The fishing community in Clearwater Beach honored one of their own on Friday, as they bid farewell to Capt. Bill Burk, a longtime fishing boat charter captain passed away at the age of 72.
Burk was a fixture on the Clearwater docks for more than 40 years, operating his charter boat Double Eagle II and taking countless anglers on memorable fishing trips in the Gulf of Mexico. He was known for his friendly personality, his fishing expertise, and his love for his family and his crew.
“He was just a great guy, a great captain, a great fisherman,” said Capt. Mike Colby, who worked with Burk for 25 years. “He taught me everything I know about fishing.”
Colby organized a regatta-type sendoff for Burk, inviting other charter boat owners and friends to join him on a final voyage to scatter Burk’s ashes in the water. More than a dozen boats participated in the tribute, forming a line behind Colby’s boat and blowing their horns as they reached the spot where Burk loved to fish.
Burk’s family and crew members also joined the ceremony, sharing stories and memories of their time with him. His daughter, Jennifer Burk, said her father was her hero and her best friend.
Burk’s son-in-law, Chris Hargraves, who also worked as his mate on the Double Eagle II, said Burk was like a father to him and taught him how to be a better person.
Burk’s legacy will live on in the fishing community and in the hearts of those who knew him. Colby said he plans to rename his boat Double Eagle III in honor of Burk.
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