gunter said they would work to construct ordinances to put an end to fishing on or under city bridges as well as deal with unlawful parking on medians and private property, instructing police to more strictly enforce parking standards.
During citizens input, resident Tom Hough said anglers fishing under the bridges have been leaving trash and dead fish next to homes and even on private property.
“There are other places to fish in the city. It has really gotten worse in the last few months and it came to a head last week,” Hough said.
Lynne Eaton stepped to the podium and talked about how her husband, John, was picking up trash left on his property on Dec. 29 when he slipped down an embankment, hit his head on the seawall and drowned.
“There were 11 people fishing, there were five teenaged boys on the seawalls and going on my neighbor’s deck. It’s urgent for the city to be aware of this,” said Eaton, as she tried to maintain her composure.
Council members expressed their condolences, with Gunter saying that as an avid boat fisherman himself, he has seen the fishing under the bridges and the trash left behind.
Gunter asked Assistant Police Chief Lisa Barnes to see what can be done to curb the issue. She said if people are parked legally, there isn’t much that can be done right now.
As for those who don’t park legally, Barnes said she could assign more people to address that
Carioscia said it may be time to strictly enforce the parking laws, citing all fishermen who park illegally. He vowed to champion a ban on bridge fishing.
“This has gotten out of hand. We need to have a zero-tolerance policy and create an ordinance to prohibit on or under bridge fishing and ticket all cars illegally parked. That will stop it,” Carioscia said.
Carioscia, the only member still on Council since the issue was debated last time, said he would like an ordinance drawn up to put an end to fishing on or under bridges. Gunter said he would support it.
Gunter said he would look into tightening the parking standards. Carioscia reciprocated and said he would support Gunter.
The parking ordinance would not only more strictly enforce regulations on those who fish on bridges but those who illegally park trailers in city parking lots.
In 2012, former councilman Kevin McGrail proposed a fishing ban in Northwest Cape on 10 bridges in that area. Despite support from many property owners, the proposal was defeated.