My life is a continuing journey of adventure, sometimes leading down paths that are visible only when traveled. For more than a decade I have earned notoriety in many ways, and quite often parents say their children look up to me for leadership and accomplishments in the outdoors. These alone are some of the most heartfelt and amazing compliments one can receive and I have been extremely humbled by every positive affirmation and comment received. Yet, I wonder why people tell me these things. I am just doing my own thing, living my own life and not seeking attention, though I do get a thrill sharing my experiences with those of like passion. Other times, the thrill is amplified when it involves reaching the hearts of the less fortunate that do not have the opportunity to live an adventurous life. The bottom line is I honestly try to live my life as a grand and endless adventure.
I have traveled to some great places and have met some incredible people on my journeys. Yet everything ultimately leads back to what I call home - Padre Island. Growing up in Austin, I loved the city and venues it had to offer. However, my outdoors nature kept calling me to the coast. I eventually moved to south Texas in 2002 to attend Texas A&M Corpus Christi. During my college experience, I had a slight distraction which resulted in my residence in the Cayman Islands for a period. This was a truly magical experience. I often promote the chance to experience living out of the country in one's young adult life. When I returned stateside I lived a semi-relaxed life. In doing so, I embarked on many unorthodox shortcuts to get me where I am. I have never been timid to live just barely getting by financially. I was on the water doing what I love and that’s what matter most.
Due to certain routes I took, others were sometimes forced to pay the price for my way of life. But karma has come full circle. When I turned 30 I realized it was time to grow up and become more responsible. While I still considered myself a big kid, parts of me were maturing. With this transition, I also decided to become a better person. Not that I was highly disrespectful of others or delinquent in a criminal way, I just wasn’t always as considerate of others as I could have been. I prioritized the continuance of my lifestyle greater than displaying appreciation for the help people were providing.
Today, I live by a code of kindness and honesty. Whether professional, friendship, or relationship - I wake up every day trying to be the best person I can be in every moral category. No one in this world is perfect, I am living proof. Yet a person can better themselves through the way they treat and respect others. So, with this being said, my true adulthood really began only recently.
As with many young people, I was at a loss for what I really wanted to do with my life. I have worked since becoming legally old enough and have held respectable jobs with the state and the technology field, in which I excelled. Unfortunately, despite how well I performed and how much I accomplished, I was not happy until I was outdoors or on the water. And it grew worse by the day. When I moved to Corpus my perspective began to change. And just until recently I had the opportunity to grow up and do something that I love, something I felt fitting. I had the opportunity to become a big game fishing guide in a unique fashion only a handful have ever attempted in Texas.
I had been inspired for some time by the great Billy Sandifer as he was slowly nudging me into taking over the shark side of his surf fishing and guiding. Ever since I met him Sandifer has been a mentor and someone I greatly admire. So, when he kept pushing me, realizing I possessed an undeniable passion for shark fishing, it meant something special. In the fall of 2013 I began sharing my surf fishing adventures with others through my charter service.
As with any new job I was quite nervous, especially the first trips. I wasn't worried about the fishing aspect, we did quite well landing and releasing sharks. I was concerned about my professionalism, how I would handle the unexpected things that always crop up on a trip. It did not take long though, after a few charters it seemed to come natural – interacting and educating the clients, and getting them on fish.
I was told that I would never enjoy my job since I would be letting other people, “catch my fish.” Quite unexpectedly, this became my greatest source of fulfillment. I have taken a wide variety of clients thus far, parents with young children, grandparents and great grandparents, celebrities, and professional sports figures. Regardless of who it is, the feeling you get when seeing an individual catch not only the biggest fish of their life, but a raw apex predator the way we get to safely and professionally interact with it, is absolutely priceless. I’ve had 8-year-old kids who landed six-foot sharks and the joy their smiles bring me defy description. These are the moments when I absolutely love my job.
Fortunately, I have considerable talent for what I do. I enjoy studying continuously to better understand the ecosystem and I observe all I can to understand why fish do what they do and when they do it. Perhaps this (along with undying passion) is what Sandifer saw in me.
Shark fishing is the joy of my life. Anyone can catch 15" trout until their arms fall off, but how many have caught a fish on rod and reel greater than 10-feet in length? This is my way of life and my constant adventure. Whether putting a kid on a 700-pound shark or a father-son excursion chasing jack crevalle, every trip is a new and great adventure.
My repeat clientele is staggering and proof that you can profoundly change someone's life to the point they want to relive it as often as possible. This is what brings me back to the sand day after day. It never gets old or boring despite the sometimes wicked conditions we must endure. I enjoy every minute of every adventure and am happy to share it with others. This is my life, the fantastic life I live.For more information on shark research and surf fishing charters please visit: oceanepics.com