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Florida naturalist offers a lifetime experience on the water, with a seafood finish

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image Gus Muench is a champion of environmental protection in this highly unique and sensitive area. Photos Mitch Traphagen

Gus Muench is at home on the water. The flats, the shallows and the wildlife of Tampa Bay are seemingly in his DNA

By Mitch Traphagen
The soul of Captain Gus Muench is tied to the waters of Tampa Bay. While working as an employee of the telephone company in Ruskin, he would awaken early to spend time on the water and then return again, tending to his crab traps in the evening and night hours. He has spent 42 years plying the waters along the wilder portions of the Hillsborough County coastline with Tampa Bay. The flats, the shallows and the wildlife are seemingly part of his DNA. He is at home here, on the water. Over the decades he has become increasingly involved in preserving it and, more recently, ensuring that the relatively unknown incomparable beauty can be shared with others. He is knowledgeable, capable, careful and one heck of a nice guy.

To help those who may otherwise have limited access to the water, from longtime residents to elderly snowbirds to young children, Muench, a U.S. Coast Guard certified captain, has created Captain Gus’ Crabby Adventures, taking groups of up to six people out to experience the beauty of the bay, along with a little taste of life as an old-time crab fisherman. Through his work, he has been featured in numerous local and national news articles, and even in a European documentary.

Depending on your tastes, it could be a romantic evening cruise or a learning adventure but all tastes converge as the trip ends with a fresh seafood dinner, either outside near the water or in an air conditioned dining room, created specially for guests at his home, a tropical oasis on the water he calls Bay Chop Villa.

Muench’s tour offers his guests a chance to be a “crew mate,” if desired, even baiting or helping to haul in crab pots if so inclined. But most of all, it is a one of a kind eco-experience on the most beautiful waters of Tampa Bay. Boat tours typically last for two hours, followed by a tour of Muench’s traditional crab shack and beautiful waterfront property near the Little Manatee River.

He may call it Crabby Adventures but Muench is anything but crabby. He is a compassionate, friendly, articulate and highly knowledgeable captain overflowing with information about this unique environment. At home in his environment, he has also made friends with a heron he named, “I Wanna Eat,” a bird that waits on the dock for Muench’s crab boat to pull up, knowing that his trusted human friend will share some of the water’s bounty.

For more information and pricing, visit www.crabbyadventures.com, email baychopgus@verizon.net or call 813-645-6578 or 813-645-6063.

091913 Uzita Trail Gus Meunch - Images by Mitch Traphagen

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