Sarah Ball (@chimmyfish on Instagram) was born and raised in the Sarasota, Florida area. Today, she still lives across the street from her childhood home.
“I grew up in Sarasota, my whole family was from the area,” Sarah says. “But my parents didn’t fish. They didn’t even like the beach.”
Sarah didn’t start fishing until her middle school boyfriend showed her the ropes. She’d tag along with him and his parents on offshore fishing trips and she was hooked.
Eventually, she came to love the water in all ways.
“My parents would let me ditch school to surf or go fishing,” Sarah says. “They didn’t do either but they thought it was good that I did. Those were the only reasons they let me ditch, though.”
Wait. Surfing in the Gulf of Mexico?
“Yeah! Sometimes we get a decent swell,” she says. “Especially in colder years.”
Sarah would ride her bike to the shore and the jetties to fish. She would go alone or meet friends.
“Or I’d make friends while I was there,” she laughed.
These days, Sarah enjoys both inshore and offshore fishing. When asked which she prefers, though, she can’t decide.
“They’re each too unique,” she says. “You can’t compare them. I love offshore fishing. But inshore fishing can be awesome if you go with the right people who know the right places and what to catch.”
Fishing looms large in Sarah’s life. She wanted to get on the pro staff of a local company, so she started urging Bluewater Gear to work with her.
“They kept putting me off,” she says. “But I turned down other opportunities because I wanted to work with a local business, so I held out for them. Finally, it all clicked.”
She’s also traveled extensively to feed her fishing cravings.
“I went to Nicaragua to catch a roosterfish,” Sarah says. “It was a bucket list fish for me. We went out and we weren’t getting anything, but I want to keep trying. I kept saying, ‘Una mas! Una mas!’ to get the captain to stay out longer.”
“Finally, on the last troll, I hooked into my roosterfish! They figure it weighed 80 pounds,” she says. “Roosterfish are protected, so I didn’t even have time to take a picture with it, because we needed to get it back in the water to keep it healthy.”
Sarah has more fishing adventures planned. She’s heading to Wyoming to go fly fishing on the Yellowstone River and is planning a trip to Costa Rica for some tarpon fishing.
“I want to try a lot of different things,” she says. “You’ll never know all there is to know about fishing. I am always learning when I’m out there.”
She’s also working on her diver certification and is interested in spearfishing. But for Sarah, fishing is not about the fish.
“On the water is where I’m most at home,” she says. “On the water, in the water, by the water.”
“I love fishing. There’s just something about it. It’s so peaceful just to be out there,” she says. “Even if you don’t catch anything, you can still see a gorgeous sunset at the end of the day. It gets you in the soft spot.”