A family affairFrom the June 10, 2009 Issue
Ed Chiles enjoys a birthday tarpon fishing trip
off Longboat Pass. PHOTO/RUSTY CHINNIS
Fishing was a family affair for me. My first adventure on the water was with my father along the beaches near Wilmington, N. C. That day laid a lifetime foundation of love and respect for fishing and the value of our natural resources. An appreciation for the natural world and an understanding of the importance of protecting it can become one of the integral life lessons passed from one generation to another. We are fortunate to have many such local families who have shared these values with their children.
The Chiles family, of Anna Maria, has always valued the outdoors. So it came as no surprise that Ann Chiles and her daughter Christin thought that the perfect present for Ed Chile’s birthday would be a tarpon fishing trip. Ann’s search for a guide led her to Anna Maria Island’s Logan Bystrom, son of Bill and Jeanne Bystrom, of Holmes Beach. The senior Bystrom was a board member of the Manatee County Florida Conservation Association (now the Coastal Conservation Association) and was instrumental in laws that have helped to protect the fishery for his son and others.
The Chiles met Bystrom at his dock in Marina Isles on Holmes Beach where he had tackle and bait ready for the day’s adventure. During the day they alternated fishing between a quarter mile and one half mile off Longboat Pass where Bystrom had located schools of tarpon the day before. The fishing was great for the Chiles family. During the day they jumped four tarpon and landed one. Ann Chiles assumed the role of photographer documenting the action. According to Ed, seeing his daughter Christen catch her first tarpon was the perfect birthday present. Ed Chiles, a seasoned tarpon angler, was impressed with Bystrom’s abilities on the water and noted that the five to six other boats fishing the area only jumped one fish. "His tackle was top notch", related Chiles. "I was impressed that he used circle hooks (that help to protect the tarpon), and had an innovative bait well system on his tower that helped him place baits for us."
I had fished with Bystrom and his dad just before tarpon season and was also impressed with how tenacious he was on what turned out to be a difficult day. Bystrom worked extremely hard to find fish for us and by the day’s end made what could have easily been a disappointing trip into a successful adventure. During the day, it was apparent what values father had passed to son and pointed out the value of teaching future generations of anglers the lessons we’ve learned in a lifetime of fishing.
While blessed with a resilient fishery, we must remain aware that of our stewardship of this remarkable resource. Unless we practice and promote conservation and pass on the values of protecting and valuing our waters and the life it nurtures, future generations of anglers may not have the opportunity to experience the magic of our marine world. Teach your children well.