Sink or Swim

Category: Fishing


In December of 2013, I was on vacation in Florida from Canada and went fishing for the very first time. I was terrified in the beginning, having zero experience with saltwater life or the ocean itself. A friend and I went out on kayaks on a perfectly calm and sunny day, yet still I was white-knuckling the paddle. I was sure that once we put the shrimp in the water, every gnarled-toothed shark in the ocean would be sent into a feeding frenzy in the dark unknown depths below us. As it turned out, we survived. I had a wonderful day and hooked up on a fat blue fish, which dragged me around for a few moments in the kayak. The fish was released, but I was hooked for life.

Back in Canada, in the middle of winter, I found myself obsessing over fishing photos on the web. I could no longer handle my separation anxiety, so I decided I would move to Florida.

Three months later, I packed up my bags and drove myself to Sarasota. I spent a week fishing all day, everyday. I met many wonderful anglers who were very helpful and eager to show me the tricks of the trade. I was so moved by the lovely response that I received from the fishing community that I began to wonder if I might be able to make a living fishing.

I started calling inshore fishing charters and was laughed off on every call “I’m a one man show” was the most common response, usually stated in a tone highlighting my naivety. I was not deterred however; I simply took this to mean I would have to call bigger boats.

My next call was to Captain Jason of bad habit sport fishing charters. I promptly explained that I had no experience but that I was ready to learn all that I could, and break my back in the process. He agreed to give me a chance.

Later that week I was at the boat at 5:00 am for my very first day. With my Captain and another mate, who was there to train me, we got the boat ready and set off.

By 7:00 am we picked up the 6 enthusiastic clients and began our day. We drove out for what seemed like hours and maybe it was. “Have you ever been sea-sick?!” Captain Jason shouted back to me. “No, sir” I responded, thinking in that I had never even been on a boat to get sick from. I didn’t even know the difference between port and starboard and here I was on a boat with 8 men, headed out into the middle of the unknown. What had I gotten myself into? I had been forthcoming about my inexperience, but had not confessed to anyone my deep fear of the ocean. I was absolutely terrified.

Hours and many miles later, it was time for my real test, the dreaded anchor. I was warned that this would be the hardest part of my job and told that I would likely fail. With the sea legs of a fawn on ice, I shimmied up the side of the boat with the other mate to drop the anchor. It seemed simple enough but I could not stand on the bow without falling and shaking from pure fear and adrenaline. I let the anchor go with my hands so tight on the rope that it burned me and started bleeding instantly.
I watched yard after yard of rope get sucked into the depths knowing I would be the one to haul it back up in a few minutes.

After fishing for a while, filling my wounded hands with fish guts, the time had come to pull anchor. We went back up to the bow and I watched the mate lean way over the front to attach the anchor ball. As he struggled with it I thought to myself that I would never be able to do that. With all the adrenaline how would I ever be able to dangle myself over the bow like that? I swallowed my fear, grabbed the rope and started hauling. 100+ft of rope, 30 ft. of chain and a 30-pound anchor later, I had done it!

We returned to the back of the boat and as I huffed and puffed I turned to the other mate and said “how long are we out for today?” Surprised that I had not been informed how long our shift was, he told me “10 hours” I thought, crap, I had better get something to eat. I went below and grabbed some beef jerky and a banana. When I came back up everyone was freaking out and saying “Throw that banana overboard right now”. I asked, “Is that a joke?” and they responded, “Captain says lose the banana, you had better toss it”. Feeling like the audience in the final scene of titanic, I watched my precious nutrient filled banana sink into the water and out of sight. Lesson #850, Bananas are bad luck on a fishing boat.

Around 5:00 pm we arrived back at the dock to clean all the fish we had caught. We had a Limit of amberjack, a limit of grouper and a few other fish in our medley so we rolled them onto the dock. We had attracted a large group of people in absolute awe of our haul. It was a pretty cool feeling only enhanced by the relief of having survived a day of chasing my dream and battling my fears.

We dropped off our clients at the boat ramp where I received a mixed goodbye consisting of “Good job today”, “Hope to see you again in the future”, and “Come to your senses and quit”

This served only to reinforce how badass I was and I couldn’t have smiled bigger. I will never quit.

It has been a year and a half since that day and I now travel the world working on boats. People always ask me how I got to where I am now and this is the story. Big thanks to Captain Jason Sherrill for giving me my first break in this industry.

Frankly, luck only plays a small role when you book a fishing trip with Captain Quinlyn. She knows where to go; when to go there and during which time of year. Call Captain Quin for the best fishing there is. 504.920.6342




Our Clients Love Us ... And We Love Them Too!

Six hour in shore fishing with Quinlyn! Fantastic! 6 Hour Trip on February 3, 2021

In land fishing. Awesome experience Captain Quinlyn was awesome. Took us to a variety of spot to make sure we got our catch. She was wonderful! Very informative and helpful! Will definitely book her again!

Doug S.

While in Florida a few weeks ago. Decided to do a charter! We were surprised when we learned our captain was a female. She was awesome. Very knowledgeable about all the fish and the surrounding area. She took us inshore to all different spots to keep us catching fish. We were very happy with all of our catches! Do not hesitate in booking this charter, it was awesome!

Cindy S.

Came from MN to go fishing! Non-stop action, first-class service, and just an all-around good time. Highly recommend it to anyone looking to slay some fish!

Brendon B. / Andy V.

Fishing with Capt. Quinlyn was fun and we caught big fishes. Best memories! Will return!

Otso V.

Outstanding trip. LOTS of fish - outstanding crew. We had a great time!

Paul K.
Sleepy Hollow, NY

Captain Quin did a great job putting us on some fish in spite of less than perfect fishing conditions!

Robert O.
Webb City, MO

Captain was great. Fish not so much but look forward to fishing another day when we come down in the future. Would definitely recommend being able to get out further! She did put us on a Goliath Grouper which was awesome. Not a bad day at all. Thanks, Captain Quin.

Tyler B.
Peru, IN

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