A Key West Charter Fishing Trip: The perfect graduation gift

When I graduated from high school, my parents bought me a computer. Yawn.

It’s not that I am or was ungrateful. I needed a computer and it certainly came in handy when I got to college. As it turned out, it was the perfectly appropriate gift. But the computer rendered itself obsolete by my junior year and so I ended up having to buy a new one on my own to get me through to my NEXT graduation.

dorado caught on deep sea charter

So again, I don’t want to come off as sounding unappreciative, but looking back I just don’t know if “perfectly appropriate” is what you want to go for when celebrating one of the most important milestones in your child’s life.

Today, all these years later, I remember my graduation gift just as some thing that I used for a while; it certainly doesn’t bear any sentimental value. Now that my kids are approaching graduation age (yes, scary, I know) I know that for their gift I’m shooting for totally impractical. Well, impractical in the traditional sense anyway. For both my son and my daughter, who are two years apart, I am taking them on a deep sea fishing trip to Key West, Florida, aboard the Triple Time or the Absolut, two charter boat captains I’ve fished with before.

It may sound a bit off-the-wall, but let me explain: Once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I don’t want my children to look back on their graduation gift and have it be like “any other birthday gift, just more expensive. I want them to have something to remember, an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience that they’ll equate with the end of high school and the start of adulthood. After all, memories are the only gift that truly last forever.

Higg's Beach Key West

I chose deep sea fishing because it is one of those experiences where, even if you never thought you’d like it, it totally blows your mind when you do it. Seriously, the first time I pulled in a REAL fish…well, let’s just say I put it up there with the first time I did something else. And why Key West? Because to go along with world class fishing there is just so much else to do there. Where I grew up “charter fishing” meant visiting a salty, cold marina at 5 in the morning and boarding a barnacle-covered rickety old wooden boat and hoping you’d survive the day.

The port wasn’t a vacation destination, it was just a place to harbor ships! But in Key West you’ve got amazing beaches, fun but chilled-out night life, great restaurants, golf, nice weather, and legitimate tourist attractions. At any rate, when I graduated from college my parents opted for a 2nd gift of pragmatism and they wrote me a check. It was supposed to be for putting down a deposit on an apartment, but since the card said “you are an adult, use the money as you see fit” I went ahead and flew down to Key West for a week with my best mates from school. Needless to say, it was the best week of my life at that point, and so that’s kind of where I got this idea. A chance for some quality time I must admit, I do have an ulterior motive for invoking this plan.

My kids live with my ex-wife, and both of them have talked about going to out of state schools. So, for me, it’s a great opportunity to spend quality time with my son, and then daughter, before they head off to college and get too busy to go on vacation with their old man. So when you’re thinking about what to get your kids for graduation, throw out the iPad or the laptop. Unless you’ve got the dough to buy them a new car, I’m convinced that taking them on a fishing trip to Key West, Florida will be the one gift they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.