The “Scoop” – The Early Years of Shrimping on Ft. Myers Beach

AUTHORS NOTE: I wanted to apologize for the obvious lack of attention having been paid to this site during the last few months. I was going through a bit of personal drama, which has been resolved, so expect to see regular postings from this day forward : )

With the diverse population we have here on our island paradise, there are undoubtedly more stories than there are grains of sand on the beach and I’ve captured a lot of them at the Sand Paper. Such stories are important because they make up the fabric of who we are as a community. One tale is that of island historian Deacon “Scoop” Kiesel – who moved to Fort Myers Beach with his brothers shortly after World War II to cash in on a new kind of gold rush that had recently been discovered off our shores – pink gold that is – known as Florida Gulf Shrimp. Scoop, who throughout his long and storied existence has worn more hats than you can fit inside his 89 years of life, has agreed to tell me his tale, and the following is the first of several installments during which Scoop shared with our readers the his fascinating story. In this piece, Scoop shares with me the saga of how the shrimping industry came to Fort Myers Beach, and how his life would become forever linked to that pink gold.