“Bad To The Bone”.
That was the theme of our 2023 Higher Calling Wildlife expedition to southern Florida.
The mission was to take 14-year-old Jerry Gibson on a conservation/fishing/photography adventure and to highlight the importance of seagrass flats that produce world-class sportfish like bonefish.
“Bad To The Bone”.
Biscayne Bay is the stunningly beautiful ecosystem in the shadow of Miami. Jerry told me his dream was to catch a shark so Capt. Mo took us out on the Atlantic side of the bay in the same location I caught my first bonefish with him in 2021.
It didn’t take long to connect with sharks in the beautiful clear waters. Jerry fought a bulldog-like nurse shark for about 10 minutes and achieved his ultimate angling dream.
He ended up catching another, slightly smaller nurse shark and marveled at seeing other nurse sharks, a bonnethead and a large southern stingray swimming around the boat.
Bajio graciously provided Jerry with a pair of sunglasses that were a real trip highlight for him. He told me he loved how they allowed him to see things in the water he never dreamed of being able to see.
Capt. Mo talked with him about the bonefish, permit and tarpon anglers come to pursue there and he left the bay with a feeling of achievement and inspiration.
We went down to Marathon Key and took a helicopter tour that showed the seagrass flats from a whole other perspective. He got to see the prop scarring from boats and saw two manatees, some dolphins, a couple of massive stingrays and an even more massive loggerhead sea turtle.
Higher Calling Wildlife seeks to mentor teens facing special challenges to become wildlife conservationists. Photography was a big part of our trip that we will cover in another post and Jerry has committed to using photography to aid conservation awareness.
We will be sharing more from this trip soon including Jerry’s photography from The Everglades and Big Pine Key.
Would you like to help other teens have experience like this? We will be doing expeditions in Colorado and Tennessee this fall and are already planning Florida for 2024.
We believe that we are creating a NOW generation of conservationists and letting them know despite challenges great things can happen in their lives.
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