On the Hook 2

Reel Adventure with Dave Dunlap

When I pulled up and saw the boat named “War Fish,” I was already impressed. The crisp blue vessel displayed a picture of two angry fish wearing armor facing off against each other. It let me know this trip on the water was going to be thrilling. But my day of excitement was simply beginning. Captain Dave Dunlap, the owner of Davey Dee’s Charters, took me on a private fishing expedition for about seven hours. Over the course of the day, he ferried me to several different sites to catch a variety of fish. Along the way, we carried on fantastic conversations. During our talks, he gave me a fascinating history lesson about the waters and islands in the area. He did this because, in part, he’s a history buff. It’s also something he does to differentiate himself from other charter boat captains. I found out that he has an insatiable love for his family first. After that, it’s animals, mixed martial arts, and as you may have guessed, fishing.

The former tournament fisherman has parlayed his abilities and success into making sure the guests on his charter boat enjoy the thrill of reeling one in. The Indiana native moved to Florida 14 years ago, and thrives on providing his clients with the charter fishing expedition of a lifetime. He definitely did not disappoint on his credo.

I hadn’t been charter fishing in over a dozen years, so it took me some time to get back into the rhythm. Dunlap aided me throughout the day, advising me in an encouraging fashion. He may have even been more pumped up than I was when I landed my first snapper.

The real rapture came when I was taken to a small cove where no one else was fishing. There, I reeled in a 27-inch long Redfish. The sucker gave me a heck of a fight, and I nearly lost him. Dunlap and I gave each other a high-five, and the sensation of bringing in a fish of that size and strength provided me a momentary feeling that I was a true angler.

When we made it back to the dock, Dunlap cleaned my catches. Then, he took me to a local restaurant where the cooks prepared the fish for us. We ate a very tasty meal and conversed about even more things. When I got home, it hit me—I didn’t just get an extraordinary aquatic journey which won’t soon be forgotten. I gained a new friend, as well.