As a single digit-aged kid growing up in Florida in the 1970s, the inland, inshore, and coastal waters were Mother Nature’s version of a wonderland to me. Florida’s wild freshwater lakes, green grass flats of the inshore, and crystal-clear blue waters of the coast are sanctuaries for countless species of fish, marine life, and birds. I lived for long days of spending time on the water with my dad, grandfather, aunts, uncles, cousins, and anyone else we met along the way. We’d rise every day well before dawn and returned well into the evenings, sun-beaten and tired. We woke up tired and went to bed exhausted.
Every trip had some things in common: we were all completely in the moment, none of us were distracted by the outside world, and we were never in a bad mood. I started every trip upchucking breakfast over the bow. Dad would raise both hands in victory screaming, “woo-hoo FREE CHUM!” and then grab the cast net. A few tosses later, we’d have a well full of live bait. We didn’t always catch big fish . . . but when we did, they were always bigger when we the story was retold. We scratched our primal itch to catch and eat our own food, and we ate like royals. We smelled incomprehensibly foul, but there’s nothing like simple hot water and soap to renew your soul. We’d sleep like a baby dreaming of tomorrow to do it all over again. This was Paradise. This has always been paradise. If you are an avid outdoorsman or fisherman like me, you know that there is nothing better than being on the water, rod and reel in hand.
Being a salty dog teaches you a few things. The elements and water eventually destroy everything they touch. The long days of fishing turned into years of passion, has taught me a simple lesson: investing in sub-par equipment wasn’t effective. It cost not only more dollars and cents in the long run, but even worse . . . sub-par equipment cost us a trophy catch and bragging rights back home. That rod and reel combo you bought from the old five and dime—it is rusted, unusable junk after two trips. It wasn’t meant to last out there.
The quality of the gear we used was a big deal to my family. It didn’t have to be expensive, it just had to be good. It was more than sporting equipment; it became family heirlooms. These rod and reel combos are specifically designed precision instruments that require special care, but that will also last for lifetime and beyond.
Those childhood memories and lessons on the water turned into an adult passion. From that passion, The Florida Angler was born. Whether you are a newcomer or ol’ salty dogs like me, an occasional hobbyist or an every- weekend-die-hard, The Florida Angler is here to guide you and your family to memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you fish coastal, inshore, inland, all of them, or are so new you don’t know yet, The Florida Angler has all your fishing needs at a variety of cost and experience levels.
Quality angler’s equipment doesn’t need to be expensive, but it needs to be good. It should be a functioning work of art to hang your fish on, hang on your wall, or pass down to future generations. It’s an investment in the passion to feed your wild and feed your soul, and if you’re lucky, you might even catch dinner.
Stop wishing, go fishing!