Proposed ban on bridge bank fishing ruffles feathers in Coffee City
POSTED: Friday, June 15, 2012 - 5:54pm
UPDATED: Saturday, June 16, 2012 - 5:20pm
A big east Texas fishing spot may soon be banned, and it's creating a lot of talk among residents and area fisherman.
We're talking about the embankments around the Highway 155 bridges just north and south of Coffee City.
Local fisherman are worried that they may no longer be able to come to their favorite spot.
Edward Jasper has been fishing there since he was a little boy, and says it's one of the best spots to fish on the entire lake.
At a recent city council meeting, an ordinance was proposed to ban fishing on the embankments.
One of the main problems we're told is the trash, where the city and nearby residents say they are tired of cleaning it up.
"I pay 30 people per month to go and clean up some of the mess that those fisherman do on the sides of those bridges," says Coffee Mayor Tony Moore. "If they would clean up behind themselves, I would be totally against (the ban), but I understand because I have to hire people to go and clean up behind them."
Another problem: parking.
The owners of one house right off the bridge told me the cars were making potholes in their driveway and they weren't going to pay for it.
They finally got the city to put up no parking signs, though many say there are other ways around the problem without taking their favorite spot away.
"The day they put the sign up, I was out there fishing," Jasper said. "And the lady came up and told me I couldn't park there. You know what i did? Walked across the street and parked. If I can fish, that doesn't bother me. You can't just punish everybody for a couple of bad apples ... as long as we can keep fishing down here, we will pick the trash up ourselves."
Howard Nightingale has been fishing off the Highway 155 for 30 years, and spends about 100 days a year at the lake.
He tells KETK he has seen how much money the lake brings in to the area, and the city's ban would not be a smart move financially.
"Fishermen spend a lot of money," Nightingale said. "A lot. Gas, cold drinks, lures, line, poles, reels and I don't see why they would wanna lose their portion of that money."
Moore says on July 9, the city council will meet to further discuss the issue.
The proposed ordinance would include a $50 fine for violators.