2023 Mission Fishin’ Event
We were privileged to host the Mission Fishin’ charter fishing group again this year. This annual event has become an autumn tradition that we look forward to every year.
For those unfamiliar with Mission Fishin’, it’s a non-profit dedicated to enhancing the lives of children with foster families, disabilities, and special needs.
This valuable organization not only arranges cost-free outdoor excursions for families and caregivers but also offers vital support to local schools. Mission Fishin’ is collaborating to provide specialized equipment for the special needs program at our local Stanley Switlik Elementary School in Marathon, Florida.
Main Attraction annually donates outdoor excursions for these children, their families, and caregivers. Main Attraction Co-Owner Katie Lewis was so moved by the joy these trips provided numerous families over the years that she founded the Marathon Premier Sailfish Tournament, which has raised $20,000 for Mission Fishin’ over the last two events.
It was particularly special this year as charity co-founders Tony David and RJ Boyle bestowed upon us the honor of hosting this year’s fishing trip on October 21, 2023, which marked the official 10th anniversary of this fantastic charity.
When the families arrived half an hour before their 9 am departure, the crews noticed some familiar faces immediately. Several local families we had fished in past years were back again, and there were big smiles all around.
Everyone gathered in a big circle where Tony said a few words and then began to assign each family to a vessel. Each family, especially the children, was excited to get on the water. Earlier in the week, it looked pretty windy, but thankfully enough, the wind had laid down, and the day was gorgeous.
Each family boarded their respective vessels, exchanging pleasantries with the crews. After the Captains reviewed important safety information, each boat departed Marathon Sailfish Marina and headed down the Coco Plum Channel.
There was a slight breeze; the sun was shining, and excitement was in the air. The 49′ Main One with Captain Marty Lewis, 43′ Main Attraction with Captain James Cotton, the 42′ Ben O’fishal with Captain Ben Zdan, and the 32′ Reel Attraction with Captain Steve Fitzgerald all set course for the reef in pursuit of Yellowtail Snapper.
Reef fishing provides variety and fish that are more manageable for young ones to catch.
Main Attraction Co-owner Katie Lewis filled in as a mate aboard the Reel Attraction, our 32′ Seahunter center console. She was able to get pictures for this article as well as her charitable fishing tournament that raises funds for Mission Fishin’. Captain Steve and Katie fished with a family from Key West who had participated in previous years with Main Attraction.
Once anchored, Katie got the chum bag in the water and started throwing oats to make the fish happy. They immediately noticed the current was moving fast, so the fish were far back, away from the boat. To get the bait back to the Yellowtail Snapper, they cut a small piece of ballyhoo filet and encased it in a chum ball.
Byron was up first, catching the first and what would be the largest Yellowtail Snapper of the day. Byron was excited as he regaled the crew of the big cero mackerel he caught the year before and how he was hoping to do the same this year. While it is that time of year, the Mackerel had not shown just yet, but to everyone’s amazement, within minutes of Byron telling his story, guess what was busting on the surface towards their baits? Mackerel!
Byron proudly displaying his Cero Mackerel.
After quickly casting a bait toward the Mackerel, Byron was immediately hooked up to the first Mackerel of the day! It was again a Cero Mackerel, a delicious fish considered the best eating of all Mackerel. After catching a few more, the bite slowed down, so Captain Steve decided to head about a 1/2 mile west to anchor near Captain Ben Zdan on the BenOfishal, who had a large group of fish eating steadily behind his boat. Once anchored up, it was one fish after another.
The boats all did well that day, catching plenty of Yellowtail Snapper, a few Mackerel, and the Ben O’fishal with a nice Mutton Snapper.
Mission Fishin’ Founder Tony Davis holding up a Mutton Snapper caught on this years outing.
Eventually, it was time to return to the marina to take photos and clean fish. Once the boats arrived back at port, the dock buzzed with excitement and chatter about their morning on the water and all the different fish they caught.
It was, as always, a fun and rewarding experience and a joy for all those involved. We look forward to doing the same next year!
If you have questions about Mission Fishin’, Marathon Premier Sailfish Tournament, or Main Attraction Fishing Charters, contact us at (305) -289-0071 or visit our contact page for more information.
Katie Lewis and daughter Natalie.