A true story written by Steven Croy, the Broker of Reel Keeper Realty …
It all started with me and my absolute love for being on the water…mainly boating and fishing. Since my family did not own a boat while I was growing up in South Florida, I would fish from land in ponds, canals, and even in areas within the everglades swamp.
When I was around 10, I was very lucky that my father introduced me to offshore fishing. He would take my sister and I to the Florida Keys where we would camp at the KOA Kampground located in Fiesta Key and my father would rent a boat at BUD-N-MARY’S Marina to take us fishing.
We would go out to the inner reefs of the Atlantic Ocean and catch all kinds of reef fish like Grouper, Snapper, and even a Mackerel or two. It was on these trips with my father that my passion for Salt Water Fishing evolved into what it is today.
In 1989, after returning to South Florida from my U.S. Air Force enlistment -I was able to purchase my first boat, a 19′ Center Console. During the time I was going to college to get a degree, I would use this boat to fish off of Ft. Lauderdale and even moved onward to a larger 21′ SeaCraft. It was during this time of my life fishing from my boat, that made me realize how much the time on the water with my Father had influenced me. I began to dream of the day that I would be able to share some of those same memories with my children when they got old enough to experience the joys of being on the open ocean.
After relocating to Jacksonville in the mid 90′s -I started by teaching my sons to fish from the backyard pond as soon as they could bait a hook. Feeling the pull of the ocean, I did whatever I had to do and acquired a family-oriented 27′ Cabin Cruiser in May of 2000. The Cruiser was not quite a fishing machine, but a nice orientation to the water for my two sons. After a summer of fun in 2000 on the 27′ Cruiser, the boat unfortunately had to be sold. Little did my “Team” know that we would be on to bigger and better things in the near future.
By the end of 2001, Justin (6) and Brandon (5) helped me pick out a ‘fishing boat’ so that I could introduce them to offshore fishing. In the first few months, we fished any day we could throughout that winter and spring on the 23′ Hydra-Sports Vector. In June of 2002 and as spring came to a close, we got the boat ready and I took my two sons and our neighbor (Mr. Jimmy) fishing. As we were fishing throughout the day in excess of 40 miles offshore Jacksonville -we caught a fish…but is was no ordinary fish. The experience of catching this particular fish would literally create a ‘special name’ that we would carry forward into our future.
…as we all screamed “fish-on!”, we proceeded to reel in the Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi) and knew we had a keeper -but that was not all. A few minutes after the catch, Justin walked up to me at the bow of the boat, and calmly said in the most pure and natural statement…”Dad, that’s a REEL KEEPER, huh!”
With having spent the previous six months looking for a boat name, right then and there -we agreed not just to name the boat ‘Reel Keeper’, but from that day forward -we were to be known as the ‘Reel Keeper Fishing Team’. The years to follow would be filled with fun fishing as well as traveling around the State to fish in tournaments. The boys earned ‘Top Prizes’ as they fished on the team as Junior Anglers. The more we fished, the more we enjoyed times on the water together. I was fortunate enough to provide a bigger boat to fish from as we later fished from our 32′ Donzi with additional friends and teammates. Nevertheless, the ‘Ultimate Fishing Machine’ came in the form of our final boat…the 34′ Yellowfin.
Now, in 2012 -I am taking the opportunity to continue the name -and obviously using it for the brokerage company. I have hopes to share the company with my sons one day as I have with the countless memories with them on the water. As with the Fishing Team, this company is also a ‘Reel Keeper’ !