Capt. Shaina Cox – BD Fishing Chick

We would like you to meet Capt. Shaina Cox, our next BD Fishing Chick.  Check out her story and love of fishing!

Where do you live?

Two Harbors, Catalina Island, California: AKA Paradise

What is your occupation?

I am a 100 Ton Boat Captain, I work for the HUBBS Research Institute as the site caretaker of the white seabass pens, and I am currently trying to become an LA County FireFighter.

What are your other hobbies?

I love spearfishing, snowboarding, hiking. I deer hunt a bit on the island when it is the season. We stock up on deer meat for the year since it’s hard to get groceries here. I love pretty much anything related to the outdoors. I just got a hunting bow! Stoked to start learning more about that! Oh, I also am an avid pet collector lol.

Who or what got you into fishing?

My grandpa used to take me freshwater fishing when I was little. I have very fond memories of walking to the ponds with him, catching fish and taking them home to cook. I fished a bit of saltwater way back when I got my captain’s license. But my love for fishing started when I moved to Catalina Island 5 years ago and my boyfriend started taking me out fishing and teaching me more. He sparked my love for fishing and I have been hooked ever since. I then got a skiff and would just try to catch fish by myself, well my lucky dog came with as well. It took me some time to catch a good-size fish on my own, but after that, it was hard to get me off the water.

What types of fishing have you done and where?

I’ve mostly fished locally here in Southern California. I started working as a second captain/ deckhand last season on a sport boat called The Chief, so I got to fish “down the beach” in Mexico. I also have traveled to a few other spots in Mexico and got to fish and dive. I went to Panama to take a boat through the Panama Canal, but I got pretty skunked there for big fish. Looking forward to traveling to more amazing places to fish.

What is your favorite kind of fishing so far?

Offshore/Deep Sea fishing for sure! The tug is the drug! Taking the boat out with friends and family looking for tuna boils or casting to see what is under the kelp paddies is the perfect day in my book! It is always crazy to me how much Southern California fishing relies on paddies and how much life gathers under them. Plus you never know what you will see out there. PSA: I try to pick up every piece of plastic out there, it’s good fishing karma.

What are some future goals or plans pertaining to fishing?

I would like to work on more offshore fishing vessels and longer range boats. We are also currently rebuilding an old skipjack to take to all the surrounding islands in hopes of finding the big guy. Triple-digit tunas are always a goal as well! I am also hoping to shoot a dorado and a big yellowtail while diving this year!

What part of fishing do you like the most?

My favorite part of fishing is the solitude when out on a boat in the ocean and the beauty of the sea life that surrounds it! Then comes the rush of the hookup and the fight. It’s always a fun surprise when you see color and you identify the fish! I have caught some crazy creatures when fishing for other species. Even days when I get skunked, I am just happy to be on the ocean trying and learning. It’s never the same adventure twice.

Tell us about some of your proudest moments in fishing.

My proudest moment to date would be when I took a solo day mission (with my dog of course) on my 15-foot skiff. It was a cold morning and I was bundled up. I hooked up to a big fish and just as I did the sun came out full force. There were big rollers, pushing me into the rocks and the fish was a big fighter and wanting to swim straight into the rocks as well. With my skiff getting pushed and me dripping sweat, I fought him for 45 minutes alone. I had to drive the boat, keep the fish on the line and gaff him myself. I may have yelled a bit too loud when the big guy hit the deck. It was my first big solo yellowtail weighing 30-pounds. I was very proud.

I also started solo freediving from shore a few years ago. I love searching for and shooting halibut. It’s like a real-life I spy book (thanks for making me read those when I was younger mom!) Those cute, ugly fish are some of my favorites to look for, you have to be super quiet! If you spook them you’ll never chase them down! Someone told me if you can hear yourself breathing the fish can hear you 10X more!

This year I landed my PB yellowtail on my skiff. The 38-pounder kept diving every time he saw the bottom of the boat. My arms, needless to say, were sore the next day and I still had to fillet and process a lot of fish.

Last year I got my first bluefin tuna which weighed about 65-pounds and three years ago I got my first and biggest white seabass weighing in at about 35-pounds. Additionally, I love to help gaff fish. I helped gaff a big marlin and some 60+ pound tuna. The sound of fish hitting the deck makes me very happy!

What other “aspects of you” would you like to portray if any?

I would like to portray the fact that living on Catalina Island, we hunt and fish to fill our freezers. Yes, we do take pictures and tell fish stories but we also do it to eat and to share. We don’t have a Vons here in Two Harbors and going to get groceries is a mission. Learning to live and fish off the land is an amazing life lesson everyone should learn.

I also love learning about all aspects of fishing. I want to be able to find the fish, hook, and gaff it by myself.

I have been practicing the aftercare of the catch and babying the meat. I insist on filleting my own catches. I want to be a part of the entire process. It is a lot of work, but so fulfilling. I would like to break the stigma of just being a girl on the boat who gets passed the rod and then takes a picture with the fish, or someone else’s catch. I have also found a GREAT group of girls who believe in and do the same thing as I do, plus we can look good doing it!