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Teaching The World To Fish

Don Dingman teaches the world to fish, one child at a time

The longtime captain will hold clinics for kids, and gift some with a free rod and reel, at the St. Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show.

When Don Dingman was growing up, his dad used to pile him and a bunch of neighborhood kids into a station wagon to go fishing on the St. Augustine Pier.

Every week when they arrived, a little boy with a torn flannel shirt and worn-out shoes would be waiting.

Dingman’s dad would always bring along an extra rod and reel and let the little boy fish with them. One day, that little boy caught a 58-pound drum.

“You’ve never seen someone so happy,” Dingman recalled.

Then the years went by and Dingman grew up to be a fishing captain in Jacksonville with his own TV show.

One day at his charter service, Dingman met a man who talked about how much money he had and how successful his business was and how many properties he owned. That was quite the accomplishment, the man said, considering he had been neglected and abused growing up. The man told of how his dad used to put out cigarettes on his arm.

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