This spring fishing for spotted sea trout has been a big let down for yours truly.

Each year I count on the time from Jan. 1 until about mid-June to provide me with lots of trout action, but this year it was way off. For that reason, when Capt. Brad Kayholm called to invite me along on a sea trout trip, I was a little skeptical, but I agreed because I always like to spend time with him.

After making the long drive south, I met with Brad at Oak Hill's Riverbreeze Park right at 6:15 as planned. After he slipped his 21-foot Carolina Skiff into the Indian River, he introduced me to the first mate, his three-year-old son Oliver. What a cute little guy and oh so smart! He is very well spoken for his age but when he gave me a hug he said “Hello Mister Dam.” (He does have a bit of trouble with his “n's” but close enough.)

Brad motored south to the little red bait boat where we bought live pig fish and croakers. The morning dawned just about perfect with enough breeze to keep the schools of bait fish moving on the incoming tide.

Was there sea trout? Oh, yeah! On our first stop we could only box one, 24-inch fish since the law allows each vessel to keep one trout over 19 inches. I have to admit it did hurt to keep turning back 23- to 24-inch fish after my long dry spell, but try as we might, we could not catch anything small enough to keep. (A problem we all want, right?)

With that Brad pulled away to look for smaller fish. (Doggone it there is just something so wrong with that.) We anchored up and the fish were biting like mad, but all bull trout in the 23-inch range. Nothing to keep there either.

After moving three times, the sun finally was strong enough overhead to slow the bite of the large fish and we began to catch keepers that were 19 inches or less. We finished out our limit by 9:30. With just over two hours fishing, we had limited out and released six to eight gator trout. A great morning of fishing!

Now folks, I have to tell you as successful as this trip turned out to be, it was more than a simple fishing trip to me. You see for years, whenever I fished with the Kayholm men, it was always Brad, his father, Rick, and me.

Over the years we had enjoyed all sorts of fishing adventures together, but that all ended when Rick passed away a year ago. Since then neither Brad nor I had much heart to get together since there was now a void in the boat. Oh, sure, we did give it a try, but just the two of us aboard only shined a light on how much we missed Rick. Not good for either of us.

On this trip we were once more a threesome. Dan, the newspaper guy, and two men from the fishing Kayholm family. The little guy was a treasure and kept us from dwelling on things lost. How could we be sad when little Oliver was asking us to help him feed his M&Ms to the fish or seeing him expertly dip up bait from the live well? No, on this day, Brad and I came full circle.

No one will ever replace his father, Rick, but watching little Oliver step up made us both smile. Now I know the fishing Kayholms of Michigan will have an enduring legacy that will continue long after Mister Dam is gone.

To get in on this fun call Wham Bam Charters at (386) 314-8553. A trip like this would be the ultimate Fathers Day gift as well.

Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to His book, “I Swear the Snook Drowned,” is available for purchase for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.

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