The Pirate Files | Crossing Boca Grande Pass

On June 25, Mike and I were running south to Pine Island from Boca Grande, trying to escape the red tide and find bait. As we crossed the world-famous Boca Grande Pass, the morning sunrise sparkling on the water, I became flooded with soul-stirring inspiration. Even despite the floating fish bodies that had fallen victim to the ongoing red tide bloom. I had not brought my journal, so I reached for my phone to frantically type the thoughts in my mind. Here are my actual musings from a morning on the water. 


Monday, June 25, 2018 | Morning | Boca Grande Pass 

It’s in the moments of living that I write my best stories in my mind. I struggle sitting quietly at my desk in the silence of my home. My imagination is repressed. But when I’m out and actually living. That’s when the magic creeps in.

Like that time I was frozen on one knee face to face with two Osceola turkeys. The only reason I didn’t topple over was that I was so excited by the story I was writing in my head, I focused on how I wanted it to end. "I have to nail this," I thought. It would either be a story of failure or victory. To topple over would scare the birds and it would be just another story of defeat and the one that got away. But that's not the story I wanted to write.

Boating across the water, nothing but the sound of the motor and the wind. The morning sunrise sparkling across Boca Grande Pass, making our way to look for bait. It’s in this moment I think of pirate life. I could have been a pirate, but a good one like Captain Jack Sparrow. Just as clever but with a little more courage. I wouldn’t have been a murderous, plundering pirate as I have too much of a do-gooder conscience. But I could quest for treasure, drink rum and roam the high seas.

Life on the sea sounds horrifyingly romantic and terrible. The sea is a powerful sorceress who can toss you up and swallow you whole. She will enchant you with her mystery, then discard you into her depths. Beauty and danger is what lies below her surface. Things that will captivate you and things that will kill you. The story she writes in my mind just by cruising along her surface excites me.

I didn’t bring my journal but these fantasies and images jumble around in my mind. I scramble to grab my phone out of my backpack and tap them all down before I’m snapped back to reality and lose them forever. I have a pit of excitement in my stomach as I frantically tap these notes on my phone. Head down, shaded by my big straw hat. Mike is chumming for bait then throwing the cast net behind me. My fingers are shaking from typing so fast.


End musings. What happens next? Reality beckons and I must assume my duties as first mate, chumming for bait. After all, a good pirate can't leave the captain to do all the dirty work.

Why do I share these words with you? Because they are small tidbits of my soul. And I'm learning that I have to let them live and breathe to keep my soul aflame. No matter how pointless or silly in nature.

There's no motive, no formal message, just musings. If you're looking for a more serious post about the red tide.... well I'm still thinking on that one. 

Don't stop chasing those dreams, y'all. 

Do You Want To Help Us Take Kids Fishing?

Last year, we hosted our very first C.A.S.T. for Kids event, partnered with the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation. We were blown away by the turnout of captains, volunteers and 29 children with special needs who were able to spend a day fishing on Charlotte Harbor, many for the first time. 

As we prepare for our 2nd C.A.S.T. for Kids event on September 8, 2018, I wanted to share some of my favorite photos from last year. Photos by Mike Owens, Mike Downs Sr., participants and event volunteers. 

The happiness was overflowing on every face! These children caught fish, rode on boats and received plaques as the crowd cheered for them. Many of these kids had never been applauded before... think about that. The looks on their faces were priceless and I think all the hearts in the room were jumping for joy inside.

We can't wait to do it again. Boat captains and shore volunteers needed. If you'd like to get involved, register online here:

Let's take kids fishing!

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For Florida backcountry anglers, this time of year has a very different meaning.

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Don't Take My New Years Advice, It Would All be a Lie.

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It’s a new year. The time to reflect on who we’ve been and how we want to change in the year ahead. Or if you’re like me… your life might have been flipped on its axis and you write down so many thoughts and goals that they’re all just rolling around in your brain aimlessly, never to be acted on unless you get your you-know-what together.

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