When you grow up near the ocean as Lauren Palko did, you can’t help but take up fishing. For this lady angler, however, fishing is more than just a hobby, it’s a way of life.
Q: So where do you do most of your fishing these days?
A:Well, I was born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and I currently live close by in Pompano Beach. I work at an animal hospital and for fun I enjoy fishing, free-diving, spearfishing, paddleboarding, traveling, hanging out with my dog Bru, and watching the Miami Heat.
Q: So you’ve always spent a lot of time on the water?
A: I have always enjoyed spending time on the water. I started fished off my dock in my backyard at a very young age and always loved going to the beach. I got my first boat when I was 15 and started getting into wakeboarding. I went tarpon fishing for the first time around then too. Now I am mostly into paddleboarding and offshore fishing but I still fish from my dock sometimes for snook and tarpon.
Q: Do you remember the first fish you ever caught?
A:The first fish I ever caught was a catfish off my dock when I was 4. The first time I went offshore fishing I was 16 and I caught a big sailfish. That fish really got me hooked on fishing! I got so worked by that sailfish — I must’ve gone around the boat five times. I fought it for 30 minutes before we pulled it on board to take a picture and then released it. I knew from then on I loved fishing and couldn’t wait to catch more fish!
Q: What is your favorite type of fishing?
A: Offshore fishing. I like to kite-fish because you can watch the baits the whole time and see the baits getting frisky when a big fish is coming. My favorite is when a nice kingfish shoots out of the water and hits the bait as you’re watching. I also really like to catch big blackfin tuna.
Q: Do you get to spend a lot of time offshore?
A: I usually make it out at least once or twice a month to go fishing. During the summer I get to go out a lot more because of all the tournaments we fish. When there isn’t a tournament going on, there is always lots of bait fishing to be done.
Q: Have you fished in a lot of tournaments? Do you like that scene?
A: I have fished tournaments with the Hook Me Up team out of Pompano Beach for the last four years. Fishing tournaments is my favorite kind of fishing. I really like the competition. I am looking forward to the Ladies Fish Off this summer. Last year we won Top Boat and I won Top Angler. It’s my favorite tournament of the season.
Q: Ever had any scary experiences out there?
A: I would have to say the scariest experience I had was when we were in Bimini in the Bahamas, anchored up and a boat was coming straight at us out of nowhere. I guess the boat was on autopilot with no one at the wheel or not paying attention. We pulled the anchor and literally got out of the way just in time. The boat only missed us by a few feet. I was ready to jump overboard!
Q: Do you like to travel to other areas to fish?
A:I have traveled to Costa Rica, the Bahamas, the Florida Keys, and Jacksonville, Florida, to go fishing. My favorite place to fish is the Bahamas because there is such a variety of fish over there and you can always find something biting. I also really enjoy the diving in the Bahamas. I wanted to catch a roosterfish when I was in Costa Rica but was unsuccessful, so hopefully I can get back there soon and catch one.
Q: What’s the best trip you’ve ever been on?
A: Last year for my birthday I went to Bimini for a few days. We got to do lots of diving, fishing… and drinking! I speared my first hogfish and ended up getting two, which was really awesome. I also got to stay in an incredible cottage at the Bimini Big Game Club, which was amazing!
Q: Most fun you’ve had on the water…
A: Fishing the Ladies Fish Off last year. My two friends and I, Alessa and Mallory, had never caught so many fish in our lives. The bite did not stop all day. We never got a break from reeling in fish. It was a great day for us and we ended up winning Top Boat and Top Captain. I also won Top Angler, and caught the second and third place tuna. It was definitely a crazy day and my best day of fishing ever!
Q: A day at the spa or a day on the water…. Which would you prefer?
A: A day on the water.
Fishin Chicks Lauren Palko