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Shelby Callison: A ‘reel’ cowgirl

Although she just earned a BS in Agriculture (with honors, no less) from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC), Shelby Callison (@ShelbyCallison_ on Instagram) wants to work in the marine industry.

“I’m planning on moving to South Florida in a few months, and I’m hoping to find something down there,” she says. “If I don’t find something in the marine industry, there’s a lot of agriculture in Florida, too.”

Although she’s from McDonough, Georgia — just south of Atlanta — and currently lives in Tifton, Georgia (where she attended ABAC), Shelby is no stranger to the ocean. In fact, a marine environment is her preferred environment.

“I grew up fishing with my granddaddy,” she says. “When I was real little I was just happy to be there with him, standing on a dock or the shore with my line in the water.”

It didn’t take long for her competitive edge to kick in.

“Then we started bass fishing, which was a little more challenging,” Shelby says. “But when I was 14, my daddy took me fishing offshore out of Daytona — and I’ve never looked back. It’s the only kind of fishing I want to do.”

But offshore fishing is not all she does. She’s also a competitive barrel racer.

“That’s the reason I’m thinking about the West Palm Beach area,” Shelby says. “The equestrian center is there, and there’s a competitive rodeo circuit.”

If she doesn’t find what she’s looking for right away, she has a back-up plan.

“I suppose I could always just crash with Hunter in Key West,” Shelby says, referring to marine photographer Hunter Ledbetter.

She was recently trapped with Hunter on Key West when Tropical Storm Alberto blew through on Memorial Day weekend.

“I was there to fish the tournament, and I wasn’t about to leave,” Shelby says. But, with no flights off the island, she caught a ride with a friend to Port St. Lucie, Florida, rented a car and drove back to Georgia from there.

Tournament fishing is something that Shelby is particularly excited about.

“It feeds my love of fishing and my competitive spirit at the same time,” she says.

At this point, though, there’s nothing she likes better than fishing for mahi mahi (dolphin).

“When I fished my first Dolphin Derby, we went out and caught nothing but this little peanut of a fish,” Shelby says. “It was the hardest fish I ever worked to catch.”

But that did nothing to dampen her enthusiasm for mahi.

“They’re my favorite fish! I love them,” she says. “I prefer to run and troll than to just sitting there waiting for something to hit.”

She caught her first bull mahi fishing with Skye Stanley and Blue Heaven Charters off Islamorada.

“It was last summer and it was such a fun fight,” Shelby says. “That bull was jumping and when we got it to the boat, I saw it go through its color changes. Mahi are such beautiful fish!”

Along with fueling her competitive nature, fishing also feeds her soul.

“I love the beauty of fishing,” Shelby says. “No matter what you’re targeting, you never know what you’re going to catch. And you’re just out there enjoying nature. The ocean is magical…”

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Blog Posts Salt

Darcie Arahill: Winter in South Florida is a Saltwater Fishing Fanatic’s Dream

If Jack Frost is starting to put a damper on your weekend fishing trips close to home, then perhaps it’s time to throw the winter coat back in the closet and plan a trip to sunny South Florida for a little offshore fishing.

 

With average highs in the mid 70s through the month of December, coupled with large weather fronts putting many saltwater fish on the move, conditions are perfect for any fisher venturing to South Florida this winter.

 

Recently we had the chance to speak with Darcie Arahill, an offshore angler hailing from Boynton Beach, Florida, about offshore fishing in the coming months now that things are cooling off a bit in Palm Beach County.

 

Reelerz.com: What is the best part about fishing in southeast Florida?

 

Darcie Arahill: Number one is the weather. I get to fish year round when it’s actually nice out and I don’t have to worry about snow or anything like that.

 

R: What types of saltwater fish will you be targeting in the coming months?

 

DA: With winter coming up [the cooler weather] is actually going to make the fishing better for our area. With the north winds coming through, the cold fronts will be pushing a lot of sailfish to Boynton Beach. Another reason why our area is called Sailfish Alley is because the Gulf Stream comes so close to us here, and hundreds upon thousands of sailfish funnel through our area. A lot of great sailfish tournaments will be coming up soon!

 

Also, the bigger mahi-mahi will be moving through our area over the next couple of months. I will be doing a lot of kite fishing, which is just one of the things we do over here on our coast. Kite fishing is specifically for sailfish, but you can catch mahi, kingfish, sharks . . . pretty much anything [when you are] doing the kite fishing. Way different type of fishing, but it’s awesome!

 

R: Do you have a dream catch?

 

DA: I have a few, but I would definitely love to land a 100-pound tarpon. I have landed a small one before, but I really, really want to catch one of those monster six-foot-plus tarpons that do those crazy jumps, and see one of those beasts up close. They’re like dinosaurs, they are really cool looking fish, and very elusive. I’ve actually hooked quite a few of them, but every single time they spit the hook on me. I would really love the opportunity to bring one to the boat and actually see it up close and then go ahead and release him and see him swim away fine.

 

Want to follow Darcie Arahill’s offshore adventures? Check out her YouTube channel “Darcizzle Offshore,” featuring weekly videos, fishing reports and news from south Florida’s fishing scene. You can also follow Darcie on Twitter and Instagram, and like her on Facebook.

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Blog Posts Spear

Saltwater Spearfishing Gives Darcie Arahill A New Perspective

For many adventurers, the idea of spearfishing may evoke images of Bear Grylls diving head first into a tidal pool somewhere in the South Pacific, armed with little more than a keen eye and a sharp stick.

 

But the truth is the sport of spearfishing has morphed from its South Pacific origins into a popular modern-day activity that many top-water anglers are beginning to embrace as a way to gain perspective of the mysterious underwater world previously seen only by anglers’ circle hooks, cast nets and bait fish.

 

Recently we had the chance to speak with Darcie Arahill to talk about her new adventures into the exciting world of saltwater spearfishing.

 

Reelerz.com: One thing that really peaked our interest was your journey into the world of spearfishing. Are you pretty new to the sport?

 

Darcie Arahill: Growing up, I’ve always done snorkeling for lobsters and whatnot, so I’m pretty [comfortable] in the ocean. I’m a great swimmer, and I can dive down right now to twenty feet deep.

 

Spearfishing gives you a whole different outlook on what you’re looking for in the water. Usually when you’re [topside] fishing, you’re up on a boat and not really sure of what’s going on down there, but when you get in the water and you’re with the fish and can see the environment they’re in, it really gives you the upper advantage.

 

[This advantage] not only helps while you’re spearfishing underwater to catch fish, but also in general so you have a better idea of what fish are doing down there, like, “okay, they’re actually over here right now when the tide is moving.” I think it gives me a huge advantage just being down there and seeing what’s going on versus just fishing from a boat.

 

It’s also a really cool experience to be in the water with them in their own environment. It’s a good learning process; each fish behaves differently when you’re trying to shoot one. I’m definitely looking forward to learning more. I’ve only shot a couple of fish, I’ve shot my first lionfish and a couple of mangrove snapper, but I’m looking forward to getting better at it!

 

Want to follow Darcie Arahill’s offshore adventures? Check out her YouTube channel “Darcizzle Offshore,” featuring weekly videos, fishing reports and news from south Florida’s fishing scene. You can also follow Darcie on Twitter and Instagram, and like her on Facebook.

 

All photos by Darcie and her team.

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Blog Posts Salt

Offshore Fishing with Darcie Arahill is The Reel Deal

For fishing enthusiasts preferring a little peace and quiet, heading out to a tranquil lakeshore or a secluded pond to wet a hook is as good as it gets.

Darcie Arahill is not that kind of angler.

 

A Miami native born and raised just minutes from some of the best offshore fishing in the world, Darcie Arahill–known to her YouTube fans as Darcizzle–puts an adrenaline-charged spin on saltwater fishing that has reeled in over 100,000 social media fans, followers and likes, with no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

 

Arahill has been a self-described “water baby” from the start. “I’ve been fishing since the age of three years old,” Arahill told Reelerz.com. “I started fishing with my dad [on his] 18-foot Gheenoe, and every summer we would go snapper fishing and lobstering together.” According to Darcie, she’s been hooked ever since.

 

With her proximity to some of the best offshore fishing in the world, it’s easy to see why Arahill is still having fun on the water. “Over the last four years, I’ve been offshore fishing out of Boynton Beach, Florida. The Gulf Stream comes closest to our coast here than any other part of the US, bringing with it an abundance of fish funneling between the Bahamas and Florida. The sailfish that come through here make Boynton Beach an offshore angler’s paradise!”

 

Arahill’s love of sport fishing is rivaled only by her dedication to it: between a full-time job during the day and college courses at night, she still finds time to hit the high seas. “Sometimes we will get out there before work for a couple of hours and go wahoo fishing, and then we’ll come back in and I’ll get to work by nine, and then I’ll go [back out] after work.”

 

Living the salt life while making zero excuses. When it comes to offshore fishing, Darcie Arahill is the reel deal.

Photo: The photo above is a screen grab from one of Darcie’s videos. You can see the entire video here.

 

Want to follow Darcie Arahill’s offshore adventures? Check out her YouTube channel “Darcizzle Offshore,” featuring weekly videos, fishing reports and news from south Florida’s fishing scene. You can also follow Darcie on Twitter and Instagram, and like her on Facebook.

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Blog Posts Salt

Captain Krista Tucker: A Bigger Badass Than You

If you think no one lives the Salt Life better than you, then you obviously haven’t met Captain Krista Tucker.

 

It’s no secret that sport fishing has been a male-dominated sport since its glorious conception, but trailblazers like Captain Krista have recently been giving the fellas a run for their money. One look at Ms. Tucker’s Instagram and you’ll soon discover the cigar-smoking 25-year-old Sea School graduate can likely outfish you, outsail you, and outdrink you–all while using her epic hashtag skills to inform her 10,000-plus followers that you just got beat by a girl.

 

captkrista2
Krista hauls in a monster tarpon AND maintains the smile.

Tucker has reeled in large audiences through various social-media outlets such as YouTube and Instagram, while inspiring women all over the world to ditch the labels and cast a line. Although most women have come around to the notion that recreational fishing isn’t for the good ‘ole boys alone, many ladies are even more reluctant to give professional sport fishing a shot.

 

“That’s why I have a lot of guy friends,” says Tucker, a traveling angler, adventurer and Under Armour sponsored athlete. Tucker acknowledged most women would likely fall in love with the sport if they would just give it a try.

 

“You enjoy fishing more when you’re good at it, and a lot of women aren’t exposed to it, or have had someone to throw them into it and show them what to do. It can be discouraging, maybe even a little embarrassing, to try [fishing] and not be so good at it.”

 

Tucker may be downright outnumbered by her male counterparts, but she does have one friend, Cindy Nguyen, who is always on-board with booking a last-minute flight halfway around the globe for a few days of sport fishing and fast living. The two of them recently kicked off a female fishing expedition to Southeast Asia, where the barramundi and pacu populations are sure to take a hit by the time the ladies leave town.  

 

“My friend’s whole family is from Vietnam. We’ll be traveling to some islands in the region as well, so I’m bringing fly rods, spinning rods . . . I’ve got pretty much everything on deck for that. I’m getting on a 16-hour flight and seeing where it goes.”

 

Traveling to the other side of the world for the promise of a bite or two. Who says girls don’t take sport fishing seriously?

 

To learn more about Captain Krista Tucker’s fishing adventures, check out her Facebook page, and be sure to follow her on Instagram.