Born and bred in Florida, Krista Tucker holds a captain’s license and loves to fish redfish tournaments. She’s more of an inshore angler, but she’s always up for an adventure. All you need to keep Krista happy is some water, and she’ll take care of the rest. You’ve got to love a girl who calls in sick when the bite turns on!
Q: So how’d you get into fishing?
A: I can’t honestly recall when it started because it’s all I’ve ever known. I lived in Miami, Florida, until I was eight and my parents took me to the Everglades nearly every weekend and we fished all over the 10,000 Islands for snook, bass, and juvenile tarpon. I was catching fish before I knew how to tie my shoes. I would net minnows and use those to catch bream or bluegill. I thought I was a badass until I got older and realized my parents were turning around and using my trophies as bait to catch their 40-plus-inch snook. That was a turning point for me. Now I have a 53-inch gorgeous snook on my wall. You could say that’s what got me hooked.
Q: I saw you have a captain’s license. When did you get your license and what type of trips do you specialize in?
A: I got my captain’s license when I turned 18. Not for any reason in particular but because from a very young age I knew that my future was going to include fishing. Every other kid in school wanted to be a veterinarian or a doctor… I just wanted to fish. I don’t necessarily guide but the title sounds nice and it gives me some credibility to those who think I’m just a set of long legs and pretty eyes holding a fishing rod.
Q: Was there any one person or thing that inspired you to become a captain?
A: I’d like to say I’ve always had someone that I looked up to that inspired me to take this route and chase the dream of fishing for a livin’ but I really can’t. It’s just been a personal dream of mine, something inborn that has made me love being on the water whether I’m fishing, catching, watching, or teaching. My true passion though is fishing redfish tournaments, which I’ve been fishing since I was 17. I was the chick in high school who taught her boyfriends how to fish.
Q: What’s the biggest or most memorable fish you’ve caught to date?
A: The biggest fish I’ve caught to date would be a 200-pound tarpon. It was nothing glorious, just exhausting, and incredibly rewarding. The most memorable experience would probably be a school of redfish I had followed and studied for days, almost a week without casting a line. By the time I had their pattern down it was one of those days you could do no wrong. Just straight casting a gold spoon and pulling out slot fish left and right. Of course, it wasn’t a tournament day but that was by far the most amazing day on the water. I must’ve caught 30 reds back to back.
Q: Do you do any fly-fishing for reds?
A: I actually haven’t done a lot of fly-fishing but I am currently getting into it and I’ve got a handful of goals in mind that I’m looking to knock out next year. I just got a new Sage/Tibor setup for Christmas from my boyfriend — he knows watches and handbags don’t make me happy. I’m looking to break in the gear for my first fly tournament in February. I’ve got my loop tight and my double haul down. I’ve caught a few fish so far but now I’m ready for some competition.
Q: Inshore or offshore? Which do you like better?
A: I’m not the biggest fan of offshore only because I feel like it’s not a very controlled environment. I feel safe and know where I’m going inshore. Also, lightning isn’t my best friend. If the weather acts up I’d like to know that I’ve got a five-minute run to a cozy waterside bar where I can grab a Budweiser and wait it out from the comfort of a barstool. That doesn’t mean I won’t go offshore though… I’ve had some good days fishing the Middle Grounds in the Gulf.
Q: A day out with your girlfriends shopping or a day on the water? Which one would you pick?
A: This is a no-brainer and I think anybody who knows me would agree. There is absolutely not one pair of Steve Madden pumps or a Michael Kors watch that could possibly replace scouting for schools of reds before a tournament or pitching a Mirrolure in potholes during an insane trout bite. Being on the water is unparalleled in my book.
Q: Do you travel to fish?
A: I never fished outside of Florida until a few months ago when I tagged along for the Salty Fly Tournament in Abaco, Bahamas. It was my first time ever fly-fishing and I caught everything except a bonefish, but it was an awesome experience. I plan on traveling a lot this year and knocking a few countries and species off the bucket list.
Q: What’s the coolest thing you’ve experienced on the water?
A: I have more awesome stories of redfish and tarpon feeding than I could really pick through and narrow down.
I’ve seen some insane bites.
One of the coolest things I saw recently was a school of about 30 bull sharks in shallow water near the beach in Port Canaveral, Florida, with my friend Capt. Jamie Glasner. We were throwing pogies at them just to watch the sharks blow up on the bait. It was pretty sick.
Q: Could you see yourself doing a straight-up desk job?
A: I’m actually pretty computer literate and have held desk jobs before. It’s not so much the tasks that I don’t like but more so the lack of flexibility. When its tourney season, I’m calling in sick a lot. My ultimate goal is to be an industry spokesperson. Fishing is the one thing I could wake up doing and talking about for the rest of my life and it wouldn’t get old.