fishing in street after hurricane deltona flooding
REELING THEM IN — Whitehorse Street neighbors cast into what was their street, before the storm made it a lake. PHOTO COURTESY ROBERT HANRAHAN

The wrath of Hurricane Ian was unprecedented for many Floridians, and its devastation left thousands of families to cope with less-than-ideal circumstances. Through the damage and devastation, however, occasionally a ray of “funshine” shone.

The Kastner family in Deltona saw significant flooding in their neighborhood. The road in front of the family’s home on Whitehorse Street began to flood Sept. 28, and to the family’s surprise, fish appeared in the water shortly thereafter.

“We got lots of water on our street, it overflowed the canal by my house,” Susan Kastner said, “and so all these fish suddenly had freedom. They were just flowing around and going with the current.”

When the neighbors caught wind of the bounty, they saw an opportunity. Folks dug out their fishing poles and waders and got to work.

“They were out there for maybe two hours on Saturday, and they probably caught at least a dozen fish,” Kastner said, “and I heard it was even more than that on Friday.”

The excitement and novelty enticed the neighborhood’s children, as well. They flocked out in packs to play in the makeshift lake, splashing and attempting to catch fish of their own.

Even Kastner’s daughter, who’s 19 years old, went out to have fun with everyone.

While no one is certain exactly where the fish came from, they certainly had their theories. Some thought that there might have been a fish farm close by that overflowed, though no one was quite sure where it might be located.

Others thought that lakes in the area overflowed and carried fish to nearby streets. In either case, the circumstances brought the residents of Whitehorse Street a bit of joy during a very difficult time.

“I think it made it easier for everybody, especially the kids,” Kastner said.

While she’s not sure what type of fish were caught, neighbors speculated that some might have been trout, carp or catfish.

“My own family caught quite a few. My daughter decided to keep some of them and put them in a little pond in our backyard,” Kastner said.

She also voiced her frustration with the City of Deltona and its poor drainage systems.

Four days after the storm passed, some homes are still flooded, with residents reporting having to travel by kayak because the flooding in the streets is so severe.

Kastner has lived in Florida since 1988, and has experienced her fair share of hurricanes, but none of them have caused such serious flooding in her area before.

“This is the worst we’ve ever had on anything,” she said. “And this hurricane really was not that bad in comparison to some of the other ones we’ve had.”

She blames the increased devastation more on a lack of competent city planning than the hurricane itself.

Regardless, Kastner said, she was glad for the bit of joy, provided by the fish in the street, during the worst of times.

“We had a blast,” she said.

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