Capt. Joel’s Fishin’ Holes

By: Capt. Joel Brandenburg 

With the holiday season soon approaching it reminds me of happy children. The joy we get from seeing a child open a present is priceless. Nothing puts the smile on a kids face like the smile of catching a fish though.

The uncontrollable and sometimes nervous laughter as the fish flops into the boat. We yell “you got em”! or “great fish”! Some kids want to hold the fish up for a picture and some kids are too scared to even touch the fish. No matter what their level of fishing experience one things for sure, fish make kids extremely happy!

We take kids out on charters almost daily and we also have groups of kids at a time during summertime at our kids fishing camp. We’ve been fishing with kids for decades. I’ve seen fishing turn bad kids good and good kids great. I’ve never known a kid who loved to fish end up in trouble with the law.

Kids who are addicted to fishing don’t get in trouble and most of our camp kids who are now adults, ended up becoming successful and/or family-oriented adults. We have saying “give a kid a fish and feed him/her for a day or teach a kid how to fish and feed them for a lifetime. When a kid learns to fish, it’s not just fishing they learn about, they learn about the environment, the food chain, responsibility, ethics, safety, and many other things connected to fishing. We also like focusing on special needs children. We’ve done group trips with many special disability and adolescent organizations. We’ve chartered many kids with Autism, Down syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, Tourette’s Syndrome, blind and hearing impaired, and many other disabilities. Many of these disabled children become regulars of ours. Many times, we must adapt our equipment to fit their needs.

To take a kid fishing whether they’re disabled or not takes a lot of stamina and patients to keep them focused on the task at hand. We find the best way to keep the kids occupied is to keep their rods bent and drags screaming. Kids will get turned off from fishing if you troll around for hours without a bite, and especially with beginners choose good weather days.

If a kid gets seasick in heavy waves or is rained on all day, it’s difficult to get them back on a boat again. There are many kids fishing camps that put the kids in a classroom setting and teach them how to fish with a teacher writing on a chalk board. We don’t do that at all. We figure the kids are on summer break and they’ve had enough of teachers and chalk boards. We like to get them out in the boat and get them fishing.

Many kids’ camps like to focus 90% on environmental subjects and practice all catch and release. Although we do have lessons on environmental issues and we do teach proper catch and release techniques, we focus more on how to catch the fish, clean the fish, cook the fish, and eat the fish.

That’s right we have hook n cook projects at our kids fishing camp, the kids hook’em and they cook’em! Our motto is to show the kids F.U.N.! F.U.N. Stands for Fishing, Understanding and Nurturing. Some of our other sayings are “Parents don’t frame pictures of their kids playing video games”….. Take a kid fishing for the holidays! Don’t let your kid be the one that get’s away! Happy Holidays!

— For a charter with Captain Joel or Jojo Brandenburg of Ana Banana Fishing Company in Marathon Florida Keys call cell 813-267-4401 or office 305-395-4212 or visit or visit us in person at
Ana Banana Marina located at 11699 Overseas Hwy Marathon Florida Keys.
Look for the big yellow Ana Banana sign with antlers around it.