Not all fishing trips to Gulf are on hold - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Not all fishing trips to Gulf are on hold

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Some experts are now saying that oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is much worse than BP has let on. That could mean even more devastation for the fishing industry that's already hurting.

A lot of people are canceling their fishing trips to the Gulf coast, but that's not the case with one group of Albany area men. Every year, the Artesian City Sertoma Club sponsors a fishing trip to the gulf for its members. While worried about the oil slick that continues to spread to the East, the trip is still a go, and the men aren't letting the oil spoil their good time and are on the way to Florida.

It's a day Dustin Hickox looks forward to every time the opportunity presents itself.  He said, "It's awesome. It's always a great day to go fishing and get out of town and go hang out with your buddies and enjoy the blue water."

But these days, not all the water in the gulf is so blue. Oil has tarnished much of the crystal clear sea. "It's a horrible thing that happened," said Hickox, "and hopefully it won't come here, but it's just a matter of when and where it's going to hit."

But this angler, who's hit the water since he was four, isn't letting it damper his plans. He's packing up, and heading out.  He said, "We're not going to worry about it. We're going to go ahead and fish while we have the time and the oil's not here yet, so we're going to go down and enjoy as much as we can because down the road you might not be able to go fishing, so you might as well enjoy it while you can."

Bobby Wilson agrees, and that's why he too is joining the guys of Sertoma for a little fishing fellowship.  He said, "At first, there were concerns because there was no telling which way the oil slick was heading. I'm just glad to see it's at least slowed down long enough for us to get another trip in this year."

Another trip to add to his long list of memories. "My father started taking me when I was about four years old. It's something that I've totally enjoyed. I take my son and daughters down fishing and scalloping all the time and we're just going to keep doing it until we can't." And hopes that day never comes.

Tar balls have been reported in parts of Alabama Friday, but so far have not shown up in Florida where the group plans to spend the weekend fishing in the gulf.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist wants BP to fund an emergency $35 Million tourism campaign to let would-be vacationers know the sunshine state is still open for business and oil hasn't tarnished the beaches there.

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