Capt. Tom" Henry already was a popular and accomplished charter boat captain for two decades when he was fatally injured this weekend in a freak accident at the Jupiter Inlet.
"He's a legend now," longtime friend and fellow charter captain Louis A. Mauro said today.
Henry, 61, of Jupiter, died this afternoon from injuries suffered when he fell off his charter boat, the Waterdog, at midday Friday, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro confirmed.
Henry had been pulled out of the water by Palm Beach County lifeguards and taken to St. Mary's Medical Center.
One mate and five clients also were aboard but were not hurt, Ferraro said Friday.
She said the incident still is under investigation, but heavy surf and very rough water conditions were reported at the time.
Jason Cardenale of Samana Expert Fishing Charters, also based at Jupiter Seasport Marina, said today he wondered if Henry had had some medical issue as the Waterdog approached the inlet.
"He was so knowledgeable. He's gone in that inlet a thousand times," Cardenale said.
"He was a great guy. We all boat together. We all boat out of that inlet," Mauro said. "For this to happen - I don't get it."
The inlet, Mauro said, "does get tough. Even for a pro. I've had my problems with the inlet too. Anybody that goes out of Jupiter Inlet as a charter knows that it's a nasty inlet."
Henry had been an attorney in Maryland but later became a charter captain, coming to Palm Beach County during winters, Mauro said.
He said he and Henry and two other men won a 1986 tournament off New Jersey by catching a 77-lb. white marlin.
"Tom Henry's known everywhere from Maine to Key West. The Bahamas. All over the place," Mauro said.
He said Henry is survived by his wife, Pat, and a brother.
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