After a couple of years of getting settled in, weeding through the rip-off charters and bad captains, I landed on two Capitans who are worth their weight in gold. After the Lord blessed me with those two leads I quickly called my dad to get his butt on a plane to bend some rods South Florida style. And oh my God have we crushed the fish.
Not only has pops been a part of many insane hauls, but my wife and my two infamous daughters have, as well. Matter of fact, my girls grew up catching big game fish on light tackle twice their body length without daddy’s help. That’s how they roll, boys. Grow a pair or go home.
In addition to my familial fishing trips, we have had the pleasure of fishing with folks from all over the world and from every conceivable walk of life: from diplomats, bestselling authors, pundits, big name rock stars, Fox News contributors, missionaries, attorney generals, terminal cancer patients, and good buddies at church, to at risk teens without hope and without a clue. We have always had an amazing time, sharing in our mutual addiction that we seek no cure from (i.e. the screaming reel).
The fish we have caught, of which I have the pictures and videos to prove, include: giant bull sharks, lemon sharks, great hammerheads, black tip sharks, spinner sharks (the most enjoyable shark to hook), dusky sharks, sailfish, dolphin, goliath grouper (and their many cousins), permit, bonefish, giant barracuda, tarpon, snook, speckled trout, jack cravelles, amberjack, ladyfish, blue fish, snapper, tripletails, yellow jacks, kingfish, Spanish mackerel, bonita, tuna, red fish and a couple of things I didn’t know what the hell they were.
We have caught them all: small, medium and large. In the gorgeous ultra marine blue seas of the Atlantic, to the gin-clear flats of Biscayne Bay, down to Key West, to the murky fish-rich waters of Chokoloskee, the Ten Thousand Islands area, and the gorgeous, uninhabited sanctuary of Flamingo.
Yep, I blame fish for a lot of the great times in my life. Check it out: All around the personal pursuit of my finny little friend, my life and my relationships have been greatly enriched via stretched monofilament and high-pitched Diawa drag screams.
Which brings me to the point of my column. As much as I have been there and have done that from a fishing standpoint, as you can guess from my eight-hundred-word gush above, I can’t imagine not fishing for the rest of my life nor my kid’s kids not being able to be anglers should they so desire. Fishing is one of the cherished liberties and activities that keeps me giddy about the great American experiment.
That’s why when I hear crap that Obama and his “progressive” ilk want to ban fishing, it gets me … uh … how shall I put this … um… angry. Yeah, that’s a good word. Not only are they upending this nation on many different economical fronts but now they’re talking about the recreationally and economically disastrous move of banning fishing? What’s next? Are they going to ban apple pie? Blonde-haired girls? Chevrolet? No, they own Chevy now. What about baseball?
For those who say, “Ah, it’ll never happen in America,” that’s probably what some folks in Ontario thought before the World Wildlife Fund and the International Fund for Animal Welfare completed their successful campaign to convince the Ontario government to shut down one of the best managed big-game hunts in North America, which crippled many small businesses and the tourism economy of communities across northern and central Ontario.
My advice to fishermen everywhere is to refuse to be silent and scream now via phone calls, emails and faxes to your reps as loud as your Penn reel would wail with a 50lb kingfish strippin’ off its line.