Monday, June 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

Tropical Storm Debby empties wallets of local fishing and boating industries

In addition to the record rains that Tropical Storm Debby has dumped on the west coast of Florida, the slow-moving tropical system also will leave many in the Tampa Bay recreational fishing and boating industries with empty wallets.

"This is the worst red snapper season I have ever seen in my life," said Steve Papen, a charter boat captain who runs out of Madeira Beach. "Most of June was bad — we couldn't get offshore — and now Debby. The bad weather has probably cost me $20,000."

Papen is not alone. Larry Blue, another Madeira Beach-based fishing guide, said business along the docks has dried up.

"Fishing? What's that?" he joked. "Nobody has been able to get out."

Debby is the worst kind of storm for fishermen. Instead of moving through the gulf quickly, kicking up a few days of high surf then making landfall, the system has lingered.

"It reminds me a lot of Elena back in '85," Papen said. "It is just sitting out there causing trouble. I wish it would just move on."

Mark Hubbard, whose family runs a charter boat fleet out of John's Pass, said he hasn't run a half-day, full-day or overnight trip to Middle Grounds in nearly a week.

"I've got zero income coming in," he said. "But we still have to pay staff to watch the boats, make sure everything stays secure. … It hurts."

Hubbard's competitors have fared no better. In Clearwater, Chad Haggert has had to watch as his boats sit idle.

"We are booked, but we just can't run offshore," said Haggert, who runs the Double Eagle II and Double Eagle III out of the Clearwater Marina. "This storm has probably cost me $40,000."

Fishing guides who work the relatively sheltered waters of Tampa Bay have also suffered. "I couldn't run Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday," said Tampa-based Mike Gore. "It looks like it may clear a little by (today) but that is the only day I didn't have a charter booked."

Local bait shops have also seen business dry up.

"Nobody is buying shrimp or pinfish," said Michele Hammock, who manages Clearwater Bait & Tackle on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. "After a steady June we have been pretty much dead."

Tackle shops that sell gear to anglers have also noticed a slowdown in the sale of hard goods.

"Usually when the weekend weather forecast looks good, we see a steady stream of people come in gearing up during the week," said Dave Bayes of Seminole's Dogfish Tackle. "But when the weather looks bad, the opposite happens. People just put off buying that new reel until next week."

But all it takes is a small break in the weather for people to start pouring through the doors again.

"We have had six or seven people already come through this morning," said Bill Robinson of Tampa's Gandy Bait & Tackle. "The diehards are going to fish, even if it is just for a few minutes."

Hubbard, whose family has been in the charter boat business, takes it all in stride. "We had one of the mildest winters on record and this spring we had seven straight weeks without rain," he said. "So I think it all evens out in the end."

But at least one group of Tampa Bay businesses welcomes a little bad weather: surf shops.

"I've sold more surf boards in the past three days than I have in the past three months," said Joe Nuzzo, owner of Suncoast Surf Shop. "We have been blowing it out."

Nuzzo, whose shop has been at the same location on Gulf Boulevard in Treasure Island for nearly 50 years, said he sold 500 bars of surf wax since Saturday.

"I know some people may hate me for this," he said. "But thank you Debby."

Comments
Forecast: Hot and humid across Tampa Bay, with potentially wet weekend

Forecast: Hot and humid across Tampa Bay, with potentially wet weekend

Summer officially doesn’t start for another three days, but that won’t stop the searing temperatures and stifling humidity from making for a hot and sticky week across Tampa Bay. Temperatures will climb well into the 90s — and feel...
Published: 06/18/18
Forecast: Plenty of sunshine for Fatherís Day with small chances of isolated showers

Forecast: Plenty of sunshine for Fatherís Day with small chances of isolated showers

As the week comes to a close, Tampa Bay can expect some pretty standard summer-like days with highs near the 90s and afternoon showers popping up around the bay.Friday morning, Tampa Bay will rise with a lot of sunshine. Some scattered showers may dr...
Published: 06/15/18
Strong winds from Tropical Storm Bud hit Mexicoís Los Cabos

Strong winds from Tropical Storm Bud hit Mexicoís Los Cabos

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, Mexico ó Tropical Storm Bud lashed the southern end of Mexicoís Baja California Peninsula, home to the popular beach resorts of Los Cabos, with heavy winds Thursday as locals and tourists braced for an expected landfall later in th...
Published: 06/14/18
Check out this waterspout that formed in waters off Egmont Key

Check out this waterspout that formed in waters off Egmont Key

ST. PETERSBURG ó While the chance for an isolated shower or thunderstorm along the coast will remain just that this week, that doesnít preclude the possibility a strong cell could form in the morning.That exact scenario occurred Thursday morning as T...
Published: 06/14/18
Forecast: Early taste of summer for Fatherís Day across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Early taste of summer for Fatherís Day across Tampa Bay

Summer officially starts one week from today, but the familiar summertime pattern is firmly intact across Tampa Bay.That means warm days, high humidity and a small chance for an isolated popup afternoon storm. In other words, a great opportunity to h...
Published: 06/14/18
Forecast: Hot days, scattered showers are still the rule across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Hot days, scattered showers are still the rule across Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay should continue seeing summer-like days through the rest of the week with sunny, partly cloudy skies and a chance for pop-up afternoon showers.A light westerly flow off the Gulf of Mexico will help push coastal breezes further inland, carry...
Published: 06/13/18
Forecast: Typical June week for Tampa Bay with hot afternoons, mostly sunny skies

Forecast: Typical June week for Tampa Bay with hot afternoons, mostly sunny skies

Monday should set up a pretty typical June week, with hot temperatures and a very low chance for brief scattered showers.Afternoon highs should be near 90 under mostly sunny skies and a small chance of pop up scattered showers that will dissipate qui...
Published: 06/11/18
Forecast: Sunny skies to make for ideal beach weekend across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Sunny skies to make for ideal beach weekend across Tampa Bay

There is a chance of rain throughout Friday, but the weekend should be perfect to make those beach plans.Similar to the past two days, showers could appear around the coast early Friday morning, but by the afternoon those storms should move inland, a...
Published: 06/08/18
Hurricane 2018: Pinellas County gears up for storm season

Hurricane 2018: Pinellas County gears up for storm season

LARGO ó Improving the evacuation process was the biggest lesson learned in Hurricane Irma, Pinellas emergency officials said Thursday.Interim Emergency Management Director David Halstead said although the department got out evacuation information las...
Published: 06/07/18
Weekend weather looking warm, sunny with less chance of rain

Weekend weather looking warm, sunny with less chance of rain

Showers and storms may drift over the bay from the Gulf of Mexico as an unorganized storm system makes its way east.Storms will focus near the coastline Thursday from sunrise until the late morning, according to the National Weather Service. By the ...
Published: 06/07/18