Fishin Chick – Brittney Novalsky
Q:Where do you call home and what do you do for a living?
A:My month is split between Melbourne and Islamorada, FL. I travel Florida throughout the year and teach women and children how to fish by offering hands on seminars at locations such as Strike Zone, Bass Pro Shops, West Marine and other tackle retailers. Let’s be honest guys, sometimes you’re not the most patient teachers on the boat – so I’ve created a resource for women to become better anglers. What makes the seminars different is that they are all interactive, no boring lecture or slideshow.
When we teach cast netting – everyone will have an opportunity to throw the net on their own, along with rig their own ballyhoo (even squeeze the poop out), tie knots, how to tag a fish and several other topics inshore/offshore. The most entertaining part of my job is explaining to the men who stop by that I am the instructor.
Q:Do you enjoy the tournament scene?
A:Tournaments for me have been an awesome way to bring a group of women together who all love to fish and enjoy some friendly competition against the guys.
Q:Who or what got you into fishing in the first place?
A:My dad was a fisherman growing up. Fishing was a complete lifestyle for our family. No television for us, our weekends and even some school days too, were spent on the water. Dad taught me not only how to fish but how to respect the water and understand our fisheries. We kept only out of necessity and the meaning of conservation was instilled in me early on.
Q:Where do you like to fish and what spots are on the wish list?
A:I have the travel bug 24/7 so when a chance to go somewhere new arises, I take it.
Because as far as I know, we’re only here once and I plan to live it so once is enough.
The Bahamas and Central America are my most frequented fishing destinations outside of Florida. Last year, I traveled outside of the country about half a dozen times to Panama. And the fishing is absolutely incredible. Other than trolling for marlin, and releasing my first pacific sailfish, the bluefin trevally was my favorite species to catch. This summer, I am visiting Louisiana and look forward to seeing the oilrigs for the first time. I can’t wait to put some tuna in the fish box and hold one of those goliath redfish inshore. New Zealand and Alaska are on my bucket list too.
Q:Do you have a favorite type of fishing?
A:Trolling offshore and sight fishing inshore is what I enjoy most because you are always on the move. I am not a patient bottom fisherman so you won’t find me anchored up much unless it’s during tarpon season.
Q:What part of fishing speaks to you?
A:The hunt and the fight are what keep me returning to the water. I love following war birds with a school of mahi, and trying to catch the stuck up sheepshead under my dock that I will one day trick into finally eating my bait. I enjoy a challenge, learning from others, and pushing myself to become better every trip out. I am not interested in setting world records, just enjoying the opportunity to spend time on the water. Participating in tagging studies for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation is extremely rewarding, knowing you are contributing to the “science” aspect of fishing as well.
Q:Can you recall some highlights of your fishing experience?
A:The highlight of this year has been catching my first fish on fly in Islamorada, FL with Captain Todd Monson. It was probably one of the smallest sea trout I’ve ever seen but you should have seen how big my smile was. Another proud moment was during a two-day sailfish tournament; the seas were 6-8 ft. and we had a very slow bite. On the second day, something out of sight took the center flat line and the crew guaranteed that it had to have been a shark as it stayed down at the bottom. Towards the end of the fight they even began to call “it” Moby Dick. Yes, can you tell yet I was fishing with guys? They wanted to cut the line and move on. Finally, it started to rise to the top and to everyone’s surprise it was a 61-pound cobia. On 12-pound mono, it put up one hell of a fight. Turns out it was the largest cobia weighed in at Tarpon Creek Marina in the Keys. The fish also won “Most Outstanding Catch” at the tournament.
Q:What is the secret to fishing with the boys?
A:The key to hanging with the boys on the boat is to be able to contribute and be in sync with the process going on. For example, knowing when to start getting new bait rigged and ready to put out, understanding how to drive the boat, and being able to roll with the chaos. I can smack talk as fast as it comes my way and it’s never taken to heart. I want to be part of the team – not the “needy pain in the ass”.
BD thanks Brittney for sharing her experiences with us. Check out her Florida Sportswoman site.