"INSPIRATION and DEDICATION those two words often define and separate the good from the great in any endevour".
Becoming great takes hard work and an undaunting spirit ,it takes vision and faith in oneself. This writeup about Rene de Dios is in the 'how to' section of this site because we want to offer the viewers a glimpse into what it took for Rene de Dios to become great in land-based shark fishing .If you study his intensity you will better understand what made him such a fine shark fishermen ;you might capture the essence of Rene's magic. In Rene's life there were two important things his shark fishing and his daughter Erica whom he singlehandedly raised as a single father.He dedication to his daughter ran parallel to his shark fishing.His daughter would get awards for perfect attendance year after year and although Rene would spend nights fishing he was always on time to take care of his daughter--don't ask me how he did it ,but he did it.
Rene's daughter poses with a set of Tiger jaws in front of there Miami Beach house (Rene's replica car next to Erica)
Erica de Dios poses with another of her father's many sharks Rene was a quick learner and a hard worker he quickly moved up the ranks of the older more expierienced shark fishermen.Rene became innovative from the very begginning on the pier he would sometimes hound the old folks who were bailing mackeral or bluefish for a fish to freeline while the other shark hunters waited to catch there own.Rene sacrificed huge fish he caught for sharks something most others were not willing to do.Landing big sharks on the South beach pier became easy to him he simply did what others were not willing to .Rene's cronies became so mistified by this one minded shark fishing maniac that they would often give up prized fish for his bait.
Rene with a few bait donator friends
After learning the pier and overtaking all at there game Rene graduated to fishing the Florida keys bridges to learn the art of shark fishing in between telephone poles something very difficult to master.When the South beach pier was demolished in 1984 Rene de Dios did the next best thing he started fishing on the boarwalk just one quarter mile south of where the old concrete pier had stood.
Rene fishing on the south beach boardwalk with his friend Manny Hernandez -aka Rambo his daughter and Rene's daughter Erica
one nights catch while on the boardwalk
another boardwalk hammer Rene caught hangs from the top rail
a blacktip on the boardwalk
Rene on the South Pointe pier that was supposed to replace the demolished concrete South Beach pier ,,,,it never did they built the damn thing inside the Inlet
Rene would not allow adversity to overcome his drive to excel.He worked harder and became a master because he adapted to so many different styles of shark fishing and focused on turning the odds in his favor wherever he fished .He was a master on many different platforms.There are only a few that have achieved as much as Rene did on different platforms sometimes with totally different techniques.He mastered all facets of the sport better then anyone and then he moved on to catching sharks from boats and winning shark fishing tournaments.Wherever he fished he was always looking to improve and become the very best.
another TV interview from Rene's house after almost losing his life on a Great White capsized boat while off Bimini Bahamas
Rene invented new techniques of floating out baits while on the Keys bridges he used a soda can tied with sewinng string ,he was one of the first to wrap his rod with with clear hosing so that he could fight the sharks from piers and bridges and optain maximum leverage to stop the powerful beast from swimming under and cutting his line.
Rene's drive and dedication in the sport that lead him to greatness so we want to touch on Rene's attributes that made possible his fame and stature in the world of land-based shark fishing. If you fish for sharks and want to learn how Rene did it then in this thread we will try and explain the character that was Rene de Dios.
Rene with his mother ,his daughter Erica and a few big sharks from the night before on the boardwalk next to Goverment cut
Once he saw the first few sharks caught on the pier and he caught his first he knew he wanted to become the best ever in the sport.Rene was only 5 foot 7 inches tall but his charasmatic,boisterous personality set him apart from all the rest of the fishermen on the crowded free South beach pier.His presence on the pier was of a 7 foot SuperHero and other men and young were naturally attracted to him.On the South Beach pier he was admired by his followers,respected by all and feared by his detractors.James Fuqua(Jd Hammer) taught Rene how to shark fish and after Rene caugh his first he was forever hooked on the sport that defined his entire life.
Rene de Dios was fanatical about his sport and he studied the GREAT athletes of his time to draw inspiration and direction from them.He loved Muhamad Ali(Cassius Clay)the heavyweight boxing champ during the 1960's and 70's and Ali's way of saying "i'm the greatest" for Rene it was "I'm #1 " and no one could match his dedication,fierce competiveness and his catches.He lived the sport to the extreme to the point that he became one with it and defined who he was by the sharks the caught and the shark tournaments he won.Rene's braggadocio stirred an excitement that hadn't been seen in any shark fishermen on any pier anywhere.He was unafraid ,undaunted and had a clear vision of what he wanted to do 'Hook the next monster shark' and he did not care weather you loved him or hated him he was not backing down.Rene developed a following of fellow shark fishermen and friends on the pier that were mesmerized by his one minded obsession.He was the leader that gave motivation and direction to youths that were on the wrong side of the law and lost.
Rene de Dios never got involved with drugs his obsesion allowed for no distractions ,he was extremely focused on one thing becoming the # 1 shark fishermen in the world.Rene never smoked a joint or took any drugs, his drug of choice was the feel of a hammerhead spooling his Penn 14/0 and his crack pipe was his 10 foot Harnell rod.By 1974 Rene had caught the biggest shark ever caught on South Beach pier,,a pier that was built in 1924 during the the era of Al Capone on Miami Beach.
Rene,Lui and Ricky pose with Rene's record breaking 14 foot hammerhead shark (1974)
The local newspaper The Miami Herald had more stories on Rene de Dios catches then any other fishermen including charter boat captains who were pioneering techniques in the fishing world including the use of kites for live bait and inventing the tuna tower for chasing giant Bluefin tuna over the Bahama banks. Those that watched him develop as a young wild eyed youth on South Beach pier saw him catch more and bigger sharks then anyone else week after week and month after month he defeated all that tried to keep pace with him.NO ONE could catch the sharks Rene caught they simply were unwilling or unable to dedicate themselves fully the way Rene did.
The shark master in battle with another shark
There was nothing that Rene would not do to catch his shark once hooked and the others thought he was nuts but respected him and admired him because he led the way and they without the same inspiration or faith tried to follow.
They say that those obsessed with perfection come closest to achieving it and I and a few others still involved in shark fishing lived to witness Rene de Dios's complete obsession and can testify that he was as driven to catch monster sharks as anyone who has ever walked this planet.
Rene and Jd Hammer in the early days
Rene with a pier caught tiger shark
Rene hooked up while on a Miami Herald expedition in 1991(I'm in the background)
SOUTH FLORIDA SHARK CLUB -President SFSC-Founding Member est 1983 SFSC-Website Administrator BIG HAMMER SHARK TOURNAMENT -Founder Rene Memorial Sharkathon -Founder NMFS Shark Tagger
i recall being aprox 8 to 15 years old in south beach 1 st and recall a brave young man going out in a inflatable raft 300 to 600 yars out from the sout beach bridge with shark bait yes rene was one of the bad ass fisherman of my time and he was allways fishing that was his passion i miss those days genos pizzeria the arcade and pinball place fox surf shop and more if you are reading this you know miami beach in those days .