By Martie Thompson

David Lifka remembers fishing with his father starting at the young age of four. Of his two brothers and a sister, he said he was the one who enjoyed it the most and so he spent many hours fishing the beach, the Intracoastal Waterway and the Florida Keys from his home in Hollywood, Fla., with his dad. At the age of nine, the family moved to Jacksonville and settled in the Goodby’s Creek area — which became Lifka’s new fishing ground. His dad also took him out in the St. Johns River as far as Mayport to fish. It’s been a lifelong passion and one that he plans to continue, even upon his retirement to the Flagler County area … just another new place to drop in a line.

Q: What was your career and how were you able to balance fishing with working?
A: I’m now retired from the Florida Air National Guard. I used to work the night shift and so I would get up and fish until 1 p.m., haul the boat out of the water and take it and any fish I caught to work. Then I’d get off at midnight and take the boat and the fish back home — then get up the next day and repeat. After I retired I got my captain’s license and worked as a fishing guide for about 15 years. I used to take visiting missionaries from overseas out fishing as a part of a church retreat. One time I had the opportunity to take a missionary from a northern Africa desert country out fishing. He had never seen an ocean, a river, a fish or a crab. He managed to hook a blue crab and reached over and started to just pick it up. We were able to get him to stop before he was pinched! 

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Q: How did you meet your wife, Sherry?
A: She was introduced to me by my brother. I was looking for a fisherwoman and when we were dating I took her deep sea fishing in the Keys. She managed to hook herself in the arm somehow — and she was brave enough to let the captain of the vessel pull the hook out. I knew I’d found the right one for me. We’ve been married for 27 years and have a son and a daughter and two grandsons.

Q: What is your favorite spot to fish?
A: Wherever I can — off a dock, off boats. I’ve fished the St. Johns River as long as I have lived here and I return to the Keys as often as I can because I love fishing there. I also enjoy surf fishing, maybe even more so now because it’s so easy. I can just throw out a line.

Q: What are your favorite fish to catch?
A: I guess it depends on where I am. In the river, I like redfish; in the Keys, I like yellowmouth snapper; and in the surf, I like whiting. I eat all of them. We always have fish in the freezer.

Q: How did you decide to write a fishing column for The CreekLine?
A: In all my years fishing, I’ve read so many articles. I would read them and wonder how people could come up with so many ways to talk about the same thing over and over. Then I thought, well, I have the knowledge to do that. And I thought it might be a fun thing to do. So, I inquired about the column and the rest is history.

Photo courtesy Sherry Lifka
Capt. David Lifka

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