Outdoor Florida Magazine
By Capt. Ariel Cabrera
Making an angling accomplishment doesn’t have to be as extreme as climbing Mt. Everest – it can be as simple as taking one stride forward into a new product known as “The Cage.” Stepping up to the plate in this cage adds a whole new perspective to the game. And in fishing, where seeing is believing, I have borne witness to how the cage has emboldened one man’s life.
These days, former pro baseball slugger Joe DiGraziano steps into The Cage mounted on my skiff as eagerly as he used to step into the batter’s box on a baseball diamond some 30 years ago. Better known to fans as Joe “DiGrace,” the ex-AA Minor Leaguer who played in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization now prefers to hit his grand slams from The Cage. The cage, a removable aluminum superstructure that attaches to the boat’s casting platform, elevates and provides the angler with the ultimate advantage – embraced sight casting. It makes the challenge of sight fishing under the harshest conditions trouble-free.
It was the summer of 2003 when Joe snapped out of a nearly seven-year hiatus after suffering from a severe stroke that hospitalized him for several weeks. He was forced to re-learn certain things that many people take for granted, like coordination and balance. Late that summer, Joe and I fished near Flamingo in Everglades National Park and managed to score a triple grand slam of tarpon, snook, redfish, and seatrout. Joe spent the whole day fishing from the cockpit of the boat since it provided his body with stable support. Considering that Joe was a rookie to the backcountry, this was an outstanding day, even for seasoned professionals. We both knew he was out of the slump.
The inspiration for The Cage arose from Joe’s individual needs. Joe now steps up to the plate, raises the bar, locks the lever, and has a bird’s eye view of the flats, creeks, and shorelines that we fish. He tells me, “When you are confident and secure, you can do anything.” The cage is a beautiful structure for Joe, not only stabilizing his body but offering him the peace of mind he requires as well. With the support from his leg brace, Joe can effortlessly ease up on the bow deck and into The Cage for the ultimate fishing experience. He adds from the last trip, “I felt so secure and relaxed, I concentrated strictly on fishing.”
The Tamer Casting Platform and Cage, made by Alu-Marine Corporation, has helped this man do the thing he loves most. I can testify to that since he has fished with me for a few months now, and despite his braced leg, he didn’t think twice about moving around the boat to search for the large net I needed to land a behemoth snook. No, the doctor didn’t prescribe “fishing from The Cage,” but it won’t be long before that leg brace comes off. And that’s a fact! Although Joe may not realize it because he’s having so much fun from high up there, The Cage has provided a kind of therapy that you just can’t get anywhere else.
The cage supports, corrals, and acts as a comfortable seat for hours of non-stop casting and fishing. It’s just like being atop a pitcher’s mound because the added height from the casting platform affords a better angle of the immediate environment and imparts to the player/fisherman a cutting edge advantage. When you can see the fish, a more accurate cast can be made, leading to consistent hook-ups. The feeling of standing on top of the world would want to make anyone step inside.
When Joe is secured in the aluminum superstructure that protrudes from the bow of my skiff, our game has begun. Just like the Florida Marlins’ terrific pitcher and catcher duo, Joe and I make great casts, catches, and hit grand slams of a similar kind. Don’t sit around and wait to be given a lift, step up to the plate instead. Get in The Cage and make it happen.
For more information on The Tamer Casting Platform and Cage contact Islamorada, Florida-based Alu-Marine Corporation (Pro-Trim) at +1(800) 421-2586, or visit www.pro-trim.com.
Outdoor Florida Magazine