Brock the Rock
Her name was Lisa and she was interested in taking her grandson Brock and husband Shawn out to the Dry Tortugas National Park and had lots of questions. She was a bit concerned about the intensity of the trip and how Brock would handle the two days on the Premium Time. I explained that we could choose our weather and be certain that the best conditions were available or we would adjust the dates a day or two either way to keep it kid friendly.
The morning of the trip came quickly and the introductions were made. As I shook nine year old Brock’s hand I noticed the stout and capable nature of this young boy right away. He reminded me of my sons before they had facial hair. The best part of our story as charter captains is the special people we get to meet.
This trip was going to be memorable I could already tell. We departed from A&B Marina in Key West and made a straight shot to the first break south of the Marquesas in 300 feet of water to work the bluewater on the way westward towards the Park. As Capt. Seth was laying out the spread Brock started asking questions. “How far back do you set the lines when we’re trolling?” he asked. Seth responded, “I count as I let them out so I know that they are staggered”. Brock asked “Why?” to which Seth responded, “So when we make a sharp turn we don’t tangle. Every line is at a different count”. That was it! That’s all Seth had to say and the starboard line sets were now Brock’s self proclaimed responsibility. His counting was perfect and in between the blackfin tuna, bonito and dolphin bites, he methodically reset the lines from the riggers to the flat seamlessly.
Our last dolphin came directly over the deep ledges we would be working at the depth of 250-300 feet of water due south of Loggerhead Key. We changed methods and started the bottom fishing routine. As the first drift was made, Seth continued the instruction with Brock in a very comfortable synergy that would build stronger the entire trip. These two were alike in many ways and were now working the deck like partners.
Hand cranking fish from deep water is exhausting for most adults, at nine Brock was inexhaustible. As I worked the helm, Shawn explained that Brock has been glued to his Dad’s hip when it came to fishing and has extracted and retained everything much like a math prodigy would do. From knots to tides to technique, Brock soaked it all up like a sponge. Seth no longer tied any rigs or baited hooks for Brock. He was now completely solo on a full service charter boat. When the rod doubled in the deep, Brock methodically cranked until the color of the fish was seen and he then re-baited the hooks for the next drift. Time after time without waiver he continued into the afternoon cranking one and sometimes two fish up from the deep.
Leaving the deep ledge and heading towards the anchorage protected by Garden Key, I wondered to myself about the boy named Brock. I started to visualize him as a famous fisherman prompting the new nickname “Brock the Rock”. He was strong and nimble with incredible intelligence that commanded respect from all of us on the Premium Time.
However, this is not the end of the story... We stayed with the regular evening program grilling fresh fish and vegetables for dinner on the deck while bending the rod on the harbor creatures. Nurse sharks, goliath groupers and tarpon all were there for the game. Brock was eager and ready to take the rod on an oversized shark right away. At just over four foot tall, he had a way of leveraging the rod so dramatically that we were concerned the rod coupled with a 30W Penn International would splinter and snap. Another moment I hadn’t expected to experience. The night harbor fishing session ended with more emphasis on the new nickname for our nine year old. Brock the Rock curled up and passed out.
The early morning sunrise was powerful and pulled the rest of the team out of their bunks for the last stage of the adventure. A shallower ledge just inside the park on the east side would be our final fishing frontier before heading back to Key West.
The light switch clicked and the mad dog eat everything alive bite materialized with teeth. Amberjack eating yellowtails and then getting eaten by sharks emptied spools. Yellowtail snapper well over the flag meter threshold were hastily torqued to the transom before the tax would have to be paid to the big bad wolves on the ledge. Brock the Rock sauntered to the tackle tray and set himself up a toothy exterminator rig and pitched it overboard. Within seconds, Brock was in his snap the rod at the butt pose loaded up to another man eater, giggling the whole time. Brock the Rock was in his element battling the beasts in a place that matched his uniqueness.
You can find more pictures on our website FishMonsterCharters.com of the one and only Brock the Rock. Could he be the next big thing? In my mind, he already is.
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