Baseball and Fishing

by Capt. James Marko

If you’re from the Lee County area then you know every February through March we have the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins spring training in our area. I donate a couple charters every year to help raise money for our local children’s hospital here in Ft. Myers. The charity event where they auction one of my trips is with the Red Sox Organization at a local golf event with the actual players. This year one of the players bid on the trip and won it for almost $3000! When I found all this out, I was extremely humbled. The pitcher who bought my trip was Rick Weems. He brought along Austin Maddox, Trevor Kelly and Chandler Shepherd. If you’re a huge Sox fan like myself you know this will most likely be our whole pitching rotation within the next few seasons. I couldn’t believe how down to earth, good hearted and cool they all were. They wanted something big to go back and show the locker room, so of course I went to my ace fish; the Goliath Grouper. We started the day by targeting jacks because I was waiting for a certain tide for the Goliath to bite. To be honest, this is kind of like living a dream of mine; fishing with Red Sox players. Half my man-cave is Red Sox memorabilia and the other half is fishing stuff.

We were on restricted time because of their practice schedule, so the pressure to get my job done was high. We had only four jacks, one per player is what I said. You could tell these guys were just happy catching snook, jacks and lady fish, but I wanted that trophy picture for them to brag about in the locker room. We rolled up to my spot and it seemed like a perfect storm, not knowing what we were about to get into. I was just hoping for one hook-up, but these guys got all the big girls to eat on all of the jacks. Austin dropped first and hooked into a stud that broke us off after about 5 mins. Shepherd dropped second and had the hook straightening out on him, but a lot longer of a fight. I could tell they just weren’t turning the head of the fish quick enough to get them to give up. TK dropped third, got the fish all the way up to the boat, but the line got tangled up in the trolling motor and snapped. So now everything I was stressing about has become a reality, besides getting poured on. Here I am, wanting to land this fish more than them, so I can have my moment of victory in my mind. I gave every piece advice I had to the biggest/last dude on the boat, Rick Weems. Bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, tying run on third, full count and I’m at bat. I’m not saying I was Big Papi or anything, but boy did we get it done! Rick hooked-up on this stud and once I had the boat in position, I ran up to help him with the fight. We played tug of war for about 10 mins and when she came up I knew I just had my walk-off moment.

We took the fish to the beach to conduct the study I do for Fish and Wildlife, to obtain knowledge on the Goliath Grouper species. After some measurements and a fin sample, we named her “Fenway”. We had a crowd around us on the beach, so I had to get a couple quick pictures, but wasn’t trying to make a scene. After two quick pictures, I let Weems swim the fish off, which he described as “swimming with a dinosaur”. On the boat, we had a moment together on the ride back, going over every single minute of the whole Goliath experience. Well, wouldn’t you know we’ve become best friends it seems, from the experience. I’ve spent this whole spring training hanging out with the team and getting to know them as individuals. We’ve shared a lot of laughs in such a short amount of time, I oughta dominate my fantasy baseball league this season. I guess the moral of this fishing story is, do good in life to help others and you’ll be rewarded with amazing experiences with new friends.

Remember to follow us on Instagram @captjamesmarko & FB for our daily catches. Check out our website as well at for trip information and contact information.