Tampa Bay, Florida
How did you become a part of the Skinny Water Culture Collective?
I have lived in the Tampa Bay area for about 16 years and am an avid fly angler. My day job is in insurance and retirement planning but my passion is in outdoor recreation. I grew up bass fishing and riding motorcycles as a kid in Indiana then moved to Seattle, Washington after studying Recreation Administration in college. At Indiana University, I ran a rock climbing class for teens then started an inclusive day camp for kids who were disabled as well as currently able bodied teens called Teen Extreme. We focused on developing kids through outdoor education taking them spelunking, rock climbing, canoeing, horseback riding, hiking and any other outdoor activity I could think of. In Seattle, I spent my time riding motorcycles, mountain biking, snowboarding and salmon fishing. In the early 2000’s I re-located to Dunedin, Florida. As soon as I arrived in town, I bought a kayak and engrossed myself in the fishing in and around Tampa Bay. I was fortunate enough to have several amazing anglers take me under their wing and show me the ropes. My close friend Big John and his crew showed me how to successfully target snook, redfish and tarpon with live bait. Then Doctor Neilson, aka. Mo Henry, introduced me to fly fishing by inviting me with him and his buddy Fred down to the Ft. Desoto area. We jumped an approximately 150-pound tarpon on a fly in 5 to 7 foot deep crystal clear water that day, and that experience changed my life. I immediately started planning how I could obtain the boat and equipment I needed to chase this silver beast. About 12 years later my passion for chasing tarpon with a fly rod has continued. Luckily, I have an understanding wife and an eight year old son who also share in my passion for being on the water. My love for catching a tarpon on fly dims in comparison to my passion for seeing him and others experience the side of Florida that I find so enchanting. We try to spend every available opportunity soaking up the skinny water culture of the Gulf of Mexico. Along this journey, I met Vince and Jenn Stegura and gained a true appreciation for the company called Skinny Water Culture. Over the past several years, I have had the privilege of fishing with Vince and several of the SWC family. The common threads I’ve found among all of these people is a genuine love of life and willingness to help others in any way they can. Even as a very small company, they have stepped up in big ways to support the causes that they feel are worth while. I am excited to be a part of the SWC family and look forward to our future fishing adventures.
What are your hopes for the future of fishing?
Anglers have always been the backbone of water conservation in this country. No one knows the value of our natural ecosystem and how to protect it better than those who are passionate about it. I think we will see the next generation of anglers pick up the ball where we left it and continue to sustain the ecosystems that provide such a diverse fishery that we have in America. I hope that we will teach them the value of fishing not just killing every fish that we catch but the true value of communing with nature and all of the species that consider it home. Take what you need and leave the rest for the next person. Don’t kill animals simply because you can but rather to nourish yourself and family so they to can appreciate that bounty nature has to offer.