When you’re a serious fisherman, you don’t let a little weather get in the way — usually. As I was reminded in last month’s episode of “Rates & Reels,” alongside FSW baseball coach Jamie Corr and our aptly-named guide, Ozzie Fischer, sometimes the best fishing happens just before the storm. But when you start hearing thunderclaps stretch out over the open ocean, it might just be time to head in.
We started the day near Sanibel, hunting with cut bait at Cpt. Fischer’s suggestion for the local school of redfish that had been cruising the area lately. Lo and behold, within just a couple hours, we had one on the line. After he put up the fight of a much bigger fish, I finally managed to drag the hearty redfish aboard. He wobbled around in my hands for a bit, but after getting a shot for the camera, we sent the sucker on his way and got back to work.
Well, “work” is a relative term. As coach Jamie and I played the waiting game and stood around with our lines in the water, we, of course, talked about baseball. I could have sat chatting about the sport all day, but before too long, it was time for me to drag another redfish kicking and screaming onto the boat. “Looks like another good redfish on the Tim Hart fishing show,” joked Cpt. Ozzie. But hey, I have to say that it was! Still, I almost felt bad. “I’m not being a good host, so far,” I said. “Coach Jamie’s caught a catfish, and I’ve got two reds — no more lines in the water for Tim.”
Luckily, coach Jamie hooked his own monster red within about an hour. Let’s just say that quality won out over quantity, here. This guy was so big he escaped from Jamie’s grasp just before we sent him back into the water.
Of course, it wouldn’t be “Rates & Reels” without our trademark 3 Questions segment. For this episode, I met up with coach Jamie at the City of Palms Park right here in downtown Fort Myers. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a guest as eager to answer my questions as coach Jamie was.
My first question was about what coach Jamie thought of the classic divide between year-round baseball players vs. multisport. “When you’re talking about creating the well-rounded athlete, I think multisport is the way to go. It gets kids in a competitive atmosphere year round, which you want, but it also introduces them to other sports and lets them meet other kids, which I think is so important.” He continued, “You need to hit a baseball every single day of the year. But you don’t need to throw a ball every single day of the year.”
The second came from viewer Derek Hoines: “At what age do you start recruiting players, and what do you look for?”
“Being a junior-college coach, we start recruiting a lot later than other programs,” coach Jamie said. “We come in the picture for three kinds of kids: (1.) the athlete who is not quite at the ability level to play at the Division 1 school they want to [so they come to us to get their ability up to snuff]; (2.) the D-1s really want that young man, but he just didn’t get the grades. So, they need to come to us to get the academics in line to where he can qualify for the Division 1 scholarship; (3.) and the one we really love to go after is the bona fide Division 1 player who gets even better and has pro aspirations.”
I asked my last question from a personal standpoint as a Little League coach. What advice did coach Jamie have for us Little League coaches to help our kids? “First and foremost … you’re the most important coach in these kids’ lives. You’re No.1 … the Little League coach needs to be more in tune with developing the athlete on the baseball field with his fundamentals.” He continued, “Don’t worry about winning … develop a modality where you’re focusing on the quality at bat.”
Back on the water, coach Jamie and I closed out the day in a different spot, racing to see who could catch the most mangrove snappers. In the end, the count ended at 7-4, me versus Jamie, which might make it sound like I won the competition — until you take a look at Jamie’s second and third fish, which were two of the most gigantic snappers I’ve ever seen.
All in all, it was a fantastic time with two great guys. Coach Jamie fought the fish valiantly, and Capt. Fischer stayed true to his name and put us on the fish like an animal. A big thanks to everyone involved. Until next time, wishing you low rates and tight lines!