By Mike Sharkey | Contributor
If Barrett King isn’t at work, there’s a really good chance he’s in the water, on the water, or – depending on the season and location – he’s underwater.
Originally from St. Augustine, King has been an avid waterman most of his life. The St. Augustine lifestyle meant plenty of surfing, which evolved to include fishing and diving. Today, King still enjoys all three water sports.
“I have transitioned to more fishing and boating,” said King, who now lives in Jacksonville Beach.
King moved to Jacksonville to attend the University of North Florida and graduated with a degree in Sociology in 2006. Instead of returning to St. Augustine, he went to work for a family-owned insurance agency where he sells property and casualty insurance as well as insurance for homes, autos and boats. He’s also owns King Marine Group, an Atlantic Beach-based company that details and maintains yachts.
While work pays the bills, King is happiest when he’s on the water, and he fishes as much as anyone in the 904.
“I fish competitively and travel a lot to fish,” said King, estimating he and friends fish in 2-3 tournaments a month, year-round, depending on the conditions and the fish that are in-season.
Fishing has taken King all over Florida as well as to Costa Rica and Puerto Rico (for surfing, as well), the Bahamas and the Keys. Still, given the variety of fish and the consistency, King says the fishing in the Northeast Florida area rivals just about anywhere he’s been.
“It’s as good as anywhere. There is a lot of variety inshore and right now we are getting ready for the cobia run,” he said, adding the largest keeper fish he’s even landed was a 70-pound Wahoo, but he has caught and released many sharks that were much, much bigger. “When the water warms up, we’ll get the kingfish and tarpon run. If you run offshore about 60 miles, the fishing is even better because there’s less pressure on the fish.”
At 34, King has several years to plan the big 4-0. Don’t be surprised if that trip includes a few close friends and a 12,000-mile journey to the other side of the planet.
“If I could fish anywhere it would be the Great Barrier Reef in Australia,” said King, explaining that on a trip like that you charter a large boat to get to the reef and board smaller boats to fish from throughout the day. “You can just check the fish of your (want to catch) list.”
Maybe he’ll even get to land the elusive blue marlin – his dream fish.
“We don’t get a lot of them around here, but I have seen one,” said King.
In the meantime, King is waiting for his new Contender to be finished, then it’s off to the Bahamas again. He also has plans to go back to Costa Rica this summer with a good friend who lives in Newport Beach, Calif. Oh yeah, he’ll be in the Keys this summer for lobster season, too.