Island Summer

Island Summer Fun
Thoughts and pictures by UseppaGin

Familiar faces, patio lunches, a seaplane ride, sitting by the pool, watching birds wade by on the beach, and good friends of all ages equal summertime on Useppa.  How lucky we are to spend these long, hot days together.

4th of July and More!

Cookies, Captains, Kids & Poolside Fun
4th of July and More on Useppa Part I
Words and Pictures by UseppaGin

Summer fun on Useppa included a 4th of July fun filled weekend and more.  The Cookie Brigade delivered cookies to island employees to say thank you to the men and women who take such good care of us.  They also shared cookies with Captains Daniel Andrews & Chris Whitman, founders of Captains for Clean Water.  Lots of fun in and around the pool.  Great music by Joe Harley and his band.  A perfect summer weekend!

Kids 4th of July Weekend Fishing Tournament

New Kids Fishing and Old Kids Helping
4th of July Kids Izaak Walton Fishing Tournament
Words and Pics by UseppaGin

Captain Eddie led the pledge.  Standing on one foot, one hand raised, children took the Kids Izaak Walton Oath.  “I promise to release unharmed any fish, always help my fellow fishermen when needed, and always have fun.”

It was quiet for a few minutes and then Madison caught a 12″ Catfish.  Cameron caught a 7″ Pinfish.  Helen caught a 7 1/2″ Pinfish.  Alexandra caught a 12 1/2″ and Austen caught a 10 1/2″ Red Snapper.

Kyle C., one of the best young Useppa fishermen, and his friend, Clayton P. kept track of all the catches, put shrimp on the lines, and gave advice when asked.

Kyle and Captain Eddie both fished the same tournament when they were new fishermen.  By example they passed on their knowledge to a new bunch of eager kids.   The tradition of Useppa Izaak Walton fishing continues.

Father’s Day on Useppa 2017

Father’s Day on Useppa 2017

Thoughts and Pictures by UseppaGin

The rain showers held off and the celebrations began.  It was a chance for families to listen to music by the pool, to enjoy a Collier Inn special brunch, for old and new friends to share stories and laughter.

Hugs between generations, fathers and their children in the pool, a cool drink in a comfortable lounge chair, a boat ride to and from the island, are simple pleasures that a visit to Useppa makes possible.

Izaak Walton Tournament 2017 Part II

Useppa Izaak Walton Tournament

June 3, 2017

Part II

Story and Pictures by UseppaGin

When we weren’t on the water, we gathered at the Tarpon Bar for directions, dinners, and a cold drink or two.  Captains for Clean Water’s Daniel Andrews and Chris Whitman showed a video touching on the history of Useppa Tarpon fishing ending with a tribute to Island fisherman Cody Davis.  Sepia photos and old Tarpon scales are souvenirs of a centuries old tradition.  A picture of Cody Davis pays tribute to a fisherman who died just a few months ago.

Friday night was a casual dinner, a chance for old and new friends to get together.  On Saturday morning at 5:30 breakfast goodies and picnic lunches were available.  Saturday afternoon when fishing had ended, stories were told around the bar about the ones caught and the ones that got away.  Winners were announced and a trophy photo taken.

1st Place: Kyle Scheid & Cole Calhoun with Captain Ozzie Lessenger

2nd Place: Donald Beckstead & Rich Morris with Captain Jeff Bankowski

Saturday night a Prime Rib Dinner was served and Calcutta awards were passed out.  Tom Liber and Donald Beckstead thanked everyone on behalf of Useppa’s Izaak Walton Club, and announced that after expenses, all monies would be divided by Captains for Clean Water and the Tarpon Trust.

Izaak Walton Tournament 2017 Part I

Useppa Izaak Walton Tournament

1 Tide

21 Teams, 16 Tarpon

Comments and Pictures by UseppaGin

Twenty-one of the area’s best fishing captains were teamed with forty-two Useppa fishermen eager to catch and Silver King.  Men and women walked down the dock in still darkness, climbed on their boats and headed south toward Captiva or north toward the waters off Boca Grande.  They weren’t disappointed.  Tarpon were everywhere and sixteen were caught in Useppa’s one-tide 2017 Izaak Walton Tarpon Tournament.

1st Place:  Captain Ozzie Lessenger, Kyle Scheid and Cole Calhoun with three Tarpon

2nd Place:  Captain Jeff Bankowski, Donald Beckstead and Rich Morris with two Tarpon

Memorial Day Weekend 2017 Part II

Memorial Day Part II

Thoughts and pictures by UseppaGin

We don’t have a parade.  There are no speeches.  But we celebrate Memorial Day in our own way on Useppa.

The Cookie Brigade baked chocolate chip cookies for veterans and drew pictures to say thank you to the Island men and women who served our country.  Alone or in small groups we remembered those who died in the military.

And then, a band played at the pool.  The Collier Inn offered a brunch lunch.  Boats came  and went from the marina filled with people celebrating the holiday.  Other boats dropped anchor or tied up at the Collier Dock.

Red, White, and Blue everywhere, Memorial Day weekend.  Moments of remembrance and love filled hours of friends and family.

Memorial Day Weekend 2017 Part I

Flags, Families, Fun & Mermaids

Useppa Memorial Day
Part I

Pictures by UseppaGin

A family photo in the Banyan Tree on the Pink Path, Grandparents and Grandkids, Moms and Dads, couples in love, hard working Island employees, friends old and new, boaters and fishermen all celebrate Memorial Day on Useppa.

Memorial Day Weekend 2017 Kids Fishing Tournament

Memorial Day Izaak Walton Kids Fishing Tournament

Pictures and Commentary by UseppaGin

It was quiet for a while at the Marina.  Captain Eddie and his sister Isabella, both Kids Tournament graduates, set the mood.  Captain Eddie administered the Fisherman’s Oath.  Promises were made by young fishermen to catch and release all their fish, and to help their fellow fishermen when needed.

One hour.  The clock started, and with rods in hand, the children spread out along the dock.

Nothing happened.  Finally catfish started biting.  Then a few other fish including a porkfish with its yellow head and fins, a silver-gray base and two black vertical stripes, a black and white striped sheepshead, and a reddish brown mangrove snapper were all reeled in, measured and released.

Congratulations to all Trophy and Blue Ribbon anglers.