Many tales of conquest (some of them even true) will be shared when several hundred of South Florida’s top fishermen and their friends gather Friday night for drinks and camaraderie at the Pirate Republic on the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale. But the real purpose of the party is to trade secrets pulled from the bottomless depths of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
The most revolutionary advancement in fishing in the past five years has been social media, says party host Capt. Jeff Maggio, of Fort Lauderdale. His event, called Happy Bait 2014, is pegged to the imminent annual migration of mullet, which are bait for a multitude of game fish, including jacks, redfish, snook, mackerel, cobia and sharks.
Maggio says the season “is like Halloween or Christmas” for local fishermen, but with its own element of mystery. The schools of mullet can be as elusive as Santa.
“It was extremely difficult to gauge until social media, where you can get up-to-date reports. These baitfish come through in waves, and if you don’t know where it is and how it’s coming, you may never see it,” he says. “But with the way the social [media] works, people can dial it in. So it’s changed the whole face of the mullet run.”
Happy Bait 2014 is open to all, and will include drink specials, vendors (from local tackle stores to Guy Harvey Outpost), giveaways and the chance to rub elbows with the likes of world sailfish champ Peter Miller and freshwater legend Shane Procell, among a dozen other professionals. The event will be streamed live at YouTube.com/TheMulletRun.
“We wanted to kick off the season with a celebration, and help the guys get together to share their social information to keep each other informed,” Maggio says.
Maggio has been fishing South Florida for more than three decades, learning from his father, Joe Maggio, founder of Salt Shaker Custom Yachts. But the former St. Thomas Aquinas football player has also become a huge presence on fishing social media, via his Lunker Dog brand, which includes his charter fishing business and several popular YouTube channels (gathered at RunThatDog.com) that he says have generated 29 million views.
During more than seven years of posting on YouTube, with help from his video “mastermind,” Chris Mayhugh, Maggio has developed a balance between fisherman (his five- to 15-minute videos have always been good for the mystery of what he’ll pull out of the water) and showman. Behind his trademark sunglasses and under a weather-beaten ball cap, Maggio is the voice of regular guys, a social network he calls Reel Guys, addressed with a cynical sense of humor that suggests a seafaring Dennis Miller.
When the giant sportfishing trade show ICAST set up in the landlocked city of Orlando last month, Maggio was appalled. In a tongue-in-cheek rant shot in his downtown Fort Lauderdale driveway and posted to YouTube on Day 3 of the four-day ICAST, he told the camera: “These are the guys that I envision at ICAST, all right? Your Andy Reid dude, that’s got his Columbia tucked with a nice-ass belt on. The guy pushing the $400 sunglasses on the 10-year-old. Dudes with the $75,000 trucks, on lease, no trailer hitch. I’m out here, trying to get by. … The guys in there at ICAST, they’re worried about the suction-cup cup holders for their boat and how many rod holders they can get on their T top. … It’s a 4 1/2 hour trip, $30 in tolls, so they can buy a sticker to put on their $75,000 truck that don’t even have a trailer hitch on it. These are ICAST guys.”
With various sharing on social media, Maggio says, the video had more than 500,000 exposures.
“It’s entertainment. Most of these fishing guys are so serious about it. [For them], it’s more about running an ad,” Maggio says. “There’s value in having fun.”
While old salts are winning the Internet, a bunch of crazy South Florida kids have their dreams tied to a magazine printed on paper. Steve Rullman’s PureHoney will celebrate three admirable years of sharing the skinny on the local indie music scene with an anniversary party on Friday at Respectable Street (518 Clematis, West Palm Beach). The lineup for the 8 p.m. event includes Roadkill Ghost Choir, Sweet Bronco, Plastic Pinks, JUDE., Gravel Kings, the Alleys and the Psymatics. As much as this night is about music, it’s also an appreciation of the unique virtues of print: the page design, the typography, the well-turned caption, the commitment of permanently tattooing your name and your work onto a piece of paper and putting that paper out on the street for all to see. Admission to Friday night’s event is, fittingly, free. But there should be a tip jar. Info: Facebook.com/PureHoneyMagazine.
DO THE HUSTLE
More local virtuousness and music collide on Friday at 7 p.m. at C&I Studios (541 NW First Ave., Fort Lauderdale) with a free end-of-summer show featuring the Goddamn Hustle, -kids-, Forlorn Strangers, Corey James Bost, Carly Jo Jackson and Phil Barnes. Food (Nacho Bizness), drink (half-off draft beers 5-8 p.m.) and knowledge (free, just ask) are all in play. Info: Facebook.com/CIStudios.
Just think of all those local breweries that you haven’t been to -- or haven’t been to enough. At noon Saturday the South Florida Brew Bus will leave on a circuit called the I-95 Brews Cruise that includes the Funky Buddha Brewery, LauderAle and Wynwood Brewing, returning to the Funky Buddha at 5 p.m. (ish). You get a free pint at each stop, and free craft beer on the bus, for $50. Info: BrewBusUSA.com.
CORAL SPRINGS SOUL
On Sept. 6, Coral Springs indie-soul duo the Lovers Key (also known as Christopher Moll and Maco Monthervil) will perform music from their recent album “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” at Radio-Active Records in Fort Lauderdale. They’ll be followed by the retro-surf wizardry of Gold Dust Lounge at the 2 p.m. show. On Sept. 5, the Lovers Key and Gold Dust Lounge perform at Artist in Residence (AIR) on Miami Beach. Info: TheLoversKeymusic.com.
One of the many reasons to miss the late, great E! chatfest “Chelsey Lately” is that Handler had an eye for funny guys like Jo Koy. On Tuesday, backstage at the show’s finale, the half-Filipino Koy posted a selfie on Instagram with sometime South Floridian Michael Yo, explaining: “Together we make one Asian.” Catch Koy’s exuberant stand-up act 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:45 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Fort Lauderdale Improv (5700 Seminole Way, Hollywood). Tickets: $25, $55. Call 954-981-5653, or visit FTL.Improv.com.