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"Tarpon Capital of the World"
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About: Some 24.5 million years ago, Pine Island rose, as did Florida, from the receding seas. It is not known when man first arrived on our island, but skeleton remains have been unearthed dating back about 6,000 years. Calusa Indians were thought to have inhabited the island in peace from 300 AD until 1513 when it's believed Ponce De Leon landed on the west side of Pine Island. The Spanish not only fought the Calusas but introduced diseases they had no immunity to, wiping them our by the 1700's. An important archeological dig is located in Pineland, a small community on northwest Pine Island, thought to have been the center of the Calusas' civilization. Except for the occasional pirate of fisherman, Pine Island was then basically uninhabited until 1873, Those hardy settlers who then arrived, lived off the sea and carved out the paradise that we now enjoy.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to live among the islands of Florida's Southwest Coast know that hidden deep within the murky roots of mangroves, and buried far below the sand and shells, are3 the legends of the saltwater bandits.
Pirating was among the hardest and most
dangerous of the early colonial occupations but it often paid extremely
well. To this day, pirates and hidden treasure live on in the lore of Pine
Island, Captiva, Sanibel, Boca Grande, Cayo Costa and Useppa.
Jose Gaspar, self-proclaimed King of Pirates,
established a small kingdom on Gasparilla Island or Boca Grande. A member of
an old Spanish family, he had entered the
Spanish navy at age twelve and had risen rapidly until the
When you look at the Rum Point Inn Bar and
Restaurant (previous name of The Waterfront Restaurant and Marina) today
(i.e., 1998) it's hard to believe that kids
Pine Island's fishing heritage stretches back at least 1,700 years to the Calusa Indians, who lived abundantly off the wealth of seafood in area waters. Commercial fishing has supported generations of island families, and sports fisherman long ago discovered the abundance of Pine Island waters. Perhaps the best tarpon fishing in all the world lies just north of Bokeelia, in Boca Grande Pass. Other popular game fish are snook, redfish, trout, grouper, snapper, cobia, sheepshead and many others. Pine Island is a fisherman's paradise.
Historical information provided by the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce
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