As an 11-year old boy in Boca Raton, the biggest, best and only fishing tackle shop was on Palmetto Park Road, one block east of the bridge over the Intracoastal. Bill Kane owned that shop and he called my mother one day and asked if her son could work for him that summer. His wife was sick and needed help. He offered to pay $1.10 an hour, and the next day my full-time job started and as of this writing, from Boca Tackle to now Custom Rod and Reel in Lighthouse Point, I have worked every day of my life in the retail fishing tackle industry.
Everyone says the same thing about how fishing was back then. For what It’s worth, the kids of today know a whole lot more than the adults of 30-50 years ago. They have learned how all types of fishing has become better, we now practice catch-and-release to preserve various species, there are closed seasons and limits on size and quantity, all of which make it better for everyone. Snook are thicker, bigger and more plentiful, sailfish are no longer stuck up on a rack for pictures as before, and we used to smoke
everything with the big kingfish, but no more. Those days are over. One thing we do have is a lot more small-boat tournaments all along the Florida east coast and west side, as well as in the Bahamas. If you have guests coming to town, we all can say go out to 90-120 feet of water, use live bait before the tide change, and you will catch a half dozen kingfish, even a wahoo, and be home by noon. Again, do not kill them unless you are
eating them. We can go to the Palm Beach Inlet on the fist full moon on the start of the outgoing tide and catch 30-50 snook in a four hour period. Again, catch and release.
We now can tell when, where and how to catch 90 percent of the fish we want to catch, based on winds, tides, moon phase, tide changes, and water temperatures. Nothing has changed. In 1976, I wrote a two-page spread like this in the Boca Raton newspaper calling for the ten hottest spots to fish in Boca Raton. Guess those are still the ten hottest spots and methods to catch fish the same way, same places, 40+ years ago.
The kids of today are learning and teaching us adults more and more every year. Stop in the shop if you are a true old-timer, or new-timer. I have all the old pictures and a book I wrote “A Net Full of Tails,” with a lot more stories. Like I said, I have been in my shop here 43 years and before that in Boca for 17 years. We say we have been there, done that, long before the kids of today even dreamed about it or thought about it. As Tiger Woods says, I play to win; catching is hard, fishing is easy.