Weekend preview: Fish tales, popsicles and beer – SouthFlorida.com (blog)
Hundreds of fishermen and friends (some from as far away as Minnesota, Texas and New York) will be at Fort Lauderdale’s Historic Downtowner Saloon on Friday night for LunkerCon 2017, a free, open-to-all and vigorously anti-corporate gathering of saltwater anglers united for a night of drinking, joking and sharing of fish tales.
Fort Lauderdale-based Capt. Jeff Maggio — who estimates this is the 10th such event he’s organized under various names for the legion of fishermen he describes as “reel guys” — calls LunkerCon “the biggest fishing social event of the year.” And by “social,” he doesn’t mean the face-to-face kind. He means Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Maggio has been fishing South Florida for more than three decades (a former St. Thomas Aquinas football player, he is the son of Joe Maggio, founder of Salt Shaker Custom Yachts), but it is his social media presence — he has about 100,000 followers on various channels with videos showcasing his fishing expertise and acerbic wit — that has made LunkerCon such a draw for rank-and-file fishermen and stars of the industry.
Among 10 or so big-name fishermen dropping by the Downtowner on Friday night will be three-time sailfish world champion Peter Miller (of NBC Sports and “Bass2Billfish”) and Capt. George Gozdz (host of Florida Sportsman’s “Reel Time”).
If history is any indication, a funny thing will happen at LunkerCon — for the first 90 minutes or so fans will be lined up to get pictures with some of the stars and, Maggio sheepishly admits, the longest line likely will be for Snapchats and Facebook Live footage with him. While TV hosts have their following, the personal connection isn’t as close, Maggio says.
On YouTube, Maggio has created a crusty, irreverent character — he embodies elements of all