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Fly/Fishing with Courtney Gandy

Courtney Gandy is an avid saltwater reeler. She loves both inshore and offshore fishing. She grew up fishing in the ocean and has been doing it her whole life.

And Courtney (@Quart_nay on Instagram) lives in… Phoenix?!

But wait — there’s much more to this story.

You see, Courtney just moved to Phoenix a few months ago, because it’s where the airline she works for is based.

A native of Florida, she is a flight attendant for a smaller airline that flies routes for one of the majors. And although she no longer lives near the ocean, her job affords Courtney the opportunity to fish in her old familiar spots as well as all sorts of places she may not otherwise have the chance to fish.

“I love it,” Courtney says. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had.”

And when she does get a chance to head home to the West Coast of Florida, Courtney loves to it the inshore waters.

“You know — snook, redfish, flounder trout,” she says. “I love Boca Grande, the Keys, Islamorada.”

But only one species has a firm grasp on Courtney’s imagination.

“Redfish,” she says. “They’re the best, but they’re so hard to find.”

When she goes after redfish, Courtney prefers to sight cast.

“But I have my own technique,” she says.

And she prefers to use live bait.

“Shiners. I never use artificial bait,” Courtney says. “I use a cast net to catch my own. And then I throw ’em out to the redfish. No extra special shit or anything.”

And she is an angler in no uncertain terms.

“I bait my own hook,” Courtney says. “I go through the eyes, nose and snout to give a realistic presentation. Or with pinfish, the tail.”

In spite of her love of redfish, her most memorable recent battle involved an entirely different species.

“There was a cobia that I just caught in Charlotte Bay, out of Boca Grande,” Courtney says. “It was awesome — it took a couple minutes to reel it in.”

That particular day was a good one for Courtney.

“I caught a 33 inch snook, and I put it back in the water,” she says. “And not ten minutes later I had this big cobia on my line.”

Courtney’s favorite fishery remains her home waters of Tampa Bay.

“But I do like to travel to other places like the Bahamas,” she says. “I’m looking forward to this sweet deep-sea fishing trip there in August. The dolphin are a lot bigger there than off West Florida.”

As an avid angler who now flies to new fishing destinations, she’s always looking for people to fish with. But she needs them to know a couple things first.

“I like to drink when I fish — fuck yeah!,” she laughs. “Mich Golden Draft.”

But, really, fishing is about more than the beer for Courtney.

“My body needs the salt water,” she says. “I can’t go a month or even two weeks without being on a boat. I love the water, I get to catch my own food… what’s not to love?”

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