Here at Cannons, we get to deal with some pretty cool people, and the man that we’re spotlighting this week, is definitely one of the coolest. As president of Global Produce Sales, Al Wroten could be considered our state’s (and possibly the country’s) “Watermelon King” but when he’s not at the farm, he loves to spend his time fishing in his new Jupiter 26′. Here, we ask him about his boating preferences and what he loves about his boat.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m the president of Global Produce Sales based in Lakeland, Florida. We grow and ship watermelons out of the Eastern United States. We’re the biggest grower here in Florida. Each year, we ship about 5000 semi loads, approximately 200 million pounds of watermelon. We grow in South Florida, South Georgia, Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana.
Did you grow up around the water?
I’m a 5th generation Floridian and have lived on the water all my life. I’m from Pahokee on Lake Okeechobee and moved to Lakeland in ’66. I’ve been fishing and boating ever since I was big enough to get in one. I started fishing on the East Cost and I used to go over to Ft Pierce, Port St. Lucie and Salerno to go salt water fishing. My wife is a retired school teacher and we bought a house in Holmes Beach about 15 years ago. Our boat sits on the lift right behind the house.
What kind of boat do you have?
My current boat is a Jupiter 26 and I’ve had it for less than a year. In the past, I’ve had two Grady-White’s – a 257 and a 330 Express – and I decided that the 330 was more boat than I needed. When I saw the Jupiter, I thought it looked good. It had a lot of room around transom and was well built – I was impressed with the quality. I liked that Jupiter had no wood in it because wood will eventually rot. I thought the Jupiter would do everything I wanted. I wanted to do more offshore fishing, I thought, “this will work!” I also liked that it was at Cannons Marina. I’m gonna do business with Cannons because I have had excellent service and good rapport with Benny and Marcel. If I have a problem, it gets taken care of. They’ve always been good to me and given me fair deals.
What is the name of your boat?
All of my boats are named “Rind Time.” There’s a picture of a watermelon cut in half that looks like a clock and the watermelon seeds represent the numbers.
What’s a typical day for you like out on the water?
I’m usually fishing with friends or family, mostly 20 – 60 miles offshore. I’m usually looking for whatever will bite. I’m mostly Grouper fishing and trolling for Mahi.
What do you consider your “best catch?”
I go fishing a lot, so it’s hard to pick one. My best one is probably when I went to Costa Rica and caught a 400 pound Marlin. That’s a once in a lifetime deal! But we have a lot of good days, right here on the Gulf – a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work!
Where are some of your favorite local boating destinations?
We’ll run down to Cabbage Key, we don’t go too far. We go up to St. Pete and stop somewhere to get a burger.
What is the coolest wildlife spotting you’ve seen from your boat?
We see a lot of turtles. I look for turtles because that means you have good bottom. I’ve also seen some awfully big sharks.
What is your dream boating destination?
I’d like to do the Inter Coastal as far as you can go – from here to the Great Lakes. That would be great.
What items do you usually bring on the boat with you?
I’ve always got my favorite fishing pole. We usually make sandwiches and bring some Mich Ultra. Whatever the day brings!