Capt. Doug Blanton and his son Logan
I was born on Cocoa Beach. With the exception of a few years working as a medic in the service, I have always Lived and fished this area. Over the past 10 years I have averaged 300 days a year on the water. The main reason I guide isn't because I love to fish, it's because I enjoy helping my clients experience catching the fish I've been been catching all my life.
When I was a kid growing up in this area my father had no Idea that when he put a fishing rod in my hand at the age of 3 that he was training a fishing guide. He use to get me out of bed at 4 am and toss my in the truck. Once we would get to our spot for the day he would tell me to be very quiet. He said the fish could hear us walking and if we made any noise it would spook them. At the time I thought this was silly but I know that if I didn't do what he said I wouldn't be coming out with him next time. Today I know that all the sneaking around looking for fish wasn't silly at all. 99% of the fishing I do now is all stealth.
It was my father's love of this sport and willingness to teach me how and where to find fish that has inspired the love I have for this sport today. Though my father never worked as a guide his patients and respect for our fishery are ideals I will never forget. The only thing he bugs me about now is that when he wants us to go fishing together he has to book a day in advance.
When I got out of the service I worked as an environmentalist coordinating efforts with local volunteers to restore our lagoon's shoreline. Most of my time was spent evaluating native vegetation, planting mangroves and working on the removal of exotics trees. As with most people and government contracts the politics became too much for me. At the time I had just got my Captain's License with the hopes of being able to run a trip or two a month to offset the expenses of my fishing addiction. That didn't work out. Within my first 6 months I was guiding full time.
Now I am a full time sight fishing guide. Sight Fishing is one of the most difficult but most rewarding styles of fishing the flats. It is more like hunting than fishing with the exception of using a rod and reel instead of a gun. I pole the boat across the grass flats looking for fish. This is the style of fishing you may have seen people do with myself or others on a few fishing shows. We stalk fish on the flats. There are few things more exciting than sneaking up on a school of tailing reds, making a cast and watching the strike. If you have never sight fished, once you do you may never go back to other methods.
Fishing hasn't always been as good as it is now. Being brought up fishing Cocoa Beach I have watched the fishing go from incredible, to hard to find, to pretty good. In the 50's and 60's this area was known as the Speckled Sea Trout Capital of The World. Because of this title, this area became the target of numerous comical fisherman. This along with the Blackened Redfish craze of the 80's wiped out most of the great fishing we had. But, thanks to CCA's (Costal Conservation Association) efforts in removing commercial netting from our state waters, fishing has improved dramatically. Where you could spend days looking for a single redfish you can now find schools of sometimes over 500 between 5 to 30 lbs. Where you could spend hours trying to find a trout over 12 inches you can now find fish up to 16 lbs. Things are still not what they once were, but with the help of groups like CCA and others we will once again be known as the Speckled Sea Trout Capital.
In 1998 I received a call from Mark Carter with CCA-Florida wanting me to help put a mangrove planting together for their members. We had so much fun we decided to do it every year. Well, NOAA and the Fish America Foundation decided they wanted to help pay for our project to plant even more mangroves. Next thing we knew we were working with fisherman from all over the state planting thousands of mangroves a year. With the help of Mark and a lot of local fisherman I was able to give something back to the waters I have loved for so long.
Today in addition to guiding and being an advocate for our environment I am the president of a non-profit organization that works with people with autism. Our main goal is to help with educational needs and encourage participation in local community programs that benefit our environment. In my off time I'm setting up a program that helps teach people with autism how to fly fish. I just want everyone to have a chance to feel and learn to love the things that have made such a difference in my life.
Mark Carter and myself awarded
"2003 Convervationist of the year" by CCA Florida
|Rocky Randels, The Mayor of Cape Canaveral, handing me an award for planting 1000 red mangroves in Cape Canaveral with our Autism Support Group in 2011. www.ACCBrevard.org|
I feel that this lagoon has given more than I could ever dream. I was born on it, have lived all my life on it and now make a living on it doing the thing I love most, helping people catch fish. This lagoon has given me the best memories of my life, and now I want to help others create a few memories of their own.
Back to my Sight Fishing page
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