Stuff About Me
Over the past twenty eight years I've guided in literally all of the major "all tackle" and fly fishing tournaments throughout the Florida Keys, Biscayne Bay and Everglades. Although my anglers have won or placed in many of these events, I'm quick to point out that tournament fishing can make a much better angler or guide out of you, forcing you to make quicker decisions, maximizing every second on the water. However fishing as a competitive sport is not for everyone and at times it can be too restrictive regarding the tournament rules such as fishing times and geography, taking away from the quality of the fishing experience. Furthermore, I'm not convinced that the ever growing number of tournaments is good for our resource. I think that the essence of the sport is not always to catch greater numbers and bigger fish than the other guy, but to enjoy the experience, the solitude, learning something new, providing opportunities for my anglers and returning to the dock relaxed... without the self imposed stress that accompanies competitive fishing. After all, it’s just fishin!
I was born in Evanston, Illinois, my family moved to South Florida when I was four years old. I grew up here attending Ponce De Leon Junior High and Coral Gables Senior High School. Later at Miami Dade Community College and the University Of Miami, I majored in music while playing with some of the best rock n' roll bands in the City of Miami such as the Rhodes Brothers and the First Impression. However as a young man, a career in music was not to be – at least for the time being.
As a child and teenager I had two passions; I was musically inclined and I loved to fish with my mom and dad, two brothers and my sister. Back in the sixties and seventy's, South Florida was a playground for any kid who loved to fish, and still is. My Father was a banker and my mother was in real estate, buying homes and fixing them up as a business for resale. We moved around Dade County a lot. Nevertheless I was lucky to always live on the water; the Coral Gables Waterway, Biscayne Bay, numerous inland lakes, and Florida Bay in the Keys. Fishing in salt or fresh water a passion in my life and in my fathers. He was an avid fisherman and if my dad wasn't working, he was taking us fishing. I'll never forget that and hope to be as generous and patient with my time for my own children as he was with us.
In 1962 my parents bought a home on Plantation Key (now part of the Village of Islamorada) and have maintained one in the Keys since then. When most kids would be learning to ride a bike I had my own boat. My mother always wanted me to stay within eyesight of the dock. However, when she wasn't paying attention - I was gone; exploring the far corners of Florida Bay and the Everglades. For me, two-week grounding meant exactly that. No more boat!
Later in the 1970's, my parents bought one of the historic homes in Stiltsville so named because of homes being built on pilings on the shallow flats of Biscayne Bay. When the home was not occupied I would sneak in with friends, totally against my parents rules. Once, the Coast Guard was called by a concerned neighbor about "visitors" and I was caught. Of course I was "hard aground" for another two weeks. My enthusiasm for fishing would frequently get me into a lot of trouble. When I was a teenager, I spent quite a few long dark nights stranded on a flat, or stuck up a tidal creek full of gators and mosquitoes. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. It has given me a rich understanding and respect for the local waters and wildlife. The Stiltsville home is gone, lost in Hurricane Andrew, and the future is unclear for the remaining homes. Now I only get in trouble when I don't spend enough time with my wife Eliza, my daughter Eliza Leigh and my son, Ben. We really have a great lifestyle.
After I married my wife. Eliza, we spent several years on a farm we purchased in Western North Carolina growing Christmas trees, raising horses and chickens. In fact our first date was on horseback atop the nearby Rich mountain in Moses Cone State Park. There in the high country in 1984 with my friend and partner Sam Houston, we formed the Blowing Rock Guide Company. We Specialized in fly-fishing, technical rock climbing and outfitted horseback trips, becoming at that time the only local outfitter of its kind. It was at that point in my life that I knew I was destined to be a guide.
Additionally, I was always fascinated with computers; the year was 1985 when I bought my first PC, the Tandy 1000. Fast forward to around 1994 and by that time I had heard a lot about websites and was interested in having my own. There weren't too many web designers around back then so I decided to give it a go myself. I started with Microsoft Front Page, then went on to learning HTML and even taking some courses. I went on to use Dreamweaver as my main web design platform and used it for custom coding. From about 2008 to present I started using open source content management systems such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla which incorporates the use of PHP coding. I prefer working with Joomla platform for building sites from scratch however I also work with just about all CMS's these days including forums, blogs and social media customizations.
Today, aside from my music and coding websites, "my day job" is specializing in fly-fishing for tarpon, bonefish, permit, snook, redfish, largemouth and peacock bass. Although I promote fly-fishing and is my first fishing method of choice, I would be the first to tell you not to "marry" the fly rod. Remarkably, the more experienced angler will quickly switch back to spin or plug tackle when the conditions or logistics are not favorable for fly-fishing. Aside from full and half-day fishing trips just about anywhere in the Keys and South Florida, I offer fly casting instruction. I practices an "all release" policy. As for my music career you can catch me on weekend evenings playing bass guitar for the Dana Collins Band performing at the best venues in Islamorada.