Goodland is affectionately known as a “Drinking Village with a Fishing Problem.” Most of us here in Goodland are happy to accept this title. After all, we drink all kinds of stuff; lots of water on those hot summer days, a glass of milk to accompany our cookies and occasionally… alcohol. As for the fishing problem, well, that’s true too.
Historically, Goodland was built around commercial fishing. These days, commercial fishing in town is mostly stone crab and, occasionally, blue crab. Mullet fishermen swing through from time to time as well. But just because the commercial fishing isn’t what is once was, doesn’t mean that we don’t fish off our docks, take the boat out with our poles, or go out with some of the local charter fishermen in town.
The legacy of Goodland as an historic fishing village still runs deep. Just ask Captain Danny Fabian of Fabian Fishing Charters. Moving to Naples at the age of five, he has been fishing the waters of the Gulf and the Ten Thousand Islands for over thirty years. As a young boy, he always loved the water. “My fascination and desire to be near, in and around the water is still with me,” explains Danny. “Because of this I have fished constantly, dove for lobsters, spear fished and free dove to 90 feet on a single breath of air.
“Having been a charter fisherman for several years, I have fished with well over a thousand different people from all around the world. This has given me the opportunity to tell some of the hair-raising stories which I have accumulated while diving and fishing the waters of Southwest Florida.” Danny’s stories include being accosted by sharks and mugged for his catch by goliath grouper. “Once on a dare, while free diving with friends, I rode the back of a 300 plus pound loggerhead turtle who, upon release, turned and chased me, leading of course with a snapping, football-sized head! My friends claimed on that day I could have made the Olympic swim team.”
Captain Danny has many more stories like this. “When people ask about my encounters, they say, ‘are you crazy?’ aren’t you afraid?’ I always reply with the same saying. I am more afraid of a retiree in a yellow caddy on US-41 than I have ever been of any sea creature, with good reason and the statistics to prove it.”
In fact, Captain Danny is so crazy, that he even brings out local kids from Goodland on some of his fishing trips. This scare me more than a retiree in a yellow Cadillac on US-41. Either way, no matter the age of his “crew for the day,” passengers always come back with big catches and big stories.
Licensed by the US Coast Guard, Danny takes passengers sport fishing in the backwaters of Naples, Marco, Goodland, the Ten Thousand Islands and Everglades National Park. His 22-foot Pathfinder with a 250-hp Yamaha motor is the perfect vessel to pull in big sport fish or to catch a great meal for the evening.
Fabian Fishing Charters is based in Goodland, where the boat both leaves and returns. Home to four restaurants, Goodland is the perfect spot to take the fish you just caught. Captain Danny’s boat leaves off of the docks at Stan’s Idle Hour. Passengers can walk right off Danny’s boat, with their fish filleted, and have it cooked at Stan’s. Take it just down the street to The Little Bar Restaurant or around the corner to The Old Marco Lodge or Marker 8. All four restaurants will cook up their own version of your fish at a great price.
So get to Goodland and go fishing! And, trust me… no one in this “Drinking Village With a Fishing Problem” will mind if you have a beer in one hand and a fishing pole in the other.
Check out more of Captain Danny’s photos at his website, www.fishingnaples.com. To book your trip with Fabian Fishing Charters, call 239-389-1500.
Natalie Strom has lived in Goodland for over two years and has worked in Goodland on and off for more than five years. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is also a former Buzzard Queen of Stan’s Idle Hour in Goodland.