Fisherman, boat never made it home from trip

Published March 3, 2007

Michael Carlo, 57, a retired Marine, an experienced mechanic and a father of three, was expected home around 4 p.m. Thursday after a day of fishing off Anclote Key.

He never made it.

Around 10 p.m., his wife Janice called the Coast Guard. A search party involving several agencies began combing the waters. A helicopter took to the air. Through the night and into the morning, they found nothing.

Then at 8:15 a.m. on Friday, a Coast Guard helicopter crew spotted Carlo's 13-foot Boston Whaler capsized in the waters east of Honeymoon Island.

About 40 minutes later, the helicopter crew found Carlo's body. It was 6 miles away, north of Anclote Key.

Petty Officer Tasha Tully, a Coast Guard spokeswoman, said they didn't know how the boat overturned or what killed Carlo. Tully said she was unaware of any unusual weather or water conditions on Thursday.

An autopsy will be performed and the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will conduct an investigation.

"He was a very experienced fisherman," said Lorraine Pedecone, his mother-in-law. "And being a Marine, he always had the necessary equipment. That's why it's so puzzling."

Carlo, of Holiday, set off on Thursday before sunrise. He launched the boat from the Ozona Shore boat ramp at about 5 a.m. He planned to fish alone off Anclote Key, as he often had done. He was to return around 4 p.m.

His family knows of no medical conditions that could help explain what happened. He knew how to fish. He knew the waters well.

"That was his love," Pedecone said. "He'd get out there as often as he could."

Jacob H. Fries can be reached at 445-4156 or jfries@sptimes.com.