August 17, 2015
The second half of the my journey across Florida was a great way to finish my fundraising efforts for Catch a Cure. On this adventure every pound of fish caught meant one dollar donated by Buff to the Melanoma Research Foundation. And Part 2 of my trip was every bit as exciting as Part 1. The trip ended with me getting to sample some of Florida's favorite sportfishing.
In total, we finished with nearly $500 raised for the MRF between fish caught, T-shirt sales, and donations from anglers all across Florida. The foundation page can be found here.
Check out the journey and how this amazing saga ended.
There's nothing more rewarding than seeing young anglers get in on the fun while staying sun-safe. Here Connor Cato holds up a three-plus-pound largemouth he caught near the St. Johns River in northern Florida.
Cato was fishing with guide Steve Niemoeller
. when he took this big largemouth on live bait.
Cato's father got in on the action too, taking a few nice fish of his own, like this largemouth caught on the St. Johns
I attended a youth fishing tournament that the guys from Bass Online helped put together. Several sponsors, like Okuma, were on hand to reward the young anglers with new gear if they finished 'in the money. '
Jeff Weakley of Florida Sportsman
was kind enough to get me out on a canoe in a secret Florida bass hole. We held our own, picking nice largemouth bass out of weedy areas like this one.
Weakley put on a clinic, picking more than his share of the bass despite the hot weather and boat problems.
Hopping a headboat in the Keys was a great way to get other anglers, of all types, sizes and ages, in on the cause. This fish didn't make the cut for the cooler, so it had to go back, but even these smaller fish made for a fun day on the water.
Kingfish, like this monster, added enough excitement for the whole crew aboard the boat. This fish weighed in at more than 20 pounds.
Kings were around in good numbers on some of the spots we stopped on. You couldn't help but put down your rod and wander to the side of the boat where one was being fought. Here a first mate holds up one of the better kings that came aboard.
Back at the dock the fish were on display before they went under the knife for dinner. This woman struggled to show off her catch once we hit dry land.
Another big kingfish was taken out of the cooler for everyone to see once we were back at the docks.
Most importantly, we got everybody "buffed up"
and more sun conscious. These lucky anglers went home with Buffs to sport, and save their skin, on future fishing trips.
Snapper were the main target aboard the Fort Pierce Lady, and several fishermen took home their dinner's worth for a few days. The mates cut each fish in a distinct way so that back at the docks, they could be handed to whoever caught them. ('Two on the throat! ')
It was good to see anglers like this one already sun conscious and staying safe. This guy did not need to be told about sun safety, he already knew the drill.
A few grouper, although they had to go back, got drags singing aboard the Fort Pierce Lady.
As for me? I picked smaller fish throughout my trip but none for the frying pan. It was more rewarding to see other anglers on the big kings, I knew I'd have my chances down the road.