Ana Banana Fishing Company
611 Destiny Dr. Ruskin, FL
In 2005 I got a call from world renowned angler Norm Isaacs, TV host of The Extreme Billfish Show and Hawaiian Resort and Marina owner. Captain Norm called to tell me that he and his son Captain Darrin Isaacs had started a kid’s summer fishing camp, The Professional Fishing Academy, at IMG Academy in Sarasota, Florida. Norm informed me that his son Darrin would be the offshore fishing instructor and he asked me to be the inshore fishing instructor. Without hesitation I accepted his offer. I knew IMG Academy was the #1 youth sports training authority. IMG is the place you’d want to send your son for golf if you suspect he is talented enough to be the next Sam Snead, or for baseball if you think he could be the next Babe Ruth, or soccer if you think he’ll be the next Pele’ or tennis for the next Jimmy Connors.
Captain Norm explained that IMG Academy had adopted a fifth sports focus, FISHING, and their goal was to make the youth training in angling as professional as their other sports training. I was the inshore instructor for two years and loved working with the kids. The training I received from Captain Norm and Darrin at IMG Academy was invaluable. The following year, when Captain Norm and Darrin left IMG and started a Billfish tour in Central and South America, I was replaced as inshore fishing instructor by Captain Blair Wiggins, host of Addictive Fishing Show. IMG’s Professional Fishing Academy was discontinued one year after I resigned.
My experience at IMG left a lasting impression on me and gave me a desire to professionally teach kids the art and technique of ethical and responsible fishing. I’ve seen, personally, the impact that fishing can have on a child. My son Joseph became my “first mate in training” when he was five years old. He was seven years old when I started with IMG and participated in much of the professional fishing academy activity. When Joseph was 11 years old he wrote his first children’s fishing book titled I LOVE TO FISH. At age 12, he wrote his second book titled I LOVE TO FISH - COBIA CAMP FIRE, and he donates 10% of his book sale money to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Joseph is now 18 years old, will graduate high school in 2017, and has been my first mate for over a decade. He is now the youngest Master Captain in Tampa Bay and he plans to charter his way through college.
Ana and I are proud parents and we attribute much of Joseph’s early success and happy childhood to FISHING! We know that a good kid can go bad in the blink of an eye, but a passion for fishing seems to keep kids out of trouble. Many of my IMG Academy kids have kept in touch with me and I’m gratified to say that several of them have earned their Captain’s License and plan to pursue a life of fishing.
One of my former IMG students, Noah Bressman, is now a Marine Biologist from Cornell University. By the end of his second summer at IMG, 12-year old Noah could give the scientific name of almost every fish in the ocean. He was a smart kid and a great angler. One day Noah and I fought a shark for three hours as it pulled us more than three miles! Noah never gave up! In addition to providing a great adventure and inspiring strong respect for the environment, fishing teaches tenacity and builds character. (see Noah’s testimony below)
We launch Ana Banana Kids Fishing Camp in 2015, and now in our third year, we continue to be inspired by the enthusiasm and promise of young anglers like Joseph and Noah, and we are dedicated to giving your child an experience that rivals and exceeds the training once offered at IMG’s Professional Fishing Academy. Let’s Go Fishing!!!