By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
CORTEZ – Kathe Fannon’s new office has the view of her dreams - Sarasota Bay, Longboat Pass, the Gulf of Mexico, wherever her passengers want to go.
The fourth-generation Cortez commercial fisherman launched a new charter service this month, Captain Kathe and First Mate Pup-Pup, named for her blond cocker spaniel and chief dolphin-spotter.
Her easy riding, shady, flat-bottomed boat is designed to take visitors on eco-tours to the sandflats to see what sea critters a dip net might turn up. She also offers sightseeing expeditions featuring bird nesting islands, manatees, dolphins and sunsets, as well as recreational fishing trips.
Fannon, 46, is more accustomed to the commercial fishing her father taught her, but she is determined to make a living on the water, despite the gill net ban that strangled the Cortez mullet industry in 1995.
After bait fishing, shrimping, stone crabbing and working with Captain Kim’s Charters as a boat captain, she decided to go out on her own with a boat built by her husband, fisherman Mike Fannon, and friend, Tom Mora.
Passengers can expect to learn fun facts about marine life, the environment, fishing and local history on a trip with Captain Kathe. But the best lesson she offers is how to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the waters surrounding Cortez.
Captain Kathe is berthed at the dock of the Star Fish Company, 12306 46th Ave. W. For more information, call 812-3241 or visit www.captkathe.com.