Florida fisherwomen can reel in the big ones just like their male counterparts. And they’re taking to social media to prove it.
Several female South Florida anglers share their catches of the day on social-media networks, particularly Instagram, attracting thousands of followers.
Don’t be fooled by their slim bodies and skinny arms. These girls can fight blue marlin, swordfish, mahi, tuna, sailfish and more.
“A lot of people are really doubtful. You definitely have to prove yourself. You have to double-check all your knots,” says Emily Riemer, 22, a Miami angler. “There’s definitely pressure to be perfect. I always strive to be better than the boys.”
Their social-media accounts have also brought them together in all-girl fishing trips and hangouts.
“Instagram brought a lot of us together, and we all built new friendships through it,” says Amber Marchant, 27, who lives in Bokeelia but often fishes in West Palm Beach. “The fishing community is a great way for a lot of us to fish together and be in our own little circle.”
Riemer grew up in Miami fishing with her family and friends. Today, she still lives in the Magic City and often goes fishing on the west coast with her team, the Kingsmen Fishing Team. They enter fishing tournaments across South Florida.
She has over 80,000 followers on her Instagram account, where she shares photos of her trips with her team and modeling gigs she has done for brands that sell fishing clothes and accessories.
“I’ve been able to travel the world because of it. I’ve been fishing in Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, all over the place,” she says. “It’s such a unique experience as a girl. There’s so few of us, but it presents a great opportunity to establish yourself in the fishing community as a top female angler.”
Her favorite fish to catch are pelagic ones, such as sailfish, blue marlin, yellowfin tuna and mahi.
Rimer says people are often surprised when they see she can catch large fish on her own. That’s why she works extra hard every time she’s out on the water.
“I contribute. I don’t sit on the boat and tan. I never sit down. I’m never someone who’s going to complain if the weather is rough,” she says. “I’m the first one there, and I’m the last one to leave. That’s how I try to establish myself apart from the rest of the crowd.”
Follow Rimer on Instagram.com/EmilySRiemer.
This West Palm Beach angler grew up running around marinas where her father ran his boating businesses. “I was basically born on a boat,” the 24-year-old says.
She learned to fish with her brother, and was often the only girl surrounded by boys. “It was somewhat of a challenge because they don’t let you fully fish when they’re trying to teach you,” Schmitt recalls. “They try to fight the fish as much as they can, and then hand the pole to you.”
But Schmitt always liked fighting her own fish. “I’m going to be the one from beginning to end doing my thing,” she says.
Nowadays, she goes fishing about four times a week. She also participates on fishing tournaments every other week.
Sailfish, mahi and tuna are her favorite fishes to catch.
She shares her favorite catches to her more than 22 thousands followers on Instagram.
“Instagram has helped me grow in this industry,” she says. “I’ve met a lot of great people just through social media.”
Follow Jenny at Instagram.com/JennyMSchmitt.
This Pompano Beach angler got hooked on fishing when she caught her first sailfish at age 16 while fishing with her boyfriend. “I just couldn’t believe I caught a fish that big. I had no idea there was a fish just as big as me that I could catch,” Chesier recalls. “It took me 30 minutes to catch it, and after fighting something for that long and you’re pretty excited.”
At 27, she’s now used to it. Almost every weekend she goes fishing with that same boyfriend, who’s now her husband. They catch swordfish, mahi, marlin, snapper and other large fish.
George “Cappy” Cheshier works as a commercial fisherman and leads charter fishing trips. Cheshier joins in those trips at least once a week. They also participate in fishing tournaments.
“I like to catch bigger fish than the guys when we go fishing,” she says. “It’s not said, but always, in the back of my mind, I want to catch the bigger fish.”
She shares her favorite pictures with her more than 7,000 followers on her Instagram.
“I got Instagram a long time ago. I started posting some pictures of fishing, and those pictures always got a lot of people interested in it,” she says. “I like finding other girls who are really good fishermen and then do the same I do.”
Follow Cheshier at Instagram.com/l_sea_
Fishing came naturally to Melia, who grew up in the Florida Keys. “I just love being on the water it’s kind of like a stress release,” she says. “It’s really relaxing and peaceful after having a hectic week at work.”
What started as a hobby now takes up most of her time. She’s a brand ambassador for Pelagic Gear, a fishing-apparel brand and enters fishing tournaments as often as she can.
During a fishing competition in Tobago, she and another female angler caught a blue marlin in the first four minutes of the tournament. “It was an adrenaline rush,” she recalls. “All the locals were surprised because they didn’t expect these girls to know what they were doing.”
She uses her Instagram to share her fishing pictures and promote the brands that reach out to her. She’s also met other female anglers through the social network.
“I love when there are other girls. It’s a male-dominated sport,” she says. “All the girls are very supportive because they’re in the same situation, so we all push each other.”
With nearly 42,000 followers, she sometimes receives inappropriate comments and messages on her Instagram account. She’s quick to block those users.
“I’m really serious about it. I’m very competitive about fishing, and I don’t want people to think I wanna show off,” she says. “It’s for the sport.”
Follow Melia at Instagram.com/SarahMelia305.
Marchant lives in Bokeelia on Florida’s west coast, but she often drives to South Florida to fish in the Atlantic Ocean.
She enjoys going on all-women fishing trips, with girls she met through Instagram. Growing up fishing in the Keys, she knew few girls with the same interest as hers. The social network changed that.
“Those girls, I would not have met if it weren’t for Instagram and fishing,” Marchant, 27, says.
One year ago, Marchant had 180 followers. Since she began making her posts about fishing, her account grew to more than 43,000 followers.
“A couple of people told me that they see my excitement. They can read it and they like that about me,” she says. “I get really giddy when I get a good fish on the other side of the line. Sometimes, I embarrass myself, but I don’t care. It’s in the moment.”
Most of her photos are taken by Hunter Ledbetter, a fishing photographer based in Key West.
“I give a lot of my credit to him, because he captures so many good moments,” she says.
Follow Marchant on Instagram.com/IslandBaby4Life.
Fernandez learned to fish with her father, and now continues to practice the sport with her husband.
They live in Fort Lauderdale, and often go fishing out of Port Everglades or Pompano Beach. They also go on fishing trips outside the U.S., often in the Bahamas and Bermuda.
With over 960 followers, she’s still growing her account, but she enjoys sharing images from her fishing adventures.
“I like to share my images and videos via social media, because it's what I love to do when I'm not working,” she says. “Why not share with my friends, family and followers from all over?”
At times, she feels nervous being the only woman on a fishing boat, but by the end of the day, she says she always overcomes it.
“I feel like most women can play and do most sports men can do,” she says. “I can handle it and then prove them wrong and earn some respect.”
Follow Fernandez at Instagram.com/Mallory_Fernandez.
Stark always has a fishing pole with her, even if it’s just a portable fly rod.
She lives in Miami, and enjoys flats fishing in shallow waters, 1 or 2 feet deep.
“You have to be quiet. You have to push the boat really slowly so the fish don’t hear you,” Stark, 32, says. “Going offshore is not as challenging I think, but still a lot of fun.”
Although she’s been fishing since she was a child, she only turned her Instagram account’s focus on fishing about a year ago. Since then, she’s gained more than 40,000 followers.
“I really fell in love with sharing my story and my adventure of fishing, and it just blossomed from there and has grown so fast,” Stark says.
Some Instagram commenters accuse Stark of not knowing how to fish and of using the account to show off her body.
“I just brush them off. I just delete it,” she says. “And if it’s too inappropriate, I’ll block it.”
She makes a point to post videos of herself fishing every four or five posts.
“So people can see I know how to fish. I know how to bait my own hook. I know how to cast,” she says. “My followers see that I know what I’m doing.”
The social network has brought her opportunities to travel to other states and countries, often at the invitation of new fishing friends or brands offering to sponsor her.
“I just love being on a boat, the thrill of not knowing what you’re gonna catch: the fight, the tug at the end of your pole, the energy and the excitement of being out there,” she says. “I love everything about it.”
Follow Stark at Instagram.com/VickyStark.