Captain Frank Betz, a native of Tampa, Florida, began fishing the Florida Straits in 2005 while working as a captain for the Boy Scouts of America at the Sea Base Camp on Summerland Key — and quickly fell in love with the Florida Keys’ fishery.

Frank Betz was one of the Keys’ first Blue Star operators, designated for his commitment to promoting sustainable fishing practices.

He shares his passion for fishing the deep blue waters of the Keys as the owner-guide of Folklure Fishing Charters, founded in 2017 with trips out of Summerland Key, Big Pine Key and Key West.

Frank became a Blue Star operator in 2019 — one of the first in the program. Established by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the Blue Star program recognizes operators committed to promoting responsible and sustainable fishing, diving and snorkeling practices.

Folklure Fishing Charters offers four-, six- and eight-hour offshore, reef and wreck fishing charters aboard the 27-foot Leviathan, an Onslow Bay 27 Offshore Edition vessel with two 350hp Mercury Verado engines. The name “Leviathan” is a Biblical reference, noted in theology and in mythology as a sea serpent.

Frank is also the director of the annual Florida Keys PBA (Police Benevolent Association) Dolphin Tournament, benefiting the Autism Society of the Keys; the Love Fund Inc., an organization that assists families of officers killed or injured in the line of duty; and the Cub Scouts. The 2024 tournament is scheduled June 28-30 with a $15,000 prize pool.

Frank’s fish-tagging work with clients assists the Dolphinfish Research Program, which identifies migration routes, documents natural behavior of dolphin fish and stimulates additional research on the species.

Fishing tournament awards Florida Keys

As well as operating his own charter business, Frank is the director of the annual Florida Keys PBA (Police Benevolent Association) Dolphin Tournament.

The captain also enjoys educating clients about stone crab, spiny lobster, yellowtail snapper, sea turtles, frigates and pelicans, and indigenous birds and wildlife of the Keys.

A motto of Folklure Fishing Charters is “Big fish … bigger stories!” And Frank, who lives with his family on Big Pine Key, can definitely tell stories.

Keys Voices: When did you first come to the Florida Keys and why?

Frank Betz: I came here in 2005 to work at Sea Base on Summerland Key.

KV: What aspects of the Keys environment or way of life matter most to you?

FB: The ocean is my passion — and fishing, boating, the wildlife and the beauty of it all.

KV: Who or what inspired you to become passionate about respecting and protecting the Keys’ natural world?

FB:  How can one not be inspired by our natural world? It’s beautiful and amazing.

KV: How does that passion influence your work or profession?

anglers and fish

Frank (left) shares his love of fishing Keys waters with his clients on every charter.

FB: Whenever I can help while on a trip, we remove debris that could cause harm to the sea life. I also enjoy educating my clients about the wonderful animals who share their home with us.

KV: What are some of the ways, personally or through your work, that you connect with and/or help protect the local environment and unique lifestyle?

FB: I am involved in fish-tagging programs to help provide accurate data so we can help create a sustainable fishery. I have also helped with debris removal from the ocean.

KV: What keeps you energized, challenged and focused on your path?

FB: Every day I get to head out on the water re-energizes my love and passion for the ocean and the need to make it pristine.

KV: What do you hope your positive environmental actions will accomplish?

Folklure Charters Florida Keys

Frank founded Folklure Charters in 2017 and encourages his clients to respect nature and the local fishery.

FB: Through education, I hope more people will be more mindful when out on the water and refrain from littering, and respect the fisheries and follow the regulations so we have a good fishery for generations to come.

KV: What message do you want your actions and example to communicate to people you encounter?

FB: The message I hope people get from my actions is “respect nature.” It is beautiful and giving. We should return the favor by only taking what is needed and keeping her pristine.

KV: What’s your favorite natural or eco-friendly activity in the Keys?

FB: Fishing is my passion. A bent rod and a screaming reel, while surrounded by such beauty, is magical.