Sunday, July 15, 2012

The FanMan goes to Florida

This is a story about a guy that has worked hard most of his adult life to put his two sons through college. After many years of sacrifice he finally reaches a point where he can take a deep breath and relax if even for only a moment. One day he steps into my office and says, “Matt, I am going to take a trip that I have always wanted to take. Next week I am off to Florida with my boys.”

Above is a shot of Tom wrestling with a large sand shark towards the end of the day. I threw this picture in at the top more or less to wet the appetite and draw folks into the article. Apologies for the out of sequence shot.
The plane touches down in Ft. Lauderdale and they all take in some of the sights.  There were a number of items on the “must do list” and getting in some saltwater fishing was about number 3 in the priority. A number of phone calls were made and they were put in touch with an excellent saltwater guide, Captain Tim Curtis of Commander Hawk. Commander Hawk has been guiding in this area for a while and knows the Southern Florida water very well. He offers fishing trips custom tailored to the customer’s desires. This trio decided to focus on the sport fishing side of the spectrum leaving the option open for a few table fish. While getting everything set up over the phone, our trio hung out with some of the locals. 

The next morning FanMan and his two sons are out on the water. The guide explains some of the basic rules of the boat and local restrictions. Then goes over how they plan to start at the bottom of the food chain by netting a few pinfish and working their way to the top. Weather and wind were blissful compared to just a few days earlier when that tropical storm ran through. The area was wet but not destroyed with partly cloudy skies. This is as good as it gets for a lot of reasons. Below is Matt with a keeper mackerel and one of the better table fish of the day.

After a few minutes in the shallows, they have enough pinfish to start casting for the bigger ones. In a few moments they run into sharks of various size and species. Below is the FanMan with one of the smaller reef sharks caught.

For the record FanMan caught the most fish, Tom caught the biggest fish and Matt caught the biggest keeper fish that was freshly cooked for them that night. Tasting the fish fresh can be an important part of the overall experience. At the same time the guide stayed within Florida regulations as well as helped conserve the sport overall that is his livelihood by releasing many fish and keeping only a select few. Most importantly this was an activity they all could participate in together to celebrate their journey through life thus far. These will be positive memories that will last a lifetime.

Above is Matt holding one of the nurse sharks caught. Below is a sand shark getting a quick hook removal at the edge of the boat. One mistake here and someone could be looking at a lot of painful stitches. Saltwater fishing is a prime example of a situation where it means so much to have a qualified guide. Captain Tim Curtis has nearly 30 years boating experience and has spent 10 of those years guiding in the Florida area.

Captain Tim Curtis
Pro Fishing Guide
3255 Duck Ave #8
Key West, Fl., 33040

Below is another photo of the large sand shark that was brought to the boat by Tom. Sand sharks get darker brown with age. The two photos show some of the contrast between younger and older of the same species.  This fish was approximately six foot in length and released at the side of the boat.  How cool is that? To catch a fish that could possibly eat you if it had the chance.

Later in the day the guide put the boat over an area and fished for grouper. Some explanation of technique, handling and great patience was expressed. They got into a couple and lost one really large one that just wouldn’t come off the bottom. Grouper are an amazing saltwater species that I am in immense of awe of by the way but then again I get that way about a lot of fish.


cleontico said...


Howard Levett said...

There is something spellbinding about Florida. Fortunately I'm still running loose here. But there is something spellbinding. Nice post.