Few folks are as in tune with our natural world as our local fishing charter captains. A friendly group of captains hang out at MaryBeth Hansen’s Paradise Grill in Nokomis after long days out on the water, including Captain Tom Bailas of TNT Fishing Charters. Captain Tom is eager to invite folks to come out on his 30 foot Grady White and learn firsthand what makes our local waters so special, as well as how to protect them.
“At TNT Fishing Charters, we provide everything,” says Captain Tom. “They only thing our clients need to bring is a small cooler with their food and drinks. We take everyone from experts to novices. My wife, Trisha, is my mate on my boat and she teaches people who have never touched a fishing pole in their lives to fish like a pro in an hour.”
Captain Tom takes his clients up to fifty miles off shore in search of fish. “We catch bottom fish like grouper and snapper,” says Captain Tom. “We also catch fish that feed on the top of the water like king fish, tuna, cobia, amberjack and sharks. What we catch depends on the time of the year. Fish migrate during different seasons and you have to know how to find them.”
Captain Tom knows the health of our fishery is important for our environment and the overall quality of life in our region.
“I love my job because I help people catch the biggest fish they have ever caught in their lives,” says Captain Tom. “I also like to let people know about the importance of a healthy fishery. We have to keep pollution to a minimum and we have to only keep as many fish as we can eat. I let people on my boat know when they have caught enough fish for the day.”
Properly releasing fish you aren’t going to keep is also important. “After you’ve fought a fish for a long time, it’s tired and you need to revive it before you let it go,” explains Captain Tom. “Pull it through the water so oxygen flows through its gills. If you don’t, the fish will unfortunately sink to the bottom and die.”
A love for what he does and where he gets to do it keeps Captain Tom ‘on the fish’ for his clients. “I put people on big fish and get to see them enjoy themselves,” says Captain Tom. “I love showing people a good time and seeing how happy they get when they land a big one.”
TNT Fishing Charters. 941.587.2028. Fishingchartersvenice.com. TNTFishTeam@aol.com.