Frederick W. “Will” Brundick, V, passed away in a tragic accident at his home in Crystal River Friday, the 15th of February, ten days short of his 33rd birthday. An avid outdoorsman, and as a licensed captain, he was a professional fishing guide on the Nature Coast of Florida chasing the giant tarpon and redfish with his fly rod “Grits.” Will is survived by his best friend, soul mate and wife, Ditte’, whom he met while going to school in Tallahassee. A private memorial service will be in Crystal River. The family’s request that donations be made in the memory of Capt. Will Brundick to the Tarpon DNA Study, 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota, FL 34336, the Coastal Heritage Museum in Crystal River, or Angels for Allison in Jacksonville.
Eulogy by Chris Santella:
Like so many anglers, I’d heard a great deal about Homosassa over the years. In 2012, I was lucky enough to finally get a chance to visit. I got to fish with one of the best of the old guard, Captain Jim Long. And a young man that I was sure would become one of the best of the new crop of guides, Captain Will Brundick. Will had just gotten his captain’s license, and his enthusiasm for sharing all that Homosassa has to offer was as thick as the pods of tarpon we found out on Chassahowitzka Bay. I was thrilled to see all those big fish – but I was even more thrilled to see Will’s joy at being able to share these fish with us. His optimism and eagerness to please – plus his understanding and concern for the water and fish – represented all that’s great about guides. It was exciting to see this young man’s career right at the beginning, ready to take off.
After three days of fishing, I was still jump-less – not uncommon for new Homosassa anglers, especially Yankees! Still, I felt like I had had a full experience. That last night, Will and a few of the other guides – Jim and Captain John Bazo – and my group went out for a nice dinner. As we were parting for the night and saying our goodbyes, Will took me and my friend Mac aside. “What time do you guys have to leave tomorrow? If you want to, I’ll take you out for the dawn patrol.” Will had just spent three days showing our group around, and wouldn’t take a dime – and here he was, volunteering to give up a Sunday morning when he might sleep in a bit so he could take us fishing. If we were kinder people, we’d have said no. But we had tarpon lust upon us, and told Will, “YOU BET!”
That Sunday morning proved to be the best fishing of the trip. Will found pod after pod of fish. Within a few hours, we’d both jumped fish – no small feat for me! It was obvious that Will was as excited – if not more so – than we were…and we were pretty damn excited. I left that day looking forward to the next time I’d fish with Will, and of one day seeing him compared with the other Homosassa greats. I guess Will won’t ever get that opportunity. But he can go to the great flats of the next world knowing that he certainly inspired one angler, and he’ll always be a legend in my memory.