We started the New Year out right  for 2011 & headed out on the water. It was a beautiful calm & sunny day here in Southwest Florida. The kids are a bit young for serious fishing, but they did a great job- every one of them hooked, caught, & released a fish. Two Redfish and a Speckled Sea Trout – to be exact.

It’s a proud moment for me to be able to share the passion I have for fishing the saltwater flats in the Gulf with my 3 sons. (And their mother, of course- btw- women most often make great anglers and my wife is no exception- more on that topic later…)

As a father, I believe one of the best things I can ever do for my children is to stop and take the time with them as a family- enjoying nature and each other- in the great outdoors.

Just about anything sporting you can do while spending time with your kids is a great experience, for them,but I happen to be partial to saltwater fishing. The extra family time is a terrific bonus. Uh, I mean– it’s the family time that takes precedence- and the potential for catching fish would be an added bonus. (That was a close one).

But seriously, when we are out on the water, I have a captivated captive audience with my boys. They are curious and interested in what is going on around them. It makes for some great teaching moments & memories that I hope they will take with them throughout their lifetime.

I’ve had to adjust my attitude  my thinking a tremendous  just a bit, to accommodate three young boys on a boat. When you are fishing the saltwater flats of the Gulf- a lot like fishing in fresh water- a certain amount of care in NOT STOMPING AROUND must be taken in order to sneak up on the ever elusive Snook or Redfish.

That can be a challenge on a bright sunny day in pristine clear water under the best of circumstances – when you factor in  5, 6, and 9 year old boys – it becomes downright  frustrating comical.

The boys sort of tried  did their best to keep quiet, and I stopped getting aggravated   remained ever patient & soon enough – we heard boy #2 holler the coveted phrase- “Fish On”! And, to my amazement his credit, my 6 year old son didn’t jerk the line, nor did he allow too much slack. He actually listened calmly and steadily pulled back and reeled down until the mighty Redfish gave in and conceded the fight.

As a Captain, I was truly impressed – as a father, genuinely proud. But, it doesn’t appear to be just a fluke. The senerio was repeated when my 5 year old brought in a good sized Speckled Trout, and then my oldest who wouldn’t let me help singlehandedly landed a nice Red.

What a way to start the year! If it were Tarpon season, we could have gone for a grand slam! Well, technically that would be a Tarpon, Redfish, Snook, and a Trout- but after this outstanding family fishing adventure- I can see the potential looming just ahead on the horizon.