FINTASTIC

Like I said, it's been a killer few weeks and I apologize if I'm bragging too much.

"I still can't believe how lucky I am and I owe it all to my friends in the industry and my position here at BD."

Nearly all of the active players and several retired guys fished in the tournament. We had Charles “Gator” Bennett on our boat, and man did he make me feel small.

miami dolphinsGator is a retired defensive end and he's 6-foot-5 and 390 pounds! I'm 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds. There's a photo with me standing next to him and I look like a five year old. Shaking hands with him was like sticking your hand into the center of a catcher's mitt. He was so big he couldn't hardly get the fighting belt on. But Gator did a great job and I think he really had a blast fishing with us. He caught a bunch of dorado and one bonito that was attacked by a six-foot barracuda right next to the boat. The owner, John Devaney, wanted to tease the cuda up and free gaff it. We almost got it, but the cuda managed to evade our efforts (which may have been a blessing in disguise, but man we wanted to slay that thing!).

Through it all I've waived the BD flag, passed out stickers and hopefully got the website a few more clicks. It's all about growing our community and fostering those relationships. So if I have to go to a few tournaments and media events, then I am more than happy to take one for the team!

Next stop is Fort Meyers, Florida, for the annual Yamaha media event. We'll get to try out some new product and hang out with our friends Chris Fischer and Capt. Brett McBride from “Shark Men.” They've been in the area with OCEAN, their mothership in the series on the National Geographic Channel. They've been filming some of the monster hammerheads that gorge themselves on the tarpon in Boca Grande Pass every year.

CHARLIE LEVINE

CHARLIE LEVINE

Charlie Levine grew up in a boating family and his first introduction to the water came at the age of three weeks old, swinging in a hammock on his father's 26-foot Chris-Craft, the Night Rider. After obtaining a degree in journalism, Charlie was fortunate to combine his career with his passion, and has worked for several boating and fishing publications, including a nine-year stint as Senior Editor of Marlin Magazine. In 2011, Charlie joined the team at BDoutdoors.com as the editorial director. Charlie has fished for both inshore and offshore species up and down the East Coast, the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico. He currently lives in Florida with his wife Diane and tries to get out on the water as much as he can.