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Fishing Report for Homosassa, Florida

Capt. Mike Locklear
February 22, 2000
Homosassa - Saltwater Fishing Report

A Pro-Line Boats "Beyond Fishing" Experience

Last Saturday was a day that I will put a mark down in my history books for meeting and

fishing with a professional baseball player(s). Pro-Line Boats of Crystal River, Florida

invited all the baseball greats that were attending the annual Ted Williams Museum and

Hitters Hall of Fame this past weekend to a fun filled fishing trip.

Dan Atwood, founder of Pro-Line Boats had on board with him Gaylord Perry, a pitcher

of Hall of Fame class who was affiliated with at least 8 baseball teams during his career.

Mr. Perry stopped by and talked a little fly fishing with me. He was a real nice man who

loves his fishing and spends some of his time on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Johnny Walker, general manager of Pro-Line Boats who spearheaded the rights to host

the stars introduced me to Preston Wilson, Rookie of the Year for the National League.

The center fielder for the Marlins batted a .280 average with 26 home runs and 71 RBI’s.

I got a feeling we will be hearing a lot more about this guy in the years to come.

Preston jumped onto the Pro-Line Supersport. This boat is the supreme product of the

company, a 34 foot superstar in its own right of the Southern Kingfish Circuit(SKA)

Two father and sons teams who either bought or won their chance to fish with the

baseball greats also climbed on board. Plant manager, Dave McCoy served as my mate

and made sure the 6 other 34 foot Pro-Lines had all the stuff they needed.

The morning fog was heavy around the Plantation Inn and Dan Atwood was worried that

we might not all make it together to our intended destination 20 miles offshore. The look

was definitely the year 2000 as the 7 triple engine Mercury rigged Pro-Lines’ obeyed the

25 mile per hour manatee zone. With the staff and camera boats, the flotilla was well

over a dozen boats.

Once we all got out past Shell Island, the fog lifted a bit and some muscle was added to

the three 225 HP Optimax Mercurys' and the crew of the Pro-Line Supersport were all excited. Our

sensation was short lived, for the skippers at least, as the fog increased to 200 foot

visibility and the throttles were cut back to safe speeds. I was pretty sure that the leader

of our regatta was GPS and radar equipped. My only job at this point was to follow

closely the wake of the boat in front of me.

Perhaps 45 minutes had passed and all the boats slowed and begin to fish. Preston and I

had a good laugh on the way out as he asked me where all the electronics were on the

boat. I mentioned they were the latest invisible type. He waved his hand through the

spot within the instrument panel and said they sure are invisible. He added, “You can not

feel them either.”

We anchored across from one of the captains of the SKA where the other Rookie of the

Year, Brian Daubach was on board. Brian batted .294 in 1999 with 21 home runs and 73

RBI’s. You will be sure to see more of him as he plays for Boston as a first baseman and

designated hitter.

Around 11 o’clock the fog lifted and the fish started biting pretty good. One of the sons,

who was 11 years old and a former actor was catching the fire out of flannel mouthed

grunts and mangrove snapper. Also some grouper, all undersized were being caught and

released by all the Pro-Line crew.

Dave McCoy woke us all up with a 10 pound gag he caught on squid. Preston had caught

several fish when his biggest of the day, about 5 pounds gave him a good fight. Preston

also missed a few fish and some of us joked “a swing and a miss”. Preston laughed along

with us.

About 1:30 P.M., Johnny Walker radioed on the VHF and said to reel them up, it is time

to get the players back in. The whole crew was waiting for this moment as we knew that

we would do what Pro-Line’s latest motto says, “Beyond Fishing”. For me, it meant

traveling at speeds near 70 miles per hour in three foot seas. The gulf seemed calm. The

boat ran beautifully. At 4000 RPM the Supersport hummed at 50 MPH.

For others, the “beyond fishing” motto meant being able to play your favorite card game

on a beautifully laid out boat called a Supersport 34 without outside interruptions.

The trip was a success. One of the Pro-Lines stayed out late and tore up the big grouper

out in deeper water. I heard they caught about 10 big ones.

Some of the baseball stars like Wade Boggs, was disappointed that he could not fish

because of prior commitments. However, there is always next year.

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