Tampa Bay Fishing, Capt. Matt, 20 Years
Captain Matt Ercoli, 20 Years and Counting
Well it’s been 20 years for me now; I started my Charter business when I was just 20 and I turned 40 last October, so I guess I can officially say it now. Where those years went I don’t have the slightest clue. When I started this back as a kid I really couldn’t ever image writing a newsletter that started with 20 years. My elders always spoke of how time goes by so fast when you get busy and geez were they ever so right. I would have to say right now more than ever I feel like I am in the prime of my fishing ability. My energy level and ability to stay focused for long hours on the water are as good as they have ever been. My knowledge of patterning and catching fish is better than ever of course with years of experience. I guess more than anything after spending 4,000 plus days on the water, I just don’t make mistakes very often. When I leave the dock I know where the fish are going to be within a few feet depending upon water temperature, wind direction, and the tides. There’s really not any guess work and few surprises these days making my job much easier.
I find the challenging days when the wind is cranking and the bait is hard to catch the most fulfilling. I get a lot of satisfaction from catching quality fish on the difficult days. I love days that Tarpon have lock jaw and only the smallest fraction of the charter captains can get them to bite. I live for the days that separate the best from the very best. When I think about what gets me out of bed every morning at 5am to put on a stinky, wet and slimy rain suit as I prepare to throw my cast net to catch bait, I do it for the challenge. Of course I also like to see the sun come up in the morning, and I like to see the smile on my fishermen’s faces when the hook their first Tarpon. I like watching kids reel in fish and hold one for the first time. I love the fact that I get to spend most of my days outside, which has always been very important to me. I like all of that about being a charter captain, but still what makes me get up in the morning and want to perform at my best despite what Mother Nature has in store for me that day is the challenge. As I get older I get more effective at dealing with the many challenges faced on the water throughout the day, but no matter how efficient I become at catching fish there are always new tactics to learn. I love to challenge myself and live for the feeling that I get from pulling off a good day of fishing under the toughest circumstances. Right now I feel perfectly balanced, full of fishing knowledge, and still youthful enough to execute under the toughest conditions. Maybe I can’t quite take the beating in my tower that I could when I was 25 but I can throw a larger cast net with precision when catching bait better than I ever could.
I want to thank all of you fishermen and many of you that I consider friends after years of fishing together. I want to thank you all for making my dream of being a charter captain a reality and making it possible to wake up to the challenge I live for everyday as I head out onto the water. I hope all of you had a great 2014 and have an even a better 2015.
My spring calendar is starting to fill up as is my summer Tarpon dates. So to everyone I would like to give a heads up to let me know as soon as you have your fishing dates together. I look forward to every day I spend on the water with each and every one of you and the new fish stories we make together.
Capt. Matt Ercoli