Chew On This Char­ters

Lo­cal ex­treme fish­ing com­pany of­fers adren­a­line rush

Gulf & Main - - Water World - Joe Yapello is a con­tribut­ing writer for TOTI Me­dia.

Have you ever won­dered if there was some­one in your neigh­bor­hood who could teach you how to catch a go­liath grouper? Is there some­one nearby who has the ca­pa­bil­ity to pull up one of those 600-pound be­he­moths from its murky depths? Have these ques­tions ever even crossed your mind?

Ac­tu­ally, prob­a­bly not … But it is some­thing lo­cal fish­ing en­thu­si­asts think about quite of­ten. And when they do, they know just who to call.

His name is Capt. Ben Chancey, and he’s been pro­vid­ing an en­thu­si­as­tic clien­tele with a world-class fish­ing ex­pe­ri­ence based out of Cape Coral since 2003. The for­mer high school teacher and wrestling/foot­ball coach has trans­formed his life­long pas­sion for boat­ing and fish­ing into a well-known ex­treme fish­ing char­ter com­pany called Chew On This Char­ters.

It didn’t take this lo­cal cap­tain very long to make his mark on the rapidly grow­ing in­dus­try of big-game fish­ing. In fact, he’s widely con­sid­ered to be a pi­o­neer of mod­ern-day go­liath grouper char­ter ex­cur­sions. Thus it made sense that Chancey filmed his first char­ter fish­ing show in 2004, which made its de­but on the Fox Sports Chan­nel. That show, Chew On This, was an in­stant hit and quickly be­came the most pop­u­lar fish­ing show on the net­work. He would then go on to be fea­tured on other na­tional TV net­works and shows, in­clud­ing ESPN, FOX, CNN, The Weather Chan­nel and The To­day Show.

Chancey’s roots and pas­sion for fish­ing can be traced to when he was a tod­dler. “My fa­ther and grand­fa­ther be­gan fish­ing the wa­ters around Cap­tiva in the late 1950s,” Chancey re­calls. “They would travel over 100 miles on a dirt road all the way from Bar­tow to fish the Pine Is­land Sound area. I’ve been fish­ing the wa­ters from Boca Grande to Cape Coral ever since I was 2 years old.”

Re­serv­ing your pa­tience and strength for land­ing one of the larger game fish is a dif­fer­ent story al­to­gether.

His char­ter com­pany wel­comes all clients, re­gard­less of their fish­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. With his ed­u­ca­tion and coach­ing back­ground, Chancey takes great pride in teach­ing the skills that a novice an­gler should know re­gard­ing proper tech­niques for fish­ing the many dif­fer­ent species in South­west Flor­ida. But it’s the ex­treme fish­ing of giant snook, mon­ster ham­mer­head shark and the go­liath grouper that sep­a­rates his com­pany from the com­pe­ti­tion—and raises his clients’ adren­a­line to the high­est level.

So you know you’re in for an in­ter­est­ing fish­ing ex­pe­ri­ence when you have to catch bonito as bait, in or­der to hook the go­liath grouper or other large game fish that the com­pany is known for. Smaller fish such as sea trout, jack and red­fish are plen­ti­ful in lo­cal wa­ter­ways and make for fun-filled fam­ily fish­ing trips any time of the year. But re­serv­ing your pa­tience and strength for land­ing one of the larger game fish is a dif­fer­ent story al­to­gether.

“No one is pre­pared for what is about to hap­pen to them when they first get a bite on their hook by a go­liath grouper!” Chancey ex­plains. “They’re not ready for the in­ten­sity that is about to hit their body. I’ve had pro­fes­sional foot­ball play­ers and World’s Strong­est Man com­peti­tors be pulled off their feet—un­able to get back up.”

That’s usu­ally when the cap­tain steps in to lend a hand. As any an­gler of this

high-in­ten­sity sport will tell you, Chancey knows first­hand the chal­lenge it takes to bring huge grouper to the top. “With over 1,000 suc­cess­ful go­liath grouper char­ters be­hind us,” he says, “not one per­son has ever been able to land the mas­sive fish by them­selves with­out the help of some­one else on board.

“And even though the bat­tle is amaz­ingly tough and it’s over in about 10 min­utes, clients are to­tally worn out. ... But see­ing their smile from ear-to-ear makes it all worth­while.”

The mas­sive grouper is then re­leased back into the wa­ter. If the for­tu­nate an­glers are lucky enough, and the cam­eras are rolling, they could eas­ily end up on a fu­ture edi­tion of Chew on This, be­com­ing an In­ter­net hit. If not, they at least had the rare op­por­tu­nity to wit­ness one of na­ture’s most amaz­ing fish—of­fi­cially the At­lantic go­liath grouper—on the end of their reel, sun-drenched for the first time and pressed up against the side of the boat.

Most im­por­tant of all, the an­glers will have the sat­is­fac­tion of the ul­ti­mate catch of a life­time. And it won’t have to be de­scribed to oth­ers as just a prover­bial fish tale.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Chew On This Char­ters, visit its web­site at chewon­this.tv.

Capt. Ben Chancey (left) and friend with a sail­fish they hooked off Flor­ida's east coast.

Lexis Chancey and her dad, Capt. Ben, hold up the first-ever go­liath grouper that Lexis caught from a kayak.

Fish­ing from an Ul­trask­iff in wa­ters near Boca Ra­ton.

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