June From the Helm

Dear Flagler Sportfishing Club Members,
Let me introduce myself and tell you a little bit about me. My name is Capt. Mike Vickers Jr., co-
owner of Hammock Bait & Tackle with my wife, Erica.
I have been in Flagler County from the age of one. I began fishing with my father and
grandparents since before I can remember. My first real memory of fishing with my father was
out on Dead Lake. We had a small, fourteen-foot skiff and I was little enough to fit under the
front bench seat to get out of the rain.
We got up early one morning to go out to the lake to do some fishing and the day started out
great. Fresh doughnuts and milk from the bakery that was on the corner of US-1 and FL-11
(Moody Blvd) then on to the lake. Dad got the boat launched and we went into the bait shop to
get some shiners and worms.
t was now time to go fishing, so away we went. I do not remember what we caught, if we
caught anything at all, I remember it being a great day with my dad.
I won my first fishing tournament when I was five years old. It was at the old Bunnell
Courthouse, in the pond out front. Yes, by the Bantam Chief. I was using an old cane pole and
caught a small bass (it seemed huge to me then) maybe 2lbs. and I received a baseball cap and
a crisp two dollar bill. Man, what a payout!
Since then, I have won many others, even won club money on a regular basis. Who knew you
could get rich fishing?
Once I got a bit older and I was able (allowed) to go fishing on my own, I was never home until
curfew (the street lights came on) and I fished every chance I had. I spent many weekends on
the Flagler pier. There I learned about Kingfish and Tarpon fishing. It is now called trolley fishing.
My first means of gas-powered transportation was the afore mentioned skiff. Just about every
day after school and most weekends, when not on the pier, I was in the skiff. I fished from High
bridge to Matanzas Inlet. When I was able to drive, I spent my summers as a First Mate on the
charter boats in St. Augustine.
When I graduated from High School, I enlisted in the US Navy, where I spent the next 21 years
fishing the world. I have trolled for Sailfish, Marlin and have seen the largest school of
Dolphinfish (Mahi) you could imagine. I could not even begin to estimate the number in that
school. So thick you could walk across them. While in the Navy I obtained my Captain’s license
and started chartering my own boat and fishing tournaments with my father.
I can remember some of those trips (tournaments) with him, we would go out and pre-fish and
talk about life and such, but when it was tournament time there was not much talking. It was all
fishing, “Michael, throw under that dock I just had a hit, Michael, throw over by that oyster bar I
just saw a big Red.” Don’t take this as instruction or coaching, it was talk to win! I would get
home after the trip and Erica would ask me “So what did you and Dad talk about?” I would tell
her “Nothing.” Her next statement has always stuck with me, “You mean to tell me that you just
spent all day on a boat with your dad and didn’t talk to him?” What she did not understand was

that we were FISHING! It happens, if you ever get a chance to see my father and I fishing on a
boat together you will understand.
Once, I retired from the Navy, I began chartering full time in Jacksonville, fishing both inshore
and offshore. I remember a day, years back, when my son was in school and the Cobia run was
on. I decided to take the boat out and chase some of the bait schools hunting for a Cobia. The
boat ramp was about 30 minutes from our house and when I was about five minutes from the
ramp, I realized that I had left (forgotten) my trolling motor at home. You wouldn’t think that to be
a big deal, I did not think it was, at the time.
So, there I am about 800 yards off the beach, north of the jetties on the hunt for Cobia, live well
is overflowing with freshly netted bait and not a Cobia in sight. My time had run out, I had to
pack up and go get the kid from school. On my way back to the inlet I see a large school of
baitfish and decided to go check it out. I bring the boat to neutral and jump up on the seat and I
can see three Cobia circling the bait. Two smaller ones and the one that I am looking for. I throw
a bait in front of him and he knocks it down and eats it. If you have ever had this happen you
feel my frustration. I have enough time for one more shot at him. Perfectly placed cast, bait is
swimming beautifully, I see the Cobia approaching and it is game on. We are now in the battle of
wills. Let’s back up just a minute, remember when I told you that I left my trolling motor at
home? Did I tell you I hooked this slob within a hundred feet of the north jetties? Now let’s fight
this fish, drive the boat, easy, right?
Wrong…center console, T-top, Rocket launcher leaning post and this fish does not speak my
language. Forty-five minutes later, three times boat side, two missed gaff attempts and I finally
have my fish, a 40lb cobia. I do not want to do that EVER again.…. Wait, who am I kidding,
Yeah, I would. Oh, that fish won me fish of the month years ago, and I forgot about the kid, I had
to call my wife to go pick him up.
So, as you can see, I have been fishing these waters and more all of my life, I have now given
up charter fishing and just fish for fun when time permits. I anxiously await what comes next in
life for me, though as I wait, as your club President I am going to do my best with the help of
family, friends, GOD and YOU to make this the greatest FAMILY fishing club around.
Remember the fishing lies start here.
Capt. Mike Vickers Jr.
President Flagler Sportfishing Club

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Flagler Sportfishing Club

Meeting address:
Club 51 at Social Club of Palm Coast
51 Old Kings Rd N
Palm Coast, FL 32137

Mailing address:
PO Box 353383
Palm Coast, FL 32135

1st Thursday of every month

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