“I’ve been fishing since before I remember,” she says. “There are pictures of me when I was about five years old holding fish. I started by fishing off the back dock of my grandparents’ house on Lake Okeechobee.”
It was her dad that introduced Larissa to fishing. And clearly, she started out as a freshwater angler.
But she had an epiphany when she started fishing Florida’s coastal waters.
“I was introduced to saltwater fish,” Larissa says. “And I was like, ‘Oh! This is really good!’ It was a different thing altogether.!”
These days, Larissa spends most of her fishing time offshore.
“These days I’m usually out on the water trying to get my wahoo,” she says. “I have yet to get one. That’s next on my bucket list.”
Apart from her wahoo, though, Larissa has a pretty solid offshore track record.
“I caught my first swordfish,” she says. “It weighed in at about 400 pounds, so I’m probably pretty spoiled. I can hold off catching another one for a little bit so that I’m not disappointed.”
But Larissa’s heart belongs to mahi.
She’s still chasing a big bull, though.
“I still want to get a big one,” she says. “I’ve caught decent-sized ones, but I still want to catch a good sixty-pounder.
Although, most of her reeling is offshore, Larissa still finds time to do some occasional inshore fishing.
“I go down to to Islamorada and fish with some charters down there,” she says. “We go after mangrove snapper and trout mainly.”
With all the time she spends on the water, Larissa needs to make sure she’s outfitted with the right gear and apparel. Recently, she tryed some pieces from TH20 Gear — who make apparel to reflect the mahi colors that Larissa loves so much.
“I love it,” she says. “It’s bright and vibrant. It really gets people’s attention — which is always good.”
She even modeled some of the apparel for a shoot with renowned marine photographer, Tony Ludovico.
When she’s not fishing herself, she’s an insurance agent (“I sell AFLAC — I sell the duck.”) and she’s teaching her 10-year-old son to fish, as well.
“He loves it,” Larissa says. “He likes bottom fishing because he feel it — there’s more action to bottom and ishore fishing, as opposed to trolling for mahi.”
To a certain extent, it doesn’t matter to Larissa whether she catches whatever species she is targeting.
“My favorite part about fishing is always seeing what is going to come up,” she says. “Because, obviously, even if you’re fishing for a specific species, you still don’t know what’s going to be on the end of the rod. I love looking for the color, whether I’m the one holding the rod or I have the gaff — what is it going to be? That excitement… that’s the adrenaline rush I love so much.”
But regardless of why she’s on the water, H20 is a big part of Larissa’s life.
“Fishing clears my mind,” she says. “It makes me at peace. Out on the water, I’m away from everything — usually, I don’t even have cell phone service — I can not think about everything else that’s going on. It’s my get-away place, whether I’m catching fish or not, just being out on the water makes me happy. It’s how I deal with life when it’s rough.”