I have several memorable fishing trips with my little brothers – Capt Dustin Rapp and Capt Ronnie Rapp. Dustin is 7 years younger, but out of the my siblings he is the closest to me in age. Ronnie is 14 years younger than me. The most memorable trips were when I worked as a deck hand on the party fishing boat and we started to dabble in trolling Cocoa Beach. I am guessing I was about 19 years old. Dustin would have been about 12 and my youngest brother, Ronnie, would have been about 5. We had a 1976 Glaspar tri-hull bass boat that we mostly fished in the Indian River Lagoon. When I started making a little money working as a deck hand, my first major purchase in life was a brand new 90 HP Evinrude motor for that 1976 Glaspar. Previous to that purchase I had pushed and rowed that boat through the river more than I ever drove it.
That summer the seas were calm and the fish were close to the beach near Port Canaveral. This style of fishing was still pretty new to me and I was excited to take my brothers out live bait trolling for king mackerel and to hopefully spot a cobia. I knew we could also catch big jack crevalle, sharks, barracudas, tarpon and bonito. This is a great fishery because we get to stay within a mile of Cocoa Beach and it is a very quick ride back to Port Canaveral, even in the 1976 Glaspar tri-hull. We did several of these fishing trips and every one would start off the same. I would throw and throw and throw the cast net for live pogies that we needed for bait. I would get so angry because I sucked at throwing a large cast net and I would watch other boats get them with ease. I would yell, curse and threaten to go home. This got so bad throughout our adventures that Dustin actually learned to successfully throw a big net before me.
I remember our first trip very clearly, I set a couple lines out to start trolling. I was telling Dusty and Ronnie about cobia fishing and if they see anything brown in the water or something that looked like a shark to let me know. I no sooner get the words out of my mouth and Dustin screams out “cobia” and points. I look over to where he is pointing and there is a pack of 5 or 6 fish just sitting there. I grab the spinning rod and throw the jig, worked it and I was hooked up. Dustin throws the other jig and he is working it like a champ but when the fish charged it he would stop working the jig. He would throw again and work the jig. The fish would charge but again he would stop when they were about to eat the jig. I am screaming “work it! Try to keep it away from them! Don’t stop!” Meanwhile little Ronnie is saying “I want to catch one”. He reels one of the live baits close to the boat and instantly hooks up. Dusty tries again but he cant help but freeze every time a fish is about to eat it. Finally I hand him my rod to fight the fish I am fighting and make the cast myself and get a third fish hooked up. We end up catching 3 cobia! Dustin is cracking up afterwards saying “I would just get so excited that I would freeze up every time I thought the fish was going to eat it”. Ronnie was super happy because he caught a cobia “all by himself before Dustin”. I was super excited because it was almost like running my first charter ever and it was a success. I think we also caught a few king mackerel and sharks that day. What a great day with my brothers!
I have several great stories to tell about that bright orange and green 1976 Glaspar. I am laughing as I am typing this thinking about all my adventures aboard that hunk of junk. There was a time in my life I cursed that boat and wished I had something nicer. Now thinking back, I don’t think I could put a price tag on the memories made and lessons learned because of that boat. My brother Capt Dustin works for me and runs the Tight Work II full time. Capt Ronnie works as a inshore guide for fishing and Eco tours. We don’t really get to fish together all that often. In fact, I cant remember the last time we all went fishing together. When we do get together we share fishing stories, information, talk about our charters and all the funny things that happen. We also tell the same stories over and over. A good pile of those stories took place on that boat. Thank you to my dad in heaven, Greg Rapp Sr, for purchasing that boat for us. It provided so many great memories and time with all of our family. I’m sure everyone remembers their first boat. I hope this blog post makes you think of it and brings a smile to your face. Have a good story, share it with us in the comments!