Mel Berman died this morning.
The Tampa Bay area morns the passing of this gentle legend.
Berman, who hosted the Capt. Mel Show on 970 WFLA in Tampa every Saturday morning for the past 25 years, died from complications following heart surgery earlier in the week. He was 81.
Berman is survived by his wife, Ginny, daughter, Debbie Arkin, and son, Ron.
Born in Philadelphia, Berman began his broadcasting career in 1952. He moved to Tampa in 1969 and later boat an offshore boat and got his captain's license. He specialize in grouper fishing charters.
Berman also created Capmel.com, an internet fishing magazine that was popular in the region and around the state. You can visit the site's forums and read comments by faithful contributors about Berman.
I knew him for 20 years and I was a co-host on his show at least a dozen times. In addition, I got to fish with Mel on several occasions,. The trip that I remember most is one Mel and I made with Rick Grassett of Sarasota in 1995 or 1996. Using D.O.A. Shrimp, we caught loads of spotted seatrout, pompano, ladyfish and jack crevalle in Little Sarasota Bay.
Grassett said Berman was active to the end, hosting the radio show and fishing.
"He tried to get out every week," said Grassett. "He didn't fish long ... about four hours. Then, it was time for lunch."