By: Chasten Whitfield
For today’s adventure, 7-year-old Justin is going to be my fishing guest for a day of fishing. Justin has a rare chromosomal disorder that requires him to receive occupational therapy to gain hand strength. My team woke up at 6am that morning to go catch bait fish off the grass flats near my home. We were using fish food as chum and threw cast nets on the many pilchards that were around that are attracted to this chum. Shortly after, we had our live well full of bait fish, and now it’s time to head to the boat ramp to pick up Justin for his day on the water.
Of course, Justin wanted to drive the boat, so we let him steer the boat to the first spot we had our sights on. He drove like an experienced boat captain! We arrived safely at our first fishing spot and dropped anchor up along some mangroves in about 3-4 feet of water. We first took a hand full of the pilchards we caught earlier and threw them near the bushes to stimulate the predator fish to come out and start feeding.
The first fish Justin caught was a lady fish. These fish fight hard and make lots of leaps from the water trying to throw the hook out of their mouths. Justin was so excited that he was jumping as much as the fish, however, he reeled in that fish like a pro. His next cast which was near the bushes was hit quickly and he brought up a small gag grouper that he was ready to hold before releasing it. Justin wasn’t scared of anything and even helped us chum at the next spot we went to catching some jack, trout, and snook in the process. Justin caught a little bit of everything on our fishing trip. We fished the flats, mangrove shorelines, and a few docks. The last thing on Justin’s check list was to drive the boat back to the ramp so that is what he did. We finished the day with a great time, in good company, and a lot of smiling! Be sure to check out our video of this fishing trip on the following link: https://youtu.be/lL5r4EX3ydg