Scott Pitser


Like many of my fellow redskins, remaining idle during retirement was not an option.  I moved to Punta Gorda Florida and was immediately introduced to Hurricane Charlie on August 13, 2004.  After two months of recreation and sightseeing I decided to follow an ancient dream.  I became a fishing guide.  As some of you may remember I was either chasing rabbits with my beagle or fishing in some pond or river in the Ft. Wayne area.  In order to pursue my new vocation I had to be trained and certified via the U.S. Coastguard.  After two months of classes I traveled to Tampa and completed my testing.  Upon returning to the Charlotte Harbor area I started Fishing Stixs Charters.  The Stixs was derived from another hobby of making custom fishing rods.  Well, contrary to the Saturday morning shows on television, those fish did not jump in the boat.  If you want customers to be happy they need to have the opportunity to catch the big one, regardless of their capability.  Fortunately I met some super nice guys who began the arduous task of teaching me how to spot the schools of bait fish and throw a cast net. 

At this point the fun began.  People traveled to Florida to fish the salt water and experience the thrill of catching a variety of species.  We pursued back country and near shore species consisting of sheepshead, sea trout, redfish, and of course the “silver king” tarpon.  There are few experiences more joyful than watching a young person and an elderly relative hook and bring to the boat a ten or fifteen pound Jack Crevalle.  They are both exhausted after gripping the rod with all of their strength as that big boy makes run after run circling the boat.  It is almost as much fun as watching a ten year old practice casting a plug and have a four pound Lady Fish take the bait and spend the next two minutes demonstrating her ability to spend more time jumping in the air than she spends in the water.  Of course dare I fail to mention that as we prepare to boat and release the lady it is literally inhaled by a one hundred pound tarpon or a five foot long bull shark.  All on board are soaking wet from the salt spray and frantically trying to either land the giant on the other end of the undersized rig or sometimes just praying it gets away.

Silently poling a boat in the shallows of the islands offered the opportunity to see creatures in the water, the trees, and the sky.  Giant manatee basking on the surface to warm themselves after a cold night, otter playing on the shore while a family of racoons search for mussels, osprey diving on a school of bait to feed their new hatchlings while the eagles try to steel their hard earned catch, and of course the brown pelicans bombing the water for a few tiny morsels to fill their huge pouches.  One particular afternoon while working a school of trout we were interrupted by a large mature dolphin.  We were practicing our usual catch and release but noticed that on occasion this dolphin would shoot under the boat and return with one of our trout.  Upon closer examination we observed a baby near her side.  Each time she returned with one of our fish she would push it near the calf and attempt to interest him in eating it or chasing it.  After several failed attempts she rolled on her side and he immediately began nursing.   A few seconds later she pulled away, leaving a cloud of milk in the water and once again swam under our boat and returned with another fish.  She once again attempted to interest the calf in the prize but to no avail.  This continued until it became evident this was not going to be the day she was going to ween her baby.  These are just a few of the beautiful experiences I have been privileged to enjoy during my time on the water.

I retired from guiding when it became evident to my back and shoulders that this was a young man’s game.  I do have a bounty of beautiful memories.  I moved on to training new boat owners on how to operate their vessels.  Emphasis was placed on safety, docking, rules of the road, and proper preparation for a day on the water.  Working for Freedom Boat Club as operations manager was my final exciting post retirement job.  In March of 2019, my wife and I sold our home and one boat and moved to McCormick South Carolina.  We are surrounded by trees, wild animals, 7000 acres of fresh water, and wonderful neighbors.  There are no more post retirement jobs just volunteer work.