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Skyway Fishing Pier officials confident they will bounce back from recent decline in visitors

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -  It's typically one of the most popular fishing spots on the Suncoast, but lately the Skyway Fishing Pier has experienced a drop in visitors.

It stretches for about two miles on both sides of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  For the avid fisherman or the casual one, the Skyway Fishing Pier is a place to sit back, relax and catch some fish 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"You're out on deeper water," said Shelley Kelson, who was fishing off the pier on Tuesday. "You don't have to be out on a boat, and I like this because we can drive right to our spot instead of having to carry our gear a long way."

Kelson and her husband are like many others. They've waited for a month or so to have the perfect day to fish off the pier. 

Kevin Kiser, park manager of the fishing pier says he doesn't have the exact numbers as to how many fewer people have visited the pier over the last couple of months, but it is a noticeable amount.

"We've had two hurricanes recently pass through Florida, so it tends to have a lot more people stay at home and wait for the weather to pass," said Kiser. "We've had a little bit of red tide in the area which has subsided, we've got some construction going on, on the bridge."

Kiser tells us that brighter days are now back again at the pier.  For Lee Carter, he hasn't let recent obstacles stop him from enjoying a little fun in the sun.  The pier is a place he's been visiting a few times a week for the last 10 years.

"Being an older guy, it's easier on my legs," said Carter. "I can't scamper across boulders anymore, so it's easy to park next to the water and get out and fish."

Park and pier officials are confident that the number of visitors will continue to rise now that things are back to normal.