One of the best things about fishing is sharing your experience on the water with others. It's just something about the thrill of a catch that unites and connects us in a special way. This fact was reinforced when I had the pleasure of exploring the waters of Estero Bay in southwest Florida with Top Mom winner Simone Traverse and her family with Captain Alex Dolinski.
The Take Me Fishing sweepstakes trip took place in the first week of January from Fort Myers Beach. We had warm weather, sunny skies, and a family of four from Texas ready to start a brand new year on the water.
Watching the Traverse family hug a series of saltwater premieres was the perfect reminder of how fishing brings people together. When you remember your first fishing experiences, it feels like you want to read about the memories Simone, Garrett, Max (age 10) and Mati (age 6) made while wetting a line in Florida.
- Max and Mati got to know the advantages of circular hooks as well as the correct handling of fish for catching and releasing. With shrimp being the saltwater bait of choice, both children fell in love with the crustaceans as they circulated in the habitat. Two of these shrimp even received the high honor of being clearly identified and referred to as Mike and Sarah.
- Mati started making waves early by catching her first saltwater fish, which was an exceptionally acrobatic ladyfish. She clearly had experience handling fish because she proudly displayed her catch with a firm grip, big smile and little support.
- About halfway through the morning, a Jumbo Crevalle jack grabbed Max's leash and ran a long, hard run straight into the mangroves. After some coaching from Captain Alex, Max brought his huge jack to the boat. This was without a doubt one of the most exciting moments of the day!
- The last fish on the Traverse family trip was a redfish (red drum) that Max caught near an oyster bar. After the fish was brought on board, he and Mati quickly measured the catch before it was released. Max made sure that the fish was handled with the utmost care. It was fantastic to see the next generation adopt a conservational mindset.
- Both Max and Mati had the opportunity to get behind the wheel under the watchful eye of Captain Alex.
As the 21-foot boat headed back to the marina, Simone mentioned that the family love to fish bass on local lakes and ponds near their home in Round Rock, Texas. The only thing stopping them from fishing together more often is finding the time with busy school and work schedules. You really appreciated this opportunity to create new fishing memories without the distractions.
Don't forget that you can always find a suitable family fishing spot near you by taking advantage of the boating and fishing spots. Tight lines and have fun fishing!