It wasn’t your average day on the beaches of Sanibel. Not only did a local fisherman reel in a 13ft, 500lb. Sawfish from the coastline, he was paid a visit by Vice President Pence while doing so!
That’s no April Fools joke… If you haven’t heard, Vice President Pence and his family spent their Spring break vacation here on Sanibel while our family was on vacation in Paris.
Not Your Average Fishing Day
It was “the wildest day fishing in my life,” angler Elliot Sudal shared the experience via. Facebook. It took 11-hours to reel in the 13+ foot male Smalltooth Sawfish, which is listed as critically endangered and an extremely rare catch. But seeing the three fins appear out of the water, and eventually tagging and releasing the catch wasn’t the only exciting part of the day…
Elliot explains that about four hours into his excursion, secret service showed up followed by Vice President Pence himself! He spent about 30-minutes with Elliot, watching as he struggled to reel in his catch. He even asked the Coast Guard boat who was patrolling the shoreline to use their sonar to identify what was on the hook. “We don’t know, but it’s huge,” the Coast Guard responded over the radio.
Boy, what excitement for sleepy ol’ Sanibel! Regardless of your political stance, you have to admit that having the Vice President of the United States choose our little barrier island as his vacation destination is pretty cool!
It’s Not His First Sanibel Visit
It’s rumored that VP Pence had vacation here on Sanibel in the past, which is the reason he chose the destination again while in office. The Vice President started his vacation by attending an early morning church service on Palm Sunday at the Sanibel Community Church. He and his family also dined at a few favorite local restaurants including Timbers and the Mucky Duck.
One of our agents and her son actually ran into a few secret service members while riding their bikes near Bailey Road. “They were actually really friendly,” she said. “We chatted with them awhile, and then saw a few family members head out for a bike ride, with Secret Service leading the way,” she laughed.
It seems as if the Vice President and his family enjoyed everything that you and I enjoy about the islands, ie. biking, beaching, fishing, and golfing. He and his wife Karen even paid a visit to the Sanibel Beauty Salon while in town… a haircut for VP Pence, and a manicure for Mrs. Pence.
So, How Was Traffic?
Traffic must have been awful right? While the week of Easter tends to be one of the busiest week’s for us here on island, it’s said that the Vice Presidential visit did not disrupt traffic much more than usual. The motorcades were well planned and passed quickly. Hats off the Sanibel Police department, Lee Country Sheriffs and the Coast Guard for their hard work during the Pence family vacation!
Overall, the week-long Vice Presidential visit was a great representation of the friendly Sanibel Community and easy-going lifestyle here on island. How could you not fall in love with our beautiful barrier island and want to return year after year??
Thanks to Santiva Chronicle for reporting on the Vice President’s visit and allowing us to use their photography. You can read more about VP Pence’s recent visit on the Santiva Chronicle website here.
Click here to read the full fisherman story on Elliot Sudal from ABC News.