My first job in Port Canaveral was working as a deck hand on a party boat. It was a great place to start. It taught me how to fish, how to be quick, and I learned customer service. You see, party boat fishing had a little more of a wild west feel to it in those days. I have a bunch of great memories and even better stories from the 8 or so years I worked on that boat.
Like most deep sea fishing boats in Port Canaveral, each day we would take the catch by wheelbarrow to the brag board so the customers can get pictures and it would help to get people interested so they will hopefully book a deep sea fishing trip with us the next day.
We helped all the passengers off the boat and sent them to the brag board where they would claim the fish they caught. Stan and I unloaded the catch into the wheel barrow as usual. It was a decent party boat catch that filled the wheelbarrow. I don’t remember exactly what we had but I’m sure it was a few groupers, snappers, and stringer fish. I do remember one large king mackerel. Its tail stuck out the side of the wheelbarrow a good ways. In order to get the fish to the brag board we would have to navigate a narrow walk way behind the Grill’s Restaurant & Tiki Bar. The walk way is lined with tables for customers of the restaurant to enjoy the great outside dining experience and unique atmosphere of a restaurant located on a dock with deep sea fishing boats. On this particular day a few restaurant patrons got an experience alright. It was the same everyday. I pushed the barrel and Stan cleared the way. He would yell ahead “Coming Through” “Tuck Tight” ‘Watch Out!”. Every now and then a chair would get bumped but never any major mishaps. That big king fish tail was sticking out and well they didn’t tuck tight. I had some momentum going with this barrel of fish and the tail catches the side of this lady’s white dress and it looks like someone took a black sharpie marker across it. I adjust a little and the barrel catches the the rail at the waters edge and a guys chair at he same time. I come to a abrupt stop and fish go everywhere totally clearing everything off the guys table. Food, drinks, and fish are on the ground and in people’s laps. The people at the table are covered. We quickly pick the fish back up and put them into the barrel. The guys whose chair we hit is just looking at us like “what the heck.” Stan says “damn buddy I told you to watch out!”. We then go on our way like it was their fault. The look on those peoples faces still makes me laugh to this day. I’m sure they also still tell the story, and I’m sure they got a free meal out of it. Not much has changed in Port Canaveral, the picture attached is the same place the story took place. Come to check out the catches between 4 or 5 p.m. everyday. Grab a fresh fish sandwich and a seat. Always be on guard for a bit more than what you paid for when it comes to a fresh fish sandwich.