The history of our club would be nothing if not for Rene de Dios the man that inspired us as youngsters in the 70's fishing on the old South Beach pier (Miami Beach). Rene was one of the original founders and the main force behind the idea to form the South Florida Shark Club. He was the bravest most flamboyant character to ever do battle with shark on rod and reel. Rene has left this world but lives in our hearts and our memories. His memory will live in us forever and anyone who knew him will attest to the impact he had on their lives.
He was the loudest, most inspired, most passionate person to hook and catch sharks from land. He became a true legend for his epic battles with huge sharks many that were landed and many more that were never stopped. Days when you thought no one would be on the pier fishing you'd find Rene huddled in his sleeping waiting for his dream shark. Rene would fish harder swim the furthest, row the bait further than anyone else and catch the biggest shark because he sacrificed everything in the pursuit of sharks. That was the essence of the man "put in your time and catch the biggest sharks" everything else came second. It ultimately combined with diabetes and took his life in 2003.He became a legend not only for his relentless pursuit of sharks but for his acts of bravery getting spooled on his 14/o one night and jumping into a rowboat alone to follow the shark, being found next morning with the boat half sunk and the shark still pulling him along. The coast guard demanded he cut the line and get in, on the pier he would stand out for his character, boisterous, feisty and always surrounded by a crowd of youngsters eager to learn his magic captivated by his energy and determination. "To be number one" as he would often say. Late at night on the pier not wanting to give in to the need for sleep he would hum the Frank Sinatra song "Lovers in the night" substituted with "hammers in the night" over and over again until we were all hooked
On the same lullaby. Rene's heroes were not superman or John Wayne although he had a little of each in his personality his heroes were Herb Goodman, Frank Mundus, Ernest Hemingway, Alfred Dean, Bob Dyer and later Vic Hislop.He was not perfect none of us are but we honor his name and continue to keep his memory alive. Rene will forever be with us in memory and spirit, we continue to pursue his dream of catching the biggest monster sharks that swim the oceans.
-William Fundora SFSC 2007