Editor’s Note: Captain Rapp generously provides monthly Space Coast fishing reports Old Salt.
Not sure what to say or where to begin. I am hoping what I write will help others find inspiration & togetherness amongst a time when a lot of us are feeling defeated and alone. I absolutely love what I do for a living and its all I know. Myself like many others in the fishing game are watching our season, our year and quite possibly our livelihood slip away. So many people of all walks of life are in this situation and are worried or afraid for many reasons surrounding this epidemic.
I just recently financed a absolute fishing machine just a few months ago. A beautiful 2010 40ft Sea Hunter that I had repowered with twin 350 Suzuki’s. I had the latest greatest top of the line Garmin electronics installed . I just went and purchased all new rods and reels for tuna, deep drop, sword, live baiting, bottom fishing etc. I didn’t cut any corners because I was sure with the amount of charters I already had on the books that it was going to be a epic year.
A few days ago I am sitting at the house worried and racking my brain on what I can do to keep the business going. I am worried about how to take care of the other captains and crew that work for me. I am praying about it but I am inside my own head and not fully trusting in God to get me through this like I know I should. Just then my youngest Captain Christian Payne calls me and asks if him and a few of our other captains and crew with some buddies can take the boat tuna fishing tomorrow. My knee jerk reaction was to tell him NO, don’t you understand we don’t know when the next paycheck is coming, let alone putting ware & tare on the boat and burning fuel. Thankfully I told him it was ok to go but have everyone throw down on fuel. Christian has been with me since he was a 13yr old dock rat asking to make a couple bucks to catch bait or wash a boat so I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he better enjoy fishing this dream boat while he can because depending on how bad things gets we might not be able to keep it. Right before we hung up I told him to go crush the place and try to break the bragging board down because I have a idea.
They left out early in the morning and I finally get a text in the evening that it was a epic trip and if this doesn’t break the bragging board down then nothing will. I was relieved to hear from them because it was starting to get pretty late. These guys might not be blood but they are family to me. Christian informed me that they were going to meet at 11:00 the next day to take pictures, clean the fish and the boat.
The next morning I texted the guys my idea. I asked them what they thought about giving away the fish and feeding as many families in the community as we could . Keep in mind that these kids (I call them kids but they are now grown men in the eyes of the world) all pitched in their own money for fuel and money is scarce in the fishing business right now. Not one of them even hesitated and all agreed that it was a great idea. I put the offer out on Sea Leveler FB page & IG informing everyone we were giving away fish and instructing them how we would divvy it out in a safe way that would comply with the suggested social distancing guidelines. I am not going to lie, I bit off more than I could chew. My phone blew up with text, calls, FB replies, there were hundreds and I was trying to make a list and check people off as they drove up. We gave away whatever about a 1000 lbs of tuna and mahi yield in under 2 hours.
Now here comes the most inspiring part. We fed a lot of people and that made all of us feel great. I felt bad informing the 100 or so other text and calls that I received throughout the day that I was out and didn’t have any left to give them. Not 1 single person was angry or had anything negative to say. In fact everyone was happy for those that did get some. Later that evening text started coming in with pictures of delicious meals and telling me how they were able to make the fish go even further and share it with neighbors and other family members. Text saying how that fresh fish made their day or how they ran into someone that needed it more than they did so they were happy to be able to pass it on.
Who would have thought that something I take for granted every day like a portion of fresh fish could make a difference. Times are tough for a lot of people right now but remember we all have something we can do in the way of a kind gesture that will help make these hard times a lot better. I also truly believe we can pray and God will answer and provide.
I am very proud of my captains, crew and their friends. I am also very proud of our community. I have faith that my business and way of life will survive this. I will be able to take care of my crew and we can’t wait to get everyone back out fishing here really soon.
About Captain Greg’s Reports and Forecast
Captain Greg has been fishing the waters of Port Canaveral and the Atlantic for over 30 years. He has the largest and most highly rated private charter business in Port Canaveral, Sea Leveler Sport Fishing Charters. Greg and his team of full time captains fish well over 200 days each per year. We have kept detailed catch history for every trip ran since 2010. You can access this history at www.sealeveler.com/reports. His engineer wife, Amber, has analyzed the catch history along with other historical data such as water temperature and weather patterns. Greg uses his fishing experience and knowledge along with his wife’s statistical analysis to bring you the best fishing report available for Port Canaveral. Greg will give you the honest truth on how the fishing has been along with his best prediction of what to expect by using all of this information.Filed Under: Fishing Reports