When I spoke with Sara Salt (@sara_salt_ on Instagram), she was worried about her finger.
“I just hurt my finger and I’m on my way to the Dominican Republic to fish in a marlin tournament,” she said. “When I caught my first one last year, it was a long, hard battle, and I don’t want my finger to hurt our chances in to the tournament.”
Sara’s first marlin was a 400-pound blue that she hooked on light tackle and boated standing up. She wasn’t quite sure if her finger was up for another battle with a monster marlin.
“But the captain says we just need to boat blue marlins. It’s not about the weight, so I should be okay,” she said.
Needless to say, the native Panamanian is a bit of a badass.
Fishing out of Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic on Electric Bill, Sara and the crew did not end up placing in the tournament, but they did release a lot of marlins.
“Too bad they weren’t all blues,” Sara wrote on Instagram.
When she’s not corralling billfish in exotic locales, Sara lives on the Florida panhandle near Destin.
She grew up near Panama City, Panama and has been fishing for most of her life.
“We moved back and forth between Panama and the United States,” she said. “But I remember spending time fishing on the beaches when I was a little girl. We’d also go spearfishing.”
And these days, there’s not much she would rather be doing, although Sara’s work in marketing and promotions for fishing and outdoor brands does sometimes get in the way.
“I would prefer to spend my days fishing,” she says. “It’s a passion: I wake up thinking about fishing, and I go to sleep thinking about fishing.”
When she fishes on her own, Sara likes to head out in her kayak.
“I like to hit the reefs for red snapper or grouper, or troll for mackerel or bonito. I even catch the occasional mahi off my kayak,” she says.
Sara is driven by the challenge of fishing.
“I’m always on to the next chase,” she says. “I’m chasing whatever is biting.”
She tries to get out on the water as often as she can—offshore, inshore or really, wherever she can find a place to throw a bait.
“If the wind is too stiff or the weather is really bad, if all else fails, I’ll hit the inland ponds and lakes,” she says. “Whatever it takes to fish.”
And for Sara, kayak fishing, in particular, is special.
“It’s just more rewarding when you’re self-propelled,” she says. “You get exercise, you’re out in nature and you catch your own meal. Win-win-win.”
Even beyond the physical rewards she loves, Sara feels a much deeper connectedness when she’s fishing from her kayak.
“It’s Zen. It’s good exercise and good for the soul,” she says. “That’s because kayak fishing is personal. You can be still and quiet, paddling out, alone with your thoughts.
“It’s spiritual and satisfying.”