Sunday, July 23, 2006

And The Winner Is....Craig Thomas!


My girlfriend Vivette's younger boy loved to fish. The first couple of years we were together Craig and his older brother Xavier still lived with their dad in Jamaica and Craig would fish with me wen he was here visiting his mom during school vacations. He'd get meup before sunrise day after day and we'd fish in the bay for sea trout, jacks and tarpon in my 13 ft. Boston Whaler, or if the weather was good even venture into the ocean looking for dolphin and kingfish depending on the season.

After the kids moved here with us we joined the South Florida Fishing Club and Capt. Dave Kostyo (on the right) was planning on quitting his phone company job and start guiding full time. He and I came up with a plan to get him the publicty he needed to get mentioned in the paper week after week during the annual Metropolitan South Florida Fishing Tournament, which runs for several months each winter. Craig would fish in the junior division one night a week for tarpon, a large silvery fish that gets over 100 pounds and jumps like crazy. Dave would charge me just for the fuel and the live shrimp Craig used for bait, and I'd do some photography too. We released all the fish. The most releases in a division is the winner.

Well, week after week Craig caught and released jack crevalle and tarpon on 20 lb. class tackle. I spent my time up in the bow of Dave's boat, Knot Nancy, casting one of my home made bucktail jigs on 12 lb. class baitcasting tackle, the same kind of rod and reel people use for freshwater bass fishing. Week after week Dave got his name in the paper. Not only was Craig leading in the Junior Division for both jack and tarpon but I managed to keep the lead in the baitcasting division. At the awards banquet Craig was one proud kid as Charlie Richter from the MET handed him his awards while Capt. Dave stood next to him. Vivette and I were beaming with pride.

We then sent photographs to Penn reels, Abu Garcia, and Ande Line, showing Craig fighting tarpon, posing with the huge fish for a minute before they were released. We got several free rods and reels and a seeming lifelong supply of line. Craig and Dave got their photos in several magazine ads and catalogs. Dave got the publicity he wanted and now runs a succesfull charter business. He still uses my jigs.

It seems that the tackle companies get loads of photos in the mail, but very few show a cute black kid. They let us know that more pictures would be most welcome. Craig, already 14, was in the process of discovering girls. Fishing as an obsession fell by the wayside. Four or five years later Vivette and I had a falling out. Once in awhile I run into Craig and he talks about going fishing again.

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