Stories from the Blue: Will Benson

Stories from the Blue: Will Benson

There’s this great sequence that happens
in tarpon fishing where you stalk a fish and you kind of do this nice gentle
presentation until finally you kind of convince the fish to eat the fly and
you’ve bested it and the result is he gets really upset about, it gets really
mad. So he shakes his head and jumps in the air and he does these series of
jumps and flips and just kind of on cue ejects the fly out of his mouth. That’s the best part about tarpon fishing for me is witnessing the fish win. My name is Will Benson. I’m a Florida Keys flats fishing captain, born and raised here in Key West, Florida. I’ve been a guide for 20 years, and hopefully I’ll be a guide for
another 20. I kind of grew up idolizing the fishing guides, you know the way some
people fall into their profession from being around it,
I think I just fell right into the pinnacle of the sport, fly fishing
for tarpon and permit here in Sugarloaf. Today, like most mornings in the
springtime, we headed out into the backcountry here in Florida Keys
National Marine Sanctuary and I went tarpon fishing. We had Steve Tripp, one of
my longtime friends. I’ve been fishing with Steve for 15, 16 years now so we’re
kind of old hands at this. It’s a bit of a marriage of sorts I guess when you get
with clients you’ve been fishing with that long. It’s kind of weird that a
big old tarpon would eat that, isn’t it? The biggest fish eats the littlest candy. Guiding in the Florida Keys I think is,
you know, it’s a dream job, certainly a dream job of mine. You get to be outside
every single day hanging out with your buddies and friends pursuing
these fish in one of the greatest places on Earth. It’s a joy, a blessing
to be a guide down here. When you think about the fact that a guy can come
out here on the water and he can go catch and release fly fishing for tarpon, bonefish, and permit and pay the mortgage and pay all the bills and put two kids
through school here in the Florida Keys with a sustainable industry, I think it’s
in the sanctuary’s interest to make sure that that stays the case. If we can’t
have it sustainable then the jobs go away. So the sanctuary really comes in to
make sure to guarantee that the value that our community has with this
ecosystem remains steadfast and into the future for my kids and future
generations. Oftentimes you find that the hunters and the fisherman and the folks
that are out there pursuing the game in those places that have the most
respect for them. I can absolutely say 100 percent without a doubt that that is
the case here in the national marine sanctuary in the Florida Keys. 2017 was undoubtedly a hard year for the
Florida Keys but with dedicated, resilient, and passionate people like
Will investing their time and their passion and their energy, the Keys have
already started bouncing back. Tonight I would like to recognize Captain Will Benson from Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary as our volunteer of the year. Being from Florida, it’s been a culture of ours to care about the environment
and so we’ve decided to craft a program that capitalized on the passion and the
love that fishing guides have for that resource and to channel it towards a
sustainable future where we’re partnering together with the sanctuary. And just for a moment guys think about some hundred some-odd fishing
guides who are collectively individual spirits in their own right, not
necessarily wanting to be told what to do, to voluntarily come together and
partner with a government organization to create a sustainable future. That’s a
big deal. We have a responsibility to the next generation to lift up and
to make things better and that’s really where I think the source of my
commitment to the sanctuary and to the Blue Star Fishing Guide program has come
from is that every time that my young son Luke says “Dad I want to go
fishing, I want to catch tarpon,” I’m reminded that I better do my part now to
make sure that that future is available for him if he decides to be a fishing guide. It’s that optimism that I’ve had from having children and from thinking about the future that’s
led to this Blue Star Fishing Guide Program. It’s who we are. You know, all of that lifestyle, that identity that we get, we make our money from
the water, we have our days off on the water, our kids are out on the water. This
is who we are in the Florida Keys. So the fishery and the health of this
ecosystem is absolutely central to us as a community.

local_offerevent_note September 25, 2019

account_box Gilbert Heid


One thought on “Stories from the Blue: Will Benson”

  • I can only state that is vital to us on this are home : Planet Earth ! We need to protect + value Her Health + guard against being apathetic about our responsibility to Momma Earth. The people who do keep the water safe from becoming sick that the alive coral reefs, the mamals like wales, porpose, all of the tuna, sardines, red fish, cod, flownder, lobsters, crabs, salmon, all the living creatures are left to thrive not just exist for our pleasure but everything is connected for a real and healthy, sustainable for our on benefit and again everything IS Connected ! Continue to educate our children this fact life on this planet is very much depending upon our smarting up to understand how we play an important part of taking good care of our environments, the healthy flowing waters that make up most of the earth… Our Blue Planet… Amen .

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