These months of warmer weather, calmer seas and a great fish bite make fishing in Florida what we really want and enjoy. You can go into any of the local fish markets daily and buy all types of fresh fish that are caught right here 1-3 miles off our coast. If you own a boat charter or go with a friend that has a boat of almost any size or type, as long as it’s seaworthy, life is good.
Growing up in the fishing tackle business, I was a young kid and still am at heart. I was teaching fishing classes in the Boca High School. They paid me back the $150 a night to have an open class of 20-30 people to come free-of-charge to my fishing classes. It worked out great for everyone. Some nights I would take two or three of my better students fishing as a treat. One of those nights we had an old Chris-Craft boat with a 75-horsepower motor. We would leave Boca Inlet after we closed up the tackle shop and out the Inlet we went. Tides, moon, conditions, wind and current; we all learned, me included.
This was in the 1970’s when I worked for a man named Bill Kane. He paid me a lot back then. I started at $1.10 per hour and, after I graduated High School with the Boca Raton Bobcats, I was up to $1.75 an hour, getting rich going fishing. The only problem was that it was the shop’s boat, the shop’s bait and tackle; labor was always free from me, and we all got a fishing lesson every trip. After several years of doing this, we got pretty good at it. The tackle shop also had the first retail place to come into and buy all the seafoods you wanted fresh almost daily. Bill’s wife Joyce and daughter Susan ran the fish market. We did this for four or five years. We sold shrimp, lobster, stone crab claws and all the other seafood we could buy from 3-4 wholesalers. It was a growing business and many people today reading this know me as Tom Greene the shook-fishing nut. I spent 30-40 years of my life fishing and teaching the local kids, and quite a few adults.
I sold my tackle shop last year after 60 years and 11 days of doing this in Boca Raton and Lighthouse Point. I believe every time I go fishing, I am still learning today. All these kids you read about in the magazines and in different stories, a lot of them one way or another grew up with me or from me by way of one of the many, many young fishermen that taught them. It became their jobs like a boat captain, a real good fishing mate, etc., so it was a lot more of a fun education than just going to school. It was and still is life today. We have a lot of captains married with a family making in excess of $100,000 a year and no college. Today I get very high-end boat owners looking for fishing mates paying as much as boat captains. The jobs are out there; just get a good teacher. The sky is the limit. On a recent weekend, a white marlin tournament in Ocean City, Maryland paid out over nine million dollars for the biggest fish in several categories. The biggest white marlin I believe was three million dollars or more. And, there were additional payments on yellowfish tuna, dolphin, wahoo and blue marlin. That’s a lot of money to spread around.
Tight lines and good fishing; and better catching.