Over 50 boats gathered together on Saturday (Oct 24th, 2015) and took out special needs children and their families fishing. The kids get a hands on, on the water fishing experience from some of the best fisherman in the bay area. Many of these captains give up a day of charters or tournament fishing to make sure these kids get to make a memory of a lifetime. Most of these kids it is their only chance to get on a boat, let alone catch fish. The smiles are priceless!
The Old Salts has been running this special day for over 30 years (not exactly sure of the start date) and has turned into one of the best days any fisherman could ask for. Bob Spinabaldi has been helping the Old Salts organize this event for as far back as anyone can remember. Most of the children come from Walsingham Elementary School and we encourage them to bring their entire family for the experience.
The day starts out at Ft. Desoto Boat ramp and all the boats meet up around 8am. The kids arrive and get checked in and loaded up. Special thanks to ECSAR and the Fire Department for being out to ensure safety for all these children as they board the boats and fish. The boats fish the bay area about 3 hours and most of the children catch anything from Spanish Mackerel, grouper, sea trout, redfish with an occasional Cobia. Certainly the most talked about is the bait, for these children the size of the fish doesn’t matter. The day ends with a cook out of hotdogs and hamburgers, chips, fruit, salad and more. We then have an award ceremony and every kid wins! Trophies and goody bags for everyone.
The joy of this day is so overwhelming that it is impossible not to smile, laugh and carry on the best feeling in your heart all day. I have actually seen grown men shed a tear.
Thanks to all the Captains and fisherman that brought their boats out, volunteers that cooked and assisted on and off the water, Aylesworth Fish & Bait for donating the chum and frozen bait, Bimbo Bakeries for having snacks and goodies for everyone, Sysco for donating all the food, Mirr-O-lure and Team Honda Marine for products for the goody bags. This day wouldn’t be complete without you.