Ian aftermath: Central Florida residents go fishing in front yard

BARTOW, Fla. — As residents grapple with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian’s destructive winds and flooding, at least one Central Florida man is taking advantage of the river that has suddenly appeared outside his front door.

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The Peace River has overflowed in Polk County, but Eric Cornell of Bartow grabbed his fishing pole and started casting for catfish on Saturday.

“This is like making something positive out of a big ol’ negative, ya know,” Cornell told WFTS-TV.

Cornell said there was a chance he would have success and stood in the water with his 13-year-old daughter, calmly tossing a line.

“We saw three yesterday, right here,” Cornell told the television station. “Right here, they’re butter cats.”

Cornell said his family lives in the flood zone and was anticipating massive damage when Ian blasted onto the Florida mainland as a Category 4 storm.

Like many residents, he was bracing for the massive destruction the Category 4 storm could bring to Central Florida.

“We thought the roof was going to come off the house. We did,” Cornell told WFTS. “We heard the whistling through the cracks, and this a new home.”

Cornell said his home weathered the storm but added many other people in the state were not as lucky.

“I feel bad for the other people. Folks out there that had to get out of their home,” Cornell told the television station. “I know that home down there is flooded, but for all this madness, it feels good right now.”