Icon: Vic Dunaway
Outdoors writer and book author, founding editor, Florida Sportsman magazine, 79.
Then, and I'm sure now, the very best place is Key West, no question about it, because the variety of fish it offered and the variety of fishing situations. You could go in any direction and fish for everything from the shallowest water fish to the deepest.
I also like the west coast of Florida very well. Back when I was writing, Marco and the 10,000 islands was my favorite territory. Now the Withlacoochee River, Cedar Key, occasionally Steinhatchee.
My favorite kinds of fish to catch before I really got into it professionally were trout and redfish. I went full circle. I caught just about anything you could reasonably expect to catch, on any tackle, anywhere in the tropics. And now I'm back to enjoying the trout and redfish.
I've always wanted to write for the average guy, not for the experts. Cooking is the same way -- that plus being lazy. I try to cook as simply as possible.
People think of pompano en papillote as a fancy dish. But it's so easy. It doesn't have to be pompano, and it can be in foil. Just put a few things you like in there, sliced vegetables, some seasoning that you like, wrap it up and put it in the oven, and it's ready in 15 minutes.
The tastiest fish that is also underrated? Amberjack. In the early years of the magazine, we almost begged people to start eating amberjack. Now it's a commercial fish and has had trouble like any commercial fish.
I've tried nearly everything except the ones known to be poisonous, the puffer fishes. I love barracuda but only the smaller ones. They come close to being the very best of all.
There's a level of reel that is all you need. You can buy more expensive ones, but they don't do you any good. In my opinion that level is somewhere in the $100 range.
I use lures. It's partly laziness -- you don't have to worry about catching and keeping live bait if you use lures. Mostly we use jigs. I think you can catch just about any fish using the right jig in the right way.
I'm ashamed of the years when I thought I didn't have a good trip unless I brought home a whole cooler full of fish. That attitude is largely gone now. People are happy with one or two, and they value the experience.
Tournaments detract from what fishing is supposed to be, which is relaxing and enjoyable. You hook a sailfish, that's supposed to be a very enjoyable sport, using fairly light tackle, and you see the fish jump all over the ocean, and you're all excited. But when a tournament boat hooks a sailfish, the captain backs down to it as fast as he can. If he can get the leader in hand in two seconds and avoid all that fight, he scores the catch.
I love to make fun of all of it.
In case you missed it:
- Kiran Patel is a 'Florida Icon'
- 'Florida Icon' Howard C. Tibbals shares life lessons
- Alex D. Brickler is a 'Florida Icon'
- Life lessons from hockey great Phil Esposito
- Lucy Morgan is a 'Florida Icon'
- Donald Goodman is a 'Florida Icon'
- Ed Droste is a 'Florida Icon'
- Ray Ferrero Jr. - Florida Icon
- W. George Allen is a 'Florida Icon'
- Tom James is a 'Florida Icon'
- Patrick Smith is a 'Florida Icon'
- Jerry Uelsmann is a 'Florida Icon'
- John L. Parker is a 'Florida Icon'
- C.C. 'Doc' Dockery is a 'Florida Icon'
- Toni Jennings is a 'Florida Icon'
- Dave Barry is a 'Florida Icon'
- Shaquille O'Neal is a 'Florida Icon'
- Ruth Alexander is a Florida Icon
- Brian Johnson is a Florida Icon
- Florida Icon: Sam Gibbons
- Thomas 'Blue' Fulford
- Icon: Don 'Big Daddy' Garlits
- Icon: Charles E. 'Chuck' Cobb Jr.
- Icon: John DeGrove
- Icon: Charles Gray
- Icon: Harry Crews
- Icon: Burt Reynolds
- Icon: Tibor Hollo
- Icon: Gary Mormino
- Icon: Richard Gonzmart
- Icon: Bob Graham
- Icon: Ward Hall
- Icon: Eugenie Clark
- Icon: Warrick Dunn
- Icon: Arthur Rutenberg
- Icon: Chris Evert
- Icon: Preston Haskell
- Icon: Joseph Kittinger
- Icon: The Fanjul Brothers
- Icon: Romero Britto
- Icon: Steve Raymund
- Icon: Cesar L. Alvarez
- Icon: Juan 'Chi Chi' Rodriguez
- Icon: Gay Culverhouse
- Icon: Gene Leedy
- Icon: William R. Hough
- Icon: Peter Prichard
- Icon: Ed Price
- Icon: David L. Paul
- Icon: Jan Garavaglia
- Icon: Claude R. Kirk Jr.
- Icon: Don Zimmer
- Icon: Kenneth H. 'Buddy' MacKay
- Icon: Dick Vitale
- Icon: Michael Gannon
- Icon: Marcella Hazan
- Icon: Tony Little
- Icon: Wade L. Hopping
- Icon: Edgar Mitchell
- Icon: James Rosenquist
- Icon: Bob Martinez
- Icon: Arnold Palmer
- Icon: Don Shula
- Icon: Mike Peters
- Icon: Margaret D. Lowman
- Icon: Doug Williams
- Icon: Bob Butterworth
- Icon: Fred Schultz
- Icon: Eugene Patterson
- Icon: Harris Mullen
- Icon: Bill Haast
- Icon: Marion P. Hammer
- Icon: Albert Dunlap
- Icon: Joseph Woodrow Hatchett
- Icon video: Joseph Hatchett
- Icon: Talbot 'Sandy' D'Alemberte
- Icon: John Walsh
- Icon: James Robert Cade
- Icon: Nathaniel Pryor Reed
- Icon: Gus Stavros
- Icon: Betty Castor
- Icon: Mary Ann Carroll
- Icon: George Steinbrenner
- Icon: Ferdie Pacheco
- Icon: George Smathers
- Icon: Phyllis Apple
- Icon: Nick Bollettieri
- Icon: Harris Rosen
- Icon: Max Mayfield
- Icon: Carrie Meek
- Icon: Andres Duany
- Icon: T. Willard Fair
- Icon: Bobby Bowden
- Icon: Stetson Kennedy
- Icon: Don Francisco
- Icon: Janet Reno
- Icon: Reubin O'D. Askew
- Icon: Clyde Butcher
- Icon: Willie Gary
- Icon: Wayne Huizenga