Did you know that in Florida, the “fishing capital of the world,” fishermen outnumber golfers 2-to-1? I’ve been fishing these waters for years now, and I can easily see how getting out on the ocean or even a local canal, enjoying Florida’s beautiful landscape and tackling this unique mental and physical challenge can captivate so many people. For me, it got to the point where it was no longer enough to fish on the occasional weekend, or when I found extra time. My passion for the sport moved me to take it from a hobby to a career. And I didn’t just want to fish. The more I learned, the more I wanted to share that knowledge with others, especially kids like mine, so they would know how to fish responsibly, with respect for the environment and the future vitality of our fisheries.
So in 2008, two years after starting the Florida Fishing Academy as a part-time gig, I closed my construction business and turned fishing education into a full-time venture. Since then, our nonprofit organization has taught thousands of elementary school students in Palm Beach County public schools to use fishing to gain self-confidence, alternatives to drugs and violence, stronger family relationships and, for some, the tools for a possible career in the marine industries. Aside from an instructor and nonprofit executive, I am also a U.S. Coast Guard-certified master captain and a commercial fisherman with multiple federal and state licenses and permits. So whether teaching a class of fifth-graders about circle hooks and catch-and-release, or taking a private fishing charter out of the Boynton Inlet on our custom-built 38-foot Fastwater, or hand-lining a swordfish off a set of buoys, I get to spend every day (and some nights) doing what I love.
Along the way, I’ve picked up some interesting tidbits that other fishermen and boaters may find useful. That’s what I want to do with this blog. Whether it’s a tuna marinade recipe, or a new federal regulation affecting our local fishing grounds, or a report on where the fish are biting, or even video on how to make my favorite lure, I’ll put it all on Capt. Rich’s Fishing Spot. I hope you’ll come back for a visit, tell your friends about it, and if you have a tip or tidbit to share, that you’ll pass it along to [email protected] Fish on!