Published On: October 12th, 2023Last Updated: October 12th, 20234.6 min read
Stanley Switlik Elementary School Fish Club – Marathon, Florida
As a parent living on a small island in the Florida Keys being resourceful and utilizing local programs available to your children is a great way to enrich their childhood. In Marathon, Florida, the local elementary school offers an outstanding opportunity: an inclusive fishing club available to every student.
Mr. Bill Eller, the School Health and Wellness Coordinator, leads the school’s fishing club. A few years back, when Stanley Switlik Elementary School underwent renovations, they incorporated an observation dock at the rear of the school.
This area allows the children to fish off the dock, get sun, learn about marine life, and have fun.
We love programs that are positive for the local children in the Keys.
Some of the older children get nominated to be dock captains. Dock captains are in charge of helping the younger children tie hooks, bait their hooks, and safely take the fish off the hooks and return them to the water. Not only that, but they help maintain the equipment. Being a dock captain is a coveted responsibility that gives the younger students something to strive for.
Toward the end of last year, Mr. Eller contacted Main Attraction Co-Owner Katie Lewis, the Parent Teacher Organization Treasurer at the time. He was looking for a local charter company willing to donate a trip as a reward for the dock captains.
Katie and Captain Marty were happy to do so, knowing Mr. Eller runs a tight ship, no pun intended! Mr. Eller requires students to maintain good grades and behavior to participate in these special trips.
At the Main Attraction, we love programs that are positive for the local children in the Keys, especially ones that help foster a passion for fishing!
This past Friday, Main Attraction hosted the students and teachers from Stanley Switlik Elementary School on one of these trips. Among the participants were Mr. Eller, Guidance Counselor Mr. Willis, Resource Officer Reid, and a few lucky students. They joined us for a reef and wreck fishing trip aboard our 43-foot Torres, the Main Attraction.
The weather could not have been lovelier: a light breeze and barely a ripple on the water. The group came aboard, and Captain Marty gave the kids a rundown of the boat. Marty showed them where all the safety equipment was and how to use the fishing equipment properly.
Captain Marty giving the boys the rundown of the Main Attraction vessel.
The crew untied the vessel and were on their way to the reef within a few minutes. Seeing the smiles and anticipation on the children’s faces as the large vessel sped toward the reef was priceless.
Captain Marty pulled up to the first spot and anchored up to start chumming. The Yellowtail Snapper showed up rather quickly, and they looked good and hungry. The kids were super excited, and shortly after the first line went in the water, it was game on!
The Snappers were being hooked one after the other, and they had constant action. After several hours of taking turns and taking photos along the way, they had a nice amount of Yellowtail Snapper for dinner.
Now that dinner was in the box it was time to look for something bigger. What kid doesn’t want to catch a big fish so that they can tell all their friends a good fish story? Well, these kiddos were no different.
The group wanted to try their luck at a large shark or Amberjack, so as Captain Marty motored his way to the nearest wreck, Captain Steve rigged the rods to wreckfish.
Within moments of dropping a bait to the bottom, they had something large on the line.
The kids took turns winding the fishing rod panting and grunting in amazement of how hard the fish was tugging on the end of the line.
After about fifteen minutes of battle, a large Amberjack appeared on the surface. Moments later, a silvery shadow appeared under the fish.
The kids were astonished as they realized a giant shark had chomped a chunk out the tail portion of the fish.
They tried their luck two more times and hooked two more Amberjacks on the line for the kids to reel in again.
The boys had a blast with the bigger fish, but each time, the sharks were faster and got a meal out of them.
A glimpse of the large shark chasing their first Amberjack.
It was time to return to the marina due to the kids’ tight schedules. Once safely docked, the children excitedly shared fish tales and posed for photos with their catch. They also had a great time feeding small bait fish to the resident fish at the dock. It was a memorable day that we hope they will cherish for a long time, and we were honored to be a part of it.
This excursion was a true delight. Mr. Eller emphasized that good behavior and good grades were required for children to participate.
If you have some children you’d like to reward for good behavior and grades consider fishing with our crew! Call us at (305) 289-0071 or visit our contact page to book your next fishing adventure with us.