Helaina Eve Rotondi (@Helaina.Eve on Instagram) fishes frequently — in spite of holding down jobs as a dental assistant and a bartender.
“I live on a canal, so I try to get out every day,” she says. “If I have some free time, I’ll run out for an hour or so and see if I can get something to bite.”
The Davie, Florida resident is originally from Virginia, where she fished as a kid.
“I probably started when I was around ten,” Helaina says. “We always had creeks and ponds nearby, and we’d go fish for bass.”
Even after moving to Florida — “I needed a change” — as an adult, Helaina still chases bass.
“Peacock bass are my favorite fish to hunt,” she says. “They fight hard and they’re beautiful.”
But it’s not all about the bass for Helaina.
“Florida is definitely a more exciting place to fish,” she says. “I’ve been here for three years, and I keep learning more techniques and catching more species.”
She’s even gone offshore a couple of times.
“My first time, we went out after snapper,” Helaina says. “And last weekend, I went mahi fishing for the first time. It was awesome! I’m looking to go swordfishing soon; I have a friend who said he’d take me when he gets back from fishing off Massachusetts.”
For the most part, though, Helaina is an inshore gal.
“Like I said, I love chasing peacock bass but also tarpon, snook, trout — brackish water species.”
I asked Helaina where her favorite place to fish is.
Helaina mixes up her bait choices when targeting peacocks.
“I’ll use lures — I have a Rapala and a Yozuri that I like — or live bait like mullet,” she says.
Her personal best peacock is respectable, but Helaina is hoping to do better.
“The biggest one I’ve caught was like four-and-a-half or five pounds,” she says. “But I’m looking for a ten-pounder.”
As much as she loves fishing for peacocks, Helaina is excited about the wide variety of fishes in Florida.
“I love to target new species,” she says. “Before I moved here, I had no idea there were this many in Florida. I would love to travel the world and fish!”
Reeling is more to Helaina than just catching fish.
“Fishing keeps my mind busy,” she says. “It’s a therapy thing. It helps me relax.”