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Cape Coral Living Magazine

Chew On This Charters: Local Extreme Fishing Company Offers Adrenaline Rush

Capt. Ben Chancey (left) and friend with a sailfish they hooked off Florida's east coast. Photo courtesy of Capt. Ben Chancey.

Have you ever wondered if there was someone in your neighborhood who could teach you how to catch a goliath grouper? Is there someone nearby who has the capability to pull up one of those 600-pound behemoths from its murky depths? Have these questions ever even crossed your mind?

Actually, probably not … But it is something local fishing enthusiasts think about quite often. And when they do, they know just who to call.

His name is Capt. Ben Chancey, and he's been providing an enthusiastic clientele with a world-class fishing experience based out of Cape Coral since 2003. The former high school teacher and wrestling/football coach has transformed his lifelong passion for boating and fishing into a well-known extreme fishing charter company called Chew On This Charters.

It didn't take this local captain very long to make his mark on the rapidly growing industry of big-game fishing. In fact, he’s widely considered to be a pioneer of modern-day goliath grouper charter excursions. Thus it made sense that Chancey filmed his first charter fishing show in 2004, which made its debut on the Fox Sports Channel. That show, Chew On This, was an instant hit and quickly became the most popular fishing show on the network. He would then go on to be featured on other national TV networks and shows, including ESPN, FOX, CNN, The Weather Channel and The Today Show.

Chancey's roots and passion for fishing can be traced to when he was a toddler.  “My father and grandfather began fishing the waters around Captiva in the late 1950s,” Chancey recalls. “They would travel over 100 miles on a dirt road all the way from Bartow to fish the Pine Island Sound area. I've been fishing the waters from Boca Grande to Cape Coral ever since I was 2 years old.”

His charter company welcomes all clients, regardless of their fishing experience.  With his education and coaching background, Chancey takes great pride in teaching the skills that a novice angler should know regarding proper techniques for fishing the many different species in Southwest Florida. But it's the extreme fishing of giant snook, monster hammerhead shark and the goliath grouper that separates his company from the competition—and raises his clients’ adrenaline to the highest level.

So you know you’re in for an interesting fishing experience when you have to catch bonito as bait, in order to hook the goliath grouper or other large game fish that the company is known for. Smaller fish such as sea trout, jack and redfish are plentiful in local waterways and make for fun-filled family fishing trips any time of the year. But reserving your patience and strength for landing one of the larger game fish is a different story altogether.

“No one is prepared for what is about to happen to them when they first get a bite on their hook by a goliath grouper!” Chancey explains. “They're not ready for the intensity that is about to hit their body. I've had professional football players and ‘world's strongest man’ competitors be pulled off their feet—unable to get back up.”

That's usually when the captain steps in to lend a hand. As any angler of this high-intensity sport will tell you, Chancey knows firsthand the challenge it takes to bring huge grouper to the top. “With over 1,000 successful goliath grouper charters behind us,” he says, “not one person has ever been able to land the massive fish by themselves without the help of someone else on board.

“And even though the battle is amazingly tough and it's over in about 10 minutes, clients are totally worn out. ... But seeing their smile from ear-to-ear makes it all worthwhile.”

The massive grouper is then released back into the water. If the fortunate anglers are lucky enough, and the cameras are rolling, they could easily end up on a future edition of Chew on This, becoming an Internet hit. If not, they at least had the rare opportunity to witness one of nature's most amazing fish—officially the Atlantic goliath grouper—on the end of their reel, sun-drenched for the first time and pressed up against the side of the boat.

Most important of all, the anglers will have the satisfaction of the ultimate catch of a lifetime. And it won’t have to be described to others as just a proverbial fish tale.

For more information about Chew On This Charters, visit its website at

Written by Joe Yapello, a contributing writer for TOTI Media.