Sunday, July 09, 2006

The South Florida Fishing Club...

...meets twice a month at Tony Romas. This is probably the best place in the world for spare ribs, although they also have a variety of other things including chicken, steaks, huge burgers, and some seafood also. Strange that a club with a majority Jewish membership meets at place that serves pork, crabs and lobster, but the Miami area is a strange place.

I first joined the club about fifteen years ago because it was a "family" club. I'd belonged to an all male bass fishing club for a few years when I met Vivette Thomas and fell head over heels in love with her. She loved fishing, as did her younger son Craig. A local tackle shop suggested the SFFC, and I already knew several of the members including some of South Florida's top professional guides like Bouncer Smith, Dennis Forgione, and Dave Kostyo.

Actually, Dave was working for the phone company back then and guiding on the side. He was about to have enough years to be vested in their pension plan when he approached me with an idea. He wanted to get a lot of publicity for his guiding skills, the annual Metropolitan South Florida Fishing Tournament was about to start (it runs for several months), and said that If I'd come up with $35 a trip to cover gas and bait we'd fish Craig in the Junior Division going after tarpon, one or two nights a week. Craig was a good looking Jamaican kid with a moderate Afro. Tarpon are big silvery fish averaging 30 to 80 pounds that jump like crazy when hooked. We also caught a lot of jack crevalle. We fished both Government and Haulover Cuts drifting with wind and current and dragging a couple of live shrimp behind the boat on 20 lb. tackle. While Craig was doing that I fished one of my hand made bucktail jigs off the bow, using standard 12 lb. plug casting gear.

Week after week our names were in the Miami Herald, Craig leading Junior Release Division for tarpon and jack while I led the plug casting release for the two fish. Dave got his publicity! We got nice trophies.

I also took photos of Craig fishing, and Dave and Craig holding tarpon prior to releasing them. We gave photos to Penn Reels and Andy Lines, which they used in their catalogs giving Dave even more mention. It seems that they get very few photos of black people using their stuff, especially handsome young teenagers. They loved it! Dave is now running a succesful charter service. Vivette and I split up a couple years later, but I still show up at the club meetings. Here I'm early, one of the first to arrive.

P.S. Want an archival quality print of this or one of my other photos? E-mail me at for details.


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