The newest member of the BD Outdoors Fishing Chicks is Amber Rapp, who works and owns Sea Leveler Fishing Charters with her husband since 2002. Amber, who resides in Port Canaveral, Florida describes the local fishing culture as unique and old school. “Like California, Port Canaveral often has a kill-fish mentality. The fishermen pride themselves in what they catch and harvest. There is an old school fishing vibe in our sportboats, old style fishermen and salty captains. People still come to the docks to check day’s catch and see who gets bragging rights for the day.”
A former software engineer at Lockheed Martin with a master’s degree in business, Amber moved back into the fishing industry where her passions lie.
“I grew up fishing with my parents. They started taking me out as a baby and most of our weekends and vacations were spent boating and fishing. We mostly fished in freshwater for bass, catfish, bream and crappie. I can remember one vacation when I was 7 or 8, my parents rented a houseboat for a week on Jordan Lake outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. The crappie bite was on fire and we were catching them so quickly that my mom had to teach me to bait my own hook and take my fish off; otherwise she wouldn’t have had any fishing time herself.”
Amber has fished the coasts of the U.S. and places in between but saltwater fishing became the name of the game when she went fishing with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband for red drum on the Indian Lagoon River. After hooking her first 40-inch redfish, she became hooked on saltwater fishing and began experiencing different styles and chasing bigger fish.
“I love so many styles of fishing and love changing it up, but I think my favorite is free lining a live bait. I love to feel the fish grab the live bait and start ripping line off the reel and then feel the hook connect. Landing the fish this way gives such a sense of personal accomplishment.”
When asked about her proudest fishing moment, Amber without a moment’s hesitation talked about her first Port Canaveral gag grouper. “This is one of the hardest fish to catch out of Port Canaveral because they are big, strong and know right where to go to break you off,” Amber said. “I’ve seen big guys get pulled to their knees by these fish only to break them off. They hit so hard and you have to get them off the bottom very quickly. Once you get their head turned, you’re just praying you stay connected.”
After several attempts at a gag grouper over the years, Amber finally nailed her first one on her wedding anniversary. “My first shot, I got owned. My second shot, I brought in the biggest American red snapper I had ever seen. Then on my 3rd shot, I got hit hard and put every ounce of energy into turning his head. I got him turned and spent the next few minutes cranking him to the surface, praying that he wouldn’t come off or the line wouldn’t break.”
“When he hit the surface and the gaff sunk in, tears of joy nearly sprung from my eyes.”
Amber is a well-rounded angler and passionately described her love to change up styles. She sees her future goals are to catch a bonefish, yellowfin tuna and a barrelfish. In the near future, she wants to start planning vacations to different parts of the world and experience new types of fishing.
Amber continues to fish when work permits it and teaches her two boys the ways of the trade. “We work hard and play hard, we keep our heads down working so we can enjoy the downtime with our boys and get some fishing in. I am beyond blessed to have my husband and kids and get to spend so much quality time enjoying our family fishing. I cherish this time of my life and am so thankful.”
Many thanks to Amber Rapp for sharing her story with us and good luck in your future fishing adventures.