Another Thanksgiving, and again there is so much to be thankful and grateful for. My life has been through its ups and downs just like everyone else’s. But overall, my life has been pretty damn good.
This fishing community is amazing. In more than 20 years of working at Fishin Frank’s, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many incredibly fascinating folks of every background. Some I get to see only once on their travels. Others are repeat customers and I’ve gotten to know them well over the years. But I get to share all of their excitement and enthusiasm and some of their lifetime dreams. For that, I’m thankful.
For me, living in Florida, and especially here on Charlotte Harbor, is like a dream. The history, wildlife, and of course the fishing are really unbelievable. I’m grateful for all the fish I’ve caught and been able to check off my bucket list (although that list keeps getting longer).
Fishing with friends and family, watching them enjoying new experiences, is at times so much more fulfilling than catching fish myself. I caught my first tarpon and sharks long ago, but the vicarious thrill I get from seeing someone close to me get their first is almost as good. Plus, by being there and helping make these things happen, I know I’m doing something to pass on a love of the water to others. It’s a good feeling.
I try to stay humble. But deep down inside, I do realize how blessed I am. The people in my life have been so wonderful to me. I know not everyone has that kind of support and backing, and it leaves me in a debt of gratitude to all of them.
My mom is incredible, and my closest friend. She has supported me in my life decisions and guided me through so much. I can never truly express to her how thankful I really am.
Working at Fishin’ Frank’s has allowed so many dreams to come true. The boss man is amazing. He has taught me so much and been there for me in so many ways. Just saying thank you is not enough.
I’m very thankful for my family — both my blood family and my chosen family. Most people have a lot of friends and acquaintances. I’m not any different. But I try to take little for granted and cherish and love those closest to me.
I’m thankful for my girlfriend Christina. She is so kind-hearted, more caring than I probably deserve, and as a bonus she loves to fish. Of course, she’s a better angler than me (most days, anyway). Thanks for everything.
I’m also grateful to all of you who have been reading my column for years. Many of you have come into the shop and told me how much you enjoy it. I’m really happy to be able to do it, and I’m also thankful that you’ll let me write an occasional column like this instead of always focusing on fishing info.
Cherish your family and friends. In the end, they’re what really matters the most. Having people who care about you is a precious gift, so show a little gratitude for it. Enjoy this amazing Harbor and go catch some incredible fish with the ones you are thankful for.
Robert Lugiewicz is the manager of Fishin’ Frank’s Bait & Tackle, located at 4425-D Tamiami Trail in Charlotte Harbor. Call 941-625-3888 for more information about the shop or for local fishing info, or visit them online at FishinFranks.com.