Angling Right: Inshore Fishing in Fort Myers, FL

I’ve just returned from vacation in Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast–a region comprising Fort Myers, Naples, and Marcos Island. My family and I enjoyed some much-needed R&R and no shortage of outdoor fun. Of course, our trip included some world-class fishing too!

My dad and I were lucky to fish with the delightful Debbie Hanson of SheFishes2 and Take Me Fishing, along with her husband Greg Stamper of Stamp Snook Charters. (You should book a trip with Captain Greg!) We spent half of the day doing some inshore fishing and were fruitful in our catches. We caught upwards of 10 different fish species–mangrove snapper, common snook, red drum, permit, a shark, pompano, a stingray, saltwater catfish, and more.

Most of the fish we caught were caught on a catch-and-release basis for size and conservation purposes. (And that’s perfectly fine.) We were able to keep several fish for consumption, so that was a bonus.

I used circle hooks for the first time and they surely didn’t disappoint! In fact, both Debbie and Greg said these hooks are more effective for reeling in fish without incurring too much damage on the fish. (How about that for efficiency and conservation???) I think I’m going to have to incorporate them into my fishing repertoire  from now on–especially for fishing here in the Commonwealth of Virginia!

Below are some pictures of our catches:


Me holding the first catch of the day: a decent Jack Crevalle fish. It was released afterwards.


Me holding an undersized mangrove snapper before releasing it back to the water.


Here’s a picture of my dad holding a permit fish. Captain Greg told us that the permit fish, when they achieve full size, is a prized game fish.


I caught several undersized red drum fish, including this one pictured here. Isn’t it beautiful?


Another shot of the red drum I caught and then released. I love the spotted markings.


What a good little conservationist I am! See- we conservatives love nature without a radical agenda.


Pictured here is a Ladyfish. They’re only useful as bait, ad evidenced by the snook I caught.


I was hoping to land a snook while down in Florida, and I did. This is my most prized game fish catch ever!


When we arrived back to the harbor, we were greeted by some feathery friends. From left to right: Great Egret, then snowy egret eager to steal some of our fish


This Great egret wanted our fish. He/she wasn’t victorious.

The whole fishing crew: Dad, Captain Greg, Debbie, and me Credit: Debbie Hanson

The whole fishing crew: Dad, Captain Greg, Debbie, and me
Credit: Debbie Hanson

Prior to fishing, here are some tips to ensure you have a great trip:

  1. Get a good night’s sleep
  2. Wear sunscreen
  3. Arrive earlier
  4. Pack a light snack and some water
  5. Take Dramamine if prone to sea-sickness
  6. Have fun!

Planning on fishing in SW Florida soon? Make sure you book Captain Greg for your next fishing excursion.

Follow Snook Stamper Charters on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Follow She Fishes 2 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Have you fished in Fort Myers, FL? Let me know if you had a great fishing experience below!

Southwest Florida is a Little Slice of Paradise

I’ve just returned from a week-long family vacation in Southwest Florida and feel more rejuvenated than ever! And we averted coming into close contact with Hurricane Joaquin. (Thank goodness.)

This was my third time to Florida and my first time to Florida’s  Gulf Coast. Previously, I’ve been to Daytona Beach/St. Augustine and Fort Lauderdale/Miami. How does the SW Gulf Coast differ from the SE Atlantic Coast? I learned that the Gulf Coast is quite shallow in comparison to the Atlantic Coast. There are more conservatives in Gulf Coast FL than leftists. And SW Florida is a far more affordable place to live in. However,  both Floridian coasts have a charm about them.

For those of you who’ve yet to venture to SW FL, the region comprises the Paradise Coast (Naples, Everglades, Marco Island) and Fort Myers. We mostly stayed in Naples.



Naples Beach and Pier after heavy rains

Naples reminded me of a more laid back, tropical La Jolla (my college town). It was serene, safe, affluent, and cozy–a quiet beachside town full of surprises. The place we frequented most was Naples Beach. (Sadly didn’t have time to check out Delnor-Wiggins State Beach and Vanderbilt Beach.) Naples’ beaches stretch seven miles long and are home to sandy, white shores.


Heavenly sunset draping the Gulf of Mexico


Blue skies and ultra-violet rays above Naples Beach and Pier

Naples boasts two points-of-interests tourists should be privy on checking out by foot. (In lieu of exercise, I recommend walking around town: great way to burn calories and stay active!) One is Fifth Avenue while the other is Tin City.  The former is adorned by cute shops and restaurants. At night, lights glisten and brighten the street by making this hot-spot more romantic and inviting. The latter was a tad more underwhelming but still worth visiting. It is largely comprised of fishing boats and seafood restaurants.


I wish I had more time to explore Fort Myers as it’s got a lot to offer. I did, however, go fishing in Estero Bay and will have a post about my fishing trip up shortly for you all to read about. Historically speaking, Ft. Myers is home to the winter homes belonging to Henry Ford (“The Mangoes”) and Thomas Edison (“Seminole Lodge”). Additionally, it boasts some very beautiful beaches and other great attractions. I hope to visit again and explore more of its hidden gems.


Mangroves in Estero Bay…Abound with tranquility and good fishing


I had read extensively about the islands of Sanibel and Captiva, and felt it was imperative to pay a visit. This particular inlet is renowned for its shelling, world-class fishing, turquoise waters, pristine beaches, wildlife, and  island life. We were crunched for time and without a car – we relied heavily on Uber- so we visited Sanibel Lighthouse Beach. In order to access this island, one must cross a toll bridge.


Historic Sanibel Lighthouse

While soaking in some rays, we saw several dolphins- including a mother and her baby- frolicking near shore. It was truly a wonderful sight!


Dolphins swimming around Sanibel Island

Had there not been the aforementioned constraints, we would have visited Bowman Beach and ventured north to Captiva Island.

All in all, I could see myself coming back to SW Florida in the near future. Great beaches, great food, nice people, and superb sport fishing–I couldn’t ask for a more relaxing vacation!

Learn more about SW Florida, check out Paradise Coast and Fort  Myers-Sanibel!

Want to connect with me? Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Angling Right: Saltwater Fishing in Solomons Island


Beautiful view of Solomons Island

Happy Fishing Friday, everyone! It’s been a while since I last posted anything “Angling Right” related,  so I’ll remedy that today.

Last Sunday, my dad and I ventured out to the Chesapeake Bay to fish at Solomons Island, MD. Solomons is marked by the confluence of the Patuxent River and Chesapeake Bay–making it a unique fishing spot. To put it simply, it’s a hybrid of saltwater fishing and freshwater fishing without the turbulence you normally find in deep sea fishing. (Both saltwater and freshwater fishing are enjoyable!)

My dad and I decided on Bunky’s Charter Boats for our first Chesapeake Bay fishing experience. Affordability, high return on investment, and proximity  to our home were factored into our decision. And we were pleased with the results!

Bunky’s has decent options for their Head Boat bottom fishing trips. From Thursday to Monday, anglers can choose to fish from either 7am-2pm or 3pm-8pm half-day trips. The cost is $45/per person. Bait and rod are excluded from the price. ($5.00 rod rental is available.)

Below is a view where the Patuxent River and Chesapeake Bay converge:

Where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay

Where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay

I’m pictured below with our final catch:


I caught 11 spot fish, while my dad caught 14 fish.

Here’s a closer look at our final catch. Each spot fish averages 7″-9″ a piece, which wasn’t too shabby.


Our final catch: 25 fish. Not too shabby for our first Chesapeake fishing experience!

If you plan to fish with Bunky’s Charter Boats, take the following into consideration:

1) Get a good night’s rest and arrive early: My dad and I woke up at the ungodly hour of 4am to make the 7am trip. While this was inconvenient, in retrospect, sacrificing sleep proved fruitful for us. Whether you prefer early morning fishing or afternoon fishing, make sure to arrive early as this place operates on a first-come, first-serve basis.

2) Take Dramamine if you’re prone to sea-sickness: As I’ve written before, take any precautions prior to fishing to ensure the best fishing experience. Though the Chesapeake is fairly tame, the boat will occasionally rock back and forth–adversely affecting buoyancy by triggering motion sickness. Always come prepared!

3) Pack light food and drinks: It’s essential to eat before and during any fishing excursion. Pack light food and refreshments. I prefer to eat fruits (apples), vegetables (cucumbers), beef jerky, and sandwiches, while coupling it with plenty of water, sip by sip. Normally alcohol is forbidden aboard most charters, but some people brought their own. Use discretion if you wish to consume alcohol.

4) Use blood worms as bait to maximize catch rate: This bait produced the most results for us. Spot fish ate them up like crazy! They are available for purchase from the tackle shop. I recommend cutting them into quarter pieces to better utilize them and not waste money on bait.

5) Wear sunscreen: Summer is in full swing, so the sun is quite powerful. Wear sunscreen to prevent any unnecessary sunburns or to get a nice farmer’s tan. It’s up to you!

6) Don’t go fishing by yourself: I prefer to not fish alone, and neither should you! I always go with my dad because he taught me everything I know about fishing. Bring a friend, companion, family member, or significant other!

To learn more about Bunky’s Charter Boats, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Stay tuned for another “Angling Right” post soon!

New Counter Cultured Article: Celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week

I’ve penned a new column about National Fishing and Boating Week. Below is an excerpt:

Who here loves to go fishing and boating? It’s time to gear up for National Fishing and Boating Week!

From June 6-14, 2015, anglers and boating enthusiasts  – new or seasoned, young or old – can show their support by getting out on the water. What are some benefits to fishing? It’s an excellent way to destress, connect with nature, and tout true conservation.

Continue reading at Counter Cultured.

Support Free-Market Environmentalism On This #EarthDay


Today is Earth Day and V.I. Lenin’s birthday. Coincidence? I think not.

Unbeknownst to many, Earth Day founder Ira Einhorn—who hosted the first Earth Day event in Philadelphia on this day in 1970—killed and later composted his girlfriend. Talk about being environmentally-friendly…

The question beckons: can one be pro-environment without having the same radical fervor as those on the Left do? Answer: hell yes. Conservatism and stewardship go hand-in-hand. We seek to improve our environment without the duress of big government and nanny statism which seek to control every facet of our lives.

You can only be pro-environment if you support abortion or population control since kids are a burden and overpopulation is a real threat, respectively, they say. (Ridiculous.) You can only be pro-environment if you chastise and undermine anglers, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts, they say. (Fun fact: our taxpayer dollars and fees we pay to bolster the outdoor industry do more for conservation than these “greenies” have.) You can only be pro-environment if you are vehemently opposed to free markets, gas/drilling/oil, or lead, they say. You can only be pro-environment if you tow the line and wholly accept that “climate change” exists and is anthropogenic (man-made), they say. (Hello? Have you met Mother Nature?)

Too bad efforts to bolster our environment have been stymied by hypocrites who profit from fearmongering, statists who wish to control us, and crony capitalists who benefit from backroom deals. Our quality of life here on Earth, especially here in the U.S., has been bolstered by free markets, innovation, and human achievement. To rid of these would be detrimental to our way of life.

Environmentalism should be rooted in limited government, freedom, and the right-to-life, not rooted in pro-death policies. Happy ‪#‎EarthDay‬!

Angling Right: Getting Jiggy With Lures

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

These past two weekends, my father and I had the chance to go out to some local fishing holes here in Northern Virginia. While we weren’t fruitful in our catches – bites were minimal, temperatures were chilly, and wind conditions were less than satisfactory- we were able to test out some lures.

Now that I’ve been actively fishing for half my life – I turned 24 a few weeks ago – I have learned how to modify my technique and adapt in order to become more adept at angling.

What is a lure? It’s artificial bait and comes in the form of poppers, spinners, jigs, blades, plugs and spoons. (Learn more about freshwater and saltwater lures here.)

Normally, my fishing rod is retrofitted with a weight and live bait (preferably night crawler worms in freshwater or shrimp/squid for saltwater) but I haven’t really used lures before. To most people, lures are used for added effect and to entice game fish such as the elusive largemouth bass. Using lures is a matter of preference, but can go a long way in maximizing one’s reach and catch rate. Here’s more about the use of lures from Learning How to Fish:

When building a tackle selection one must consider the species of fish you’re targeting along with the season you’re fishing in. Expert fishermen understand seasonal locations of fish and the proper presentation, meaning the choice of lure and how to retrieve it. This builds confidence knowing how to fish the proper lure at the proper depth to maximize your catch rate, and catching fish is the quickest way to gain confidence.

I plan to incorporate lures into my fishing repertoire to improve my chances of catching larger fish. As weather conditions begin to warm up, look out for some fishing posts from yours truly!

Have you used lures? What types of lures do you recommend? Let me know below!


Angling Right: Gear Up for Fishing Season!

Who else is excited for fishing season to start up again? I know I am!

I’ll be returning to the water this Sunday. (Post to follow!)


Last spring, I launched a series of blog posts called “Angling Right” to help generate interest in fishing among members of my generation. I’m happy it’s been well-received by my fellow Millennial anglers and those curious about becoming anglers!

Starting March 15th, this Sunday, fishing weather in Virginia is slated to be off-the-hook (pun-intended)!

Need more reasons to go fishing? Take Me Fishing’s Debbie Henson explains below:

  1. Fishing is a physical activity that can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. The sports of fishing and boating encourage you to use your arms to cast and your legs to walk from one spot to another or to steady yourself on the boat deck.
  1. Fishing uses brain power. When you start getting into fishing, you use brain power to research things like tides, weather, water conditions and areas of structure. Every time you go fishing, you can learn something new.
  1. Fishing can give you a rush of happiness that is much more sustainable than a sugar rush. When you catch a big fish, you are on “cloud nine” for days, and smile from ear to ear every time you think about the good fishing memories you have made.
  1. The feelings of accomplishment that come from learning new fishing skills are sweeter. Think about how good it feels when you master a new skill. When you learn how to throw a cast net or tie a new fishing knot, you get those sweet feelings of accomplishment and success.

I couldn’t agree more!

Here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are a lot of untapped fishing spots to explore.  This may sound sacrilegious to write, but I’ve found more fishing opportunities here in Virginia than in Southern California. (Sorry, home state!)  I’ve been doing extensive research on local fishing spots to see which ones are good and have optimal returns on investment. Luckily for my family and I, there are plenty of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans spots to choose from within a 50 mile radius–even as close as two miles!

Here are some places I’ll be visiting and/or blogging about this fishing season:

  • Riverbend Park – Great Falls, VA (Loudon County): This fishing spot is located just north of Great Falls Park in McLean/Great Falls, VA. This area is known for its hiking spots plus decent fishing. Crappie, perch, and small bass are common
  • Pohick Bay – Lorton, VA (Prince William County): Pohick Bay is located in Prince William County, which neighbors Fairfax County to the southwest.
  • Little Hunting Creek – Alexandria, VA (Fairfax County): This is my new favorite fishing spot. It’s easily accessible and is a unique body of water since it’s the intersection of the Potomac River and Little Hunting Creek. My dad and I have caught catfish, eel, and perch/small bass here. People reportedly catch largemouth bass and shad (herring) here.
  • Occoquan Reservoir – Occoquan, VA (Prince William County): I also discovered and fell in love with this fishing spot last year. It’s huge and surrounded by beautiful nature. Plus, the fish there actively bite.
  • Naples, FL – I look forward to deep-sea or backwater fishing here later this year.

I hope you join in on some fishy fun this year! If you haven’t gone fishing before, it’s never too late to start.

Check out Take Me Fishing, Field and Stream, North American Fishing, Keep America Fishing, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and Gander Mountain to get started.

Do you plan to fish this year or introduce someone to fishing? Comment below!