I was able to share a great day on the water with the family and a good friend over the weekend. The trip started out of Weeks Fish Camp where a nest full of ospreys hollered at us the entire time it took us to launch the boat.

Our first stop was to pick up our friend Scott at the Big Carlos Bridge, as he couldn’t spend the whole day with us, and it’s a good central location for a quick drop off. With everyone on board we headed to the beaches of Lover’s Key in search for bait, where Scott loaded the livewell for us in 2 throws of the castnet with medium sized threadfin herrings. Our plan for the morning was to search the nearshore waters for tarpon and sharks. As we started the search, the wind had picked up more than I wanted, as did the waves, and I almost turned the boat around. Instead, we persisted through the light chop and the crew spotted diving birds. I positioned the boat to drift through the surface activity with the threadfin herrings for bait.  We finally get a good bite and I hand the rod off to my boy, and the battle is on, with the 20# braided line peeling off the reel rather quickly.

Kolton is all over it, but starts to get nervous when the backing line becomes visible on the reel. I tell him it’s up to him and he’s got to stop the still unknown fish on the other end, as I edge to the helm in case we have to give chase. With that he digs in and leans back putting all the pressure he can into the 7’ rod, and the fish stops taking drag. He does a great job of pumping the rod and has the fish back to the boat in no time, where we finally see a respectable blacktip shark on the line.

Another run at the boat, around the motor of course, almost pulls Kolton into the water, but he again does a great job of holding on to the rod, and he leads the line from around the outboard to finish the fight. The second I grab the shark and swing it into the boat, it finally bites through the fluorocarbon leader, lands on the deck, and sends everyone scrambling. This is the first shark Kolton has caught by himself and he couldn’t be prouder, as we all were. Although the shark was a perfect eating size, the angler always gets the call, and Kolton immediately wanted to release his fish. I quickly grab it and we pose for a couple of pictures before we send it off to fight another day.

We didn’t have much action after that, but our day was made with incredible smiles, and another adventure and milestone under our belts.