Fiberglass is biting in the off months for Pat Meyers

Tina Harbuck
Pat Meyers was busy grinding away on the Twilight earlier this week. He spends his winter months working with fiberglass and doing repair to the local charters.

From working the deck to fixing it, Pat Meyers has done it all.

For more than 30 years, Meyers has fished with some of Destin’s finest charter boat captains such as Robert Hanshaw and  Kelly Windes. This past season he worked the deck for Capt. Tommy Carter on the Blue Runner II.

However, when he’s not working the deck and helping customers catch fish to put in the box, he’s fixing the box.

“God gives all of us gifts and mine is fishing and fiberglass,” said the 54-year-old fisherman.

“Just look for the biggest cloud and I’m under it,” said Meyers while he worked on the Twilight earlier this week at Fishing Fleet Marina.

 “If I do in fact have a skill with glass, all praise goes to God because he has gifted me with a talent I can sell during the winter months. That being said, he has enabled me to work on these charter boats year-round. It’s like a Michelob commercial, it don’t get no better than this.”

During the fishing season, Meyers works the deck on the Blue Runner II for Capt. Carter, but during the winter months his time is spent working with fiberglass and doing repair work on the charter fleet.

“Yep we break it and he fixes it,” said Capt. Robert Hill of the Twilight.

 “I love working on these charter boats,” Meyers said.

“If someone wants to know my resume, I just walk them up and down the charter boat docks,” he said, noting he has built many fish boxes and live wells for some of the charter fleet.

“I’m up to 14 livewells now on these charter boats,” he said.

Meyers got his start in fiberglass working alongside Steve Haeusler when he had a boat maintenance business called Ship-Shape Marine.

“I’d like to go on record thanking him for allowing me to learn on his clock,” Meyers said.

After Haeusler, he worked with David Boudreau, “a gifted fella pertaining to all things marine,” Meyers said.

His first solo project was putting the hardtop on the No-Alibi for Capt. Chuck Turbanic. Since then he’s done work for Turbanic on the Fifth Amendment as well.

“The thing about fiberglass is, there’s a lot of steps. There are so many steps in it, that if you ignore one, the rest of its not going to go.”

Meyers says he doesn’t take on the big projects much anymore.

“I do mostly repair work now. I fabricate a lot of boxes and live wells.”

Nevertheless, he says, “There is a joy and satisfaction I find in taking a stack of wood or a stack of foam and a couple of buckets of resin and gel coat and time and effort ... and then be able to turn out something that’s functional and asesthicially pleasing.”

Fiberglass can be difficult to work with, but “it’s a means to an end,” Meyers said, noting that working in fiberglass enables him to keep fishing.

“When you go to sand it, it makes chards that fly off. That’s what sticks in your skin. So when you see me walking up and down covered in dust, that’s my winter coat. And I’m proud to wear it.”

Meyers got to work in that cloud of dust when he did some work for Capt. Harold Staples when he was building the Silver Hook a couple of years ago.

“He ain’t scared to grind,” Staples said.

 “You’ve probably heard it said that fiberglass bites. Well I hope and pray it keeps biting me for the next 3 ½ months,” Meyers said.

“I don’t particularly like being inside a fish box grinding where it’s throwing it all in my face, but it’s part of the job.

“But when I get done and shake off the dust, I can look back and say wow … God really did give me a talent to do that  stuff.”