Check out the story of our next BD Fishing Chick, Allison Stattner and learn what drives her to fish every second possible.
BD:Where do you live?
Allison Stattner:I live in Coconut Grove, Florida. I am originally from Avalon, New Jersey which is near Cape May.
BD:What is you occupation?
Allison Stattner:I went to University of Miami for my MBA/JD and worked for a commercial real estate developer managing land use/permits and approvals here in South Florida. After the loss of my father (and fishing partner) and the birth of my daughter, I decided to open a retail business on Miami Beach and spend more time fishing. I started an organization called Reel Love Inc. and the mission is “make fishing FUN for everyone”. It has evolved into creating children and family events and camps. I also participate in a lot of women’s seminars and events. It is very rewarding for me to volunteer at other organization’s programs and enrich my community through fishing.
BD:What are your other hobbies?
Allison Stattner:My other hobbies include cooking, gardening, beachcombing, shell collecting, and tennis.
BD:Who or what got you into fishing?
Allison Stattner:Growing up in a small beach town, I was lucky to spend my days on the sand and on the water. My father and I fished together since I was about 6 years old; when I was a little older, I’d take my seine net and bucket to disappear with my friends all day. My whole family fishes. My sisters and I fished the Islamorada Women’s Sailfish tournament for many years around 2004.
BD:How long have you been fishing?
Allison Stattner:As a kid, the Avalon Fishing pier and the jetty were my spots. Once a year we would charter a boat a go out into the Delaware Bay or Canyon trip. One of my sisters has a house near Hatteras, so we have always spent time in the Outer Banks fishing. My other sister lives in Surfside/Murrells Inlet, SC so we get on some inshore fish there but actually do more crabbing and clamming. I’ve fished all over Florida but can usually be found in Islamorada. Andros, Harbour Island, Marsh Harbor, Bimini, and the North Drop of ST Thomas. The next big trip I take will be to knock some pacific fish off my list – roosterfish and Pacific sailfish first off!
BD:What types of fishing have you done and where?
Allison Stattner:It may sound cheesy but when people ask me what kind of fishing I do, I always answer “Yes.” Ha ha. But it is true. I am usually offshore saltwater fishing but if the wind is howling for a few days, I hit some freshwater canals. I really enjoy knocking new species off my list. FWC runs a program called Catch a Florida Memory. I easily reached the 10-club but it wasn’t as simple to reach the 30-club, which I recently achieved. Just for fun… and I try to encourage the kids to join, especially as a constructive way to use their photos and tech time.
BD:What are some future goals or plans pertaining to fishing?
Allison Stattner:Future goals: growing my involvement in kids and ladies outdoors programs, marine conservation, fish internationally (be it a tournament or otherwise), continue to support organizations like The Billfish Foundation, IGFA, CCA. I just recently attended the IGFA Observer Training Course.
BD:What part of fishing do you like the most?
Allison Stattner:Some of my favorite things about fishing are:
- the ability to disconnect from the hustle, slow down, listen to nature.
- the challenge of picking a spot and figuring out the conditions, the bait and then executing that plan.
- the excitement of a big hook up, especially when you don’t know what you’re going to get until you see color!!
BD:Tell us about some of your proudest moments in fishing.
Allison Stattner:I love to tournament fish. So far in 2017, I have fished three tournaments and won all of them. In February I fished with my friend Capt. James Chappell and some other ladies on the Catchalottafish to win the Poor Girls Sailfish tournament in Islamorada. In March, I fished with my long time friend and Capt. Ray Rosher on the Miss Britt contender to win the Billfish Blast out of Ocean Reef. We were grand champions as well as me taking Master Angler. I am most proud of this because we beat other top teams including Seraphim and AstraSails/Hook Bling (and it was to benefit a charity close to heart for my friend Edgar Benes who organizes the tournament every year). In May, we fished the Monty’s Maynia fun local tournament and won with a blackfin tuna. In 2016 I won top female angler in the Jimmy Johnson Sailfish Championship also on the Miss Britt. I have been fishing sailfish tournaments for about 15 years (but I probably won my first pier tourney around age 11/12 ha ha).
I also LOVE to fish on headboats. I started regularly going out about 3 years ago because I felt like I was constantly waiting around for someone else to go fishing with me. Those guys will take me every day at 9am, again at 1pm and after some dinner, again at 8pm. Sometimes I put my headphones in and listen to music. Sometimes, I tell my friends, the night trips are like speed dating for me! LOL. I usually fish on the Reward Fishing Fleet out of downtown Miami. It truly becomes like a family. It have also found a lot of fun in fishing different driftboats when I travel. My other regular stern spot is on the Capt Michael boat out of Robbie’s in Islamorada. They are rebuilding now and will hopefully be back to business very soon J
Teaching kids to fish has forced me to think outside the box, find new spots, brush up on my own skills, learn extra patience etc. There may not be a lot of fame and glory, but putting kids on fish, having parents call me and tell me their kids are addicted and won’t stop asking to fish or when they can fish again with me, parents writing me thank you notes for inspiring their children. It makes a real, positive impact on me, the child, the family, and the community. It is hard to beat – those moments on the tournament podium are flashes in the pan and quickly forgotten.
I’m also proud to be a part of the Project Healing Waters South Florida Purple Heart Backcountry Slam organized by Ret. Col. Anthony Fernandez. A group of marines, some Florida and others from around the country, are brought here to fish the Everglades for two days and share in much deserved camaraderie. Captain Benny Blanco organizes the guides who generously donate their time to the event. I love helping with this event each year because I’m so appreciative of what they do for our veterans.
I feel lucky that I have connected with my own passion and have the ability to share with others.
Our thanks to Allison for sharing her story with us here and for being so active in introducing the next generation to the love of fishing. You can follow her @reellovemiami to learn more about the Reel Love camps and seminars.