Chase Collier Wish is Granted
January 5, 2014
Chase’s wish to go fishing in the Florida Keys was granted on January 5, 2014. Some of you my be familiar with Captain Rush Maltz of who appeared numerous times on “Spanish Fly”, and also a National Geographic special called “Fish Frenzy”. Rush was one of Jose’s best friends, and is one of the best guides in Key West for offshore fishing. Chase and his family have a fishing camp in Louisiana, and recently went offshore (120 miles) to catch Yellowfin Tuna, so they are experienced fishermen. The Keys is somewhere that he always wanted to fish, and the Jose Wejebe Spanish Fly Memorial Foundation made it happen.
Chase and his family arrived at a beautiful home in Sugarloaf Key that was donated by one of our gracious donors. Arriving at their home they were greeted with a plethora of gear from by Under Armour, Shimano, and Costa. They took the first day to take it all in, and prepare for fishing the next day.
With a cold front moving in Rush wanted to get them out on the water early in case we had to cancel the second day. Rush met us at the dock at Murray Marine with the bait wells blacked out with pilchards. Rush told the family that we were going to run out pretty far. Chase asked “How far?”. “About 20 miles give or take.” The family laughed at the fact that in the Keys that is considered far.
The first spot called the “Sub” was one of Jose’s favorites. The family caught a number of Amber Jacks, Jack Cervals, and a Sandbar Shark. We moved to another spot where they caught Cudas, Bonito, Tunas, more Jacks, and even a nice Wahoo! Off in the distance we saw a big black cloud heading our way, and started to wrap things up when we saw a sailfish 20 yards away from the boat. With Rush throwing out bait, and Chase making the perfect casts we anxiously waited. Swimming around sluggishly, nibbling on the bait here and there the sailfish overlooked Chase’s bait. We lost sight of the sailfish, and geared up to head in again for the second time. Of course another sail showed up. Chase and Rush tried again. This happened four more times, and with the storm slowly approaching we had to run back. “Being able to see the sailfish and sharks up close was something that I’ll never forget.”
With winds of 30-35 knots the second day was a no-go. I went to their house to discuss our options. As soon as I mentioned Dolphin Research Center Cameron, Chase’s sister started begging him to go. Chase is one of the most laid back, go with the flow 14 year old I have ever met, and agreed that it would be pretty cool. I showed them around, and introduced them to the dolphins, and they instantly picked up on all their different personalities. “Seeing the dolphins up close and personal at the Dolphin Research Center was cool. I’m sure you know that the dolphins were my sister, Cameron’s, favorite!” They even got to hug Karen, who is a blind retired show sea lion. They headed home after their hug to get ready for an amazing dinner at the Square Grouper. They all said that this trip ended to soon, and that they had to come back to get Chase a sailfish with Rush.
Almost two years ago Chase and his family found out that he had a brain tumor. He underwent a procedure at St Jude’s where they opened up his skull to remove, and biopsy the tumor. Luckily the procedure went well, and the tumor was not cancerous. He underwent radiation, and the MRI scans show that his tumor has shrunk significantly. “One year ago while being treated at St. Jude’s in Memphis, I never would have guessed that I would get to have these experiences. The trip was all that I could’ve hoped for and then some. Please share my gratitude with Rush, the charter captain, and everyone else that we met along the way during our stay. Spanish Fly Foundation that you established in memory of your dad were very generous to me.”