Captain Don Dingman keeps crowd laughing at kids’ fishing seminars

Captain Don Dingman has been teaching fishing seminars to kids (and their parents) at boat shows for 10 years.

The Jacksonville charter captain turned producer of the “Hook the Future”” television show has a special place in his heart for kids and has honed his children’s fishing clinic presentation into something of a stage show that entertains and educates kids and their parents.

During his final kids’ clinic at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show last week, Dingman cast small, hookless, soft-plastic baits into the crowd. A boy from the audience held a rod on stage while Dingman ran through the crowd holding a plastic replica of a dolphin, making the kid’s reel sing.

Dingman, who is scheduled to teach the kids’ fishing seminars in March at the Palm Beach Boat Show, teaches fundamentals about where fish live and feed in the water column and gives praise with “slimy fives.”

He shows the proper stance for fighting a fish and explains that there’s really no special magic to being a good angler. Anglers just have to learn the tricks for catching each species. They need time on the water and good teachers.

“It’s not rocket science,” he said.

His fishing seminars, which keep parents and kids laughing, conclude with a serious message.

It’s about parents setting aside time to spend with their children, listening to them, allowing them to catch the biggest and most fish, slowing down and appreciating time spent together.

Dingman fished a lot with his father while growing up in Jacksonville. He fished with his son Brian when he was growing up.

Brian died eight years ago at the age of 22. Now all Dingman has are the memories of those times he spent with his son.

“Life’s a blessing, and people don’t realize it,” Dingman said. “Don’t take it for granted.”

For more information about Dingman and his TV show, go to www.hookthefuture.com. Information about his foundation can be found at http://www.hookthefuture.org.

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Cody Snead of Parkland won the Bass Fishing Kids Palm Beach County Trail classic tournament held Oct. 27 at Okeeheelee Park, with a weight of 4.61 pounds, despite windy conditions from Hurricane Sandy. Snead won an 8-foot Pond Prowler boat with an electric motor and battery.

Gergo Kruppa of West Palm Beach finished second, with 4.1 pounds, followed by Justin Klindt of Coral Springs with 3.48 pounds.

Next year’s Bass Fishing Kids tournament trail is scheduled to begin in late January or early February. Kids fish from the bank at Palm Beach County parks. For details, call Gary Waingrow at (954) 306-3441 or email: bassfishingkids@comcast.net.

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CCA/Florida’s North Palm Beach chapter will hold its annual banquet and auction Saturday night at the Jupiter Beach Resort. Tickets are $125 per person or $225 per couple including dinner and a one-year CCA membership.

Auction and raffle items include trips, artwork, boats, outboard engines and fishing tackle. Marine artist Carey Chen will sign and give away prints. For tickets or more information, call Dan Askinat (407) 854-7002, Ext. 13, or go to http://www.ccaflorida.org.

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The vermilion snapper season closed Thursday and will remain closed until April 1 in the waters off Florida’s east coast. The closure includes Monroe County (the Florida Keys) south and east of U.S. 1. For more information, go to http://www.myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/

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