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Report Date: April 18, 2007

As a father of two and a full time charterboat captain, I am guilty of not taking my kids fishing as often as I should. With one daughter already in college and the younger one just turning into a teenager, we usually do other things on our days off. My younger daughter, Brittany had a small fishing tournament at her school. We decided to fish it and spend some quality time on the water. I invited my good friend Eddie from Biscayne Rods and his younger son Zach. As fathers, we would let the junior anglers catch some fish and have fun. This was a “fun fish” tournament with no prize money, just trophies. Legible fish were dolphin, kingfish, cobia, wahoo, tuna, snapper and grouper.

We headed out Saturday morning and were greeted with great fishing conditions. We had blue water and North current and a good breeze. I joked and said that these looked like great sailfish conditions, and although sailfish didn’t count, we would probably catch 10 sails that day. I wasn’t that far off as our first bait in the water turned out to be a sailfish. My daughter grabbed the rod and I was amazed at how well she handled this fish. Soon after, we were into fish practically all day. We ended up catching 8 out of 11 sailfish, a boatload of dolphin, a few kingfish, a cobia and a small balckfin tuna. Most importantly we got to fish with our kids and I watched my daughter enjoy what I enjoy the most – catching fish. We watched together in amazement as acres of flying fish were getting torn up by sailfish and dolphin. We watched sailfish up under the kite baits and I watched my daughter catch fish after fish.

With lines out at 4:00pm, we headed back to the dock proudly displaying our 8 sailfish flags. The tournament was structured for only 3 fish per species for top team and only one fish per species for top captain. Most of our fish were in the 10 – 20 pound range and we heard of plenty of big dolphin caught that day, so we weren’t really thinking about being on the leader board. Much to our surprise, we were the only ones who caught a cobia and a tuna and along with our dolphin and kingfish, we won 2nd place. Most importantly, my daughter won 2nd place Junior Angler. I was so proud of her as she accepted her trophy. The top prize was for Top Captain, and I thought for sure that the angler who caught a 46 pound dolphin was going to win. Right before the trophy was announced, my daughter whispered to me that she hopes I win it because I worked hard all day putting them on fish and that I was a great Dad. At that point the trophy didn’t matter as I already got my reward. That being said, I won the trophy beating out the 2nd place Captain by 0.6 pounds.

Fishing with your kids is a great experience and one that should be done often. Brittany and I are already planning our next trip. Now is the time that you should be planning a trip with your kids as well!

Tight Lines,
Capt. Dean Panos

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