The Summer School of Fish was launched in 2004 by Capt. Mike Puller after realizing that unless a family had the means to afford their own boat, the chances of any kid, even living in South Florida, having the opportunity to experience the joys of boating, the thrill of sport fishing, and the respect and awe of our waters, were slim to none.
So, by spreading flyers and purchasing radio ads, Capt. Mike hoped to attract enough kids to get the camp off the ground. The four-week-long sessions of camp were completely booked up within days. The goal was not only to take the kids fishing, but to teach them everything about the process, including knot-tying, cast-net throwing, line casting, anchoring, fish location, species identification, and even lessons in maintenance of fishing gear. The idea being that, with this experience, they could then go and do this on their own.
Within two years, relying on word-of-mouth alone, the camp was running a full eight weeks and other boats were hired to accommodate the demand. To date, over 600 kids have participated in the Summer School of Fish. Campers have recorded countless catches, hold two IGFA world records — some have gone on to acquire jobs on charter boats and privately owned vessels. A few have even had success in the region’s biggest fishing tournaments. But all have gone on with a new-found love and respect for the sport and environment.