It’s been a year since I jumped off the boat and decided to give it a go on my own. When my wife and I made the decision to sell our house, leave our jobs and move across the country we did so into the teeth of all of 2020’s strange and miserable uncertainty.
On July 1, 2020 I sure as Hell didn’t know what the future would hold. If someone would have told me we’d be sitting like we are on July 1, 2021, I would have taken it 10 times out of 10—1000 times out of 1000.
Given this situation, I thought it reasonable to express the gratitude we feel to the many people who have had a hand in making Year 1 of FishTravelEat turn out like it has. When you start your own deal and have a new business card—you find out who your friends are. We are fortunate to have some really good ones.
Over the course of life and business it is good to celebrate the milestones along the way. After all, if you are going to email and call people asking them to read what you publish and believe in the course that you are charting, you should also thank them when it begins to work.
That the first year of FishTravelEat has been so good has much to do with the extraordinary generosity we’ve received from a bunch of people—not to mention a pile of blessings sent this way by God. I’ll figure out how best to thank God privately, but here’s our approach to thanking everyone else.
Year One of FishTravelEat by the numbers.
We’ve had more than 17,000 visitors to the site and more than 26,000 pageviews. These numbers sound pretty impressive, especially given that we haven’t published any pictures of naked chicks or yet figured out how to spam people.
We also have a YouTube Channel. I should probably write a handwritten thank you note to each of our 19 subscribers. I guess FishTravelEat isn’t quite ready to challenge Floyd Mayweather to a boxing match.
We’ve published 39 posts on the site. Our goal was 1 per week… but Hell, 39 seems pretty good.
The posts cover topics ranging from science, travel, mental health, conservation, food, and, of course, fishing. We tried to be serious some of the time, but the preponderance of them included at least a moderate amount of smart ass.
Over the course of all of this shit talking we’ve learned quite a bit. Our post about How to Cook Jack Crevalle caused an internet fight. We really thought that was great. The recipe calls for scrap wood, gasoline, chains and cinder blocks.
FishTravelEat has provided a platform to showcase the fishing expertise and hospitality of some of our friends (Kiwi Van Leeuween , Nick Honachefsky), the practical and philosophical benefits of marlin fishing (Why You Should Catch a Marlin), the reasons everyone should join The Billfish Foundation, expressed our undying love for Cabo San Lucas and quite a bit more.
Fish Travel Eating. Year 1
For much of 2020 it appeared that “FishTravelEating” would involve little more than “drinking beer at the house.” In spite of all of the craziness we’ve been fortunate to harass some fish in some pretty great places.
The website has let us write about some really wonderful experiences that are made possible by interesting, good people. Here’s a few of the headliners:
Bluefin tuna and inshore fishing in Connecticut with my friend Captain Levi Citarella. New England is a wonderful place to fish—full of all manner of tasty sea creatures, inshore and off.
An Epic Texas swordfish trip with Captain Anthony Lopez and Kyle Slaughter. We went 7 for 8 and pulled off a sea monster by the boat after 5 hours. There aren’t many better ways to spend two days than eating brisket sandwiches and sleeping in bean bags while waylaying swordfish all night and all day.
We had Wonderful Three Days in Islamorada, Florida with my good buddies Captain Mark Cockerham and Alan Cockerham.
We experienced an awesome yellowfin trip to Panama to my friend Captain Shane Jarvis’ Panama Sport Fish Island Lodge. It was our first trip with Pete and Hanna Robbins of Half Past First Cast. Breaking news: it won’t be our last.
Through my work with The Billfish Foundation I’ve also gotten to fish at Casa Vieja Lodge in Guatemala and at the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic in Venice, Louisiana.
While we’re thankful for the opportunity to fish, travel, and eat, it hasn’t happened in a vacuum. Our progress—and the hopeful lens through which we view the future—relates as much to the great team of contributors as it does to anything else.
The FishTravelEat Team
Chef Cosmo Goss really makes us look good. He’s the Food Editor of FishTravelEat.
Cosmo has written about Fish Tricks—and how to treat your next catch like a chef might, how to make the perfect fried fish, the perfect grilled fish and redneck sushi. Cosmo is as knowledgeable as he is relatable– the very personification of where passion for fishing and cooking meet.
We’ve also benefited from a wonderfully talented Instagram magician named Allison Flood. The highlights of our channel—which now has 1,340 followers — was the posting of a photo of Adam Sandler holding a GT on a beach in Hawaii. Our buddy TJ Schab sent me the picture and didn’t mind that we shared it.
It was liked over 5,000 times. It also caused an internet fight (we love when that happens)—someone called someone else a “Karen.” Apparently, that’s the worst thing you can be called on Instagram.
The website is made by a four-time Colorado state fiddle champion… really. The Wickam Group is the best. Suzanne Stunder makes some sweet graphics for us (if you see any that look half bootleg, those are mine—not hers).
Photographer Scott Kerrigan’s photo of a blue marlin eyeball is the inspiration behind the logo. Captain Tom Francis shared his best day of black marlin fishing…
We’d also like to thank the Kudu Grills, Costa sunglasses, Yeti, Xtratuf and Stone Glacier for keeping us outfitted. We thank all of them and more…
I started Starkfish LLC in 2013. For most of its history it has been a side hustle that has done such things as help sell a rainforest lodge in Belize and outfit a Canadian-built catamaran for marlin fishing in Central America.
When we jumped off the boat, the side hustle came to the forefront. I thought it improper to start doing too much on the side while doing what I was doing previously. This may have been the right thing to do at the time, but a few months later it really scared the hell out of me.
As we look back on the first year of FishTravelEat, I really owe quite a bit of thanks to the people who hired me to write for them. Truth be told, I’m more thankful for these folks than I can tell you. Here’s a list of the people and places to whom we owe a debt of gratitude and where you can find some of my writing.
Rob Bowman, if you ever send me your address, I’ve got a case of something good coming your way.
The Billfish Foundation. Consultant.
I’m writing the TBF Experience Campaign for one of the best organizations in the world. If you ever get the chance to meet her, TBF President Ellen Peel is one of the best people around.
The MONGO Offshore Challenge. Marketing Director.
I really appreciate working with Captain Jeremy Cox, J.D. Cox and Brian Johnson, the founders of the MONGO Offshore Challenge. Between year 1 and 2 of the tournament we doubled participation and set a new Gulf of Mexico bluewater record with a fleet of 132 boats.
Kusler Yachts. Content Writing.
Michael Kusler and his team are doing great things in the yacht brokerage space. I’m super happy to be helping out.
Marlin Magazine. Contributor.
I’ve been writing all kinds of stuff for my friends Jen Copeland and Sam White and the nice people at Marlin Magazine. When I saw the April/May issue on a newsstand at the airport in Houston, it was the first time I ever could have bought something that I wrote.
I’ve also written a number of columns for GearJunkie.com. Hunting and Fishing Editor Nicole Qualtieri is good at what she does and a pleasure to work with. You never know who will read a GearJunkie column… its distribution is incredible.
Other Content Creation
Thanks also to Carmine Galati and Mary Strauss of Galati Yacht Sales.
I’ve even had the chance to do some writing for two Christine Stahr and Sarah Dittmore with Pure Fishing. We’ve got some exciting projects in the works with PENN fishing.
Thanks also to Rob Penner of Navico—we’ve got some interesting video and writing work with the Simrad brand.
I also owe Terry Robinson for the introduction to a particularly exciting collaboration.
I’ve also had articles published in The Back Country Hunters Journal and on FishTrack.com.
I’ve spent quite a bit of the past year reading, thinking and trying to figure things out. I’ve had plenty of time—on boats and airplanes and even sometimes in the office—to think about entrepreneurship and related topics.
Trying to define the headspace of the small business owner seems to be a popular thing to do these days. Here’s my take—it is informed by the experiences of the past year.
The FishTravelEat definition of Entrepreneur:
An entrepreneur is some poor, dumb bastard whose dreams are bigger than the bucket he has to carry them.
When faced with this scenario, most people take the sensible approach—cramming and mashing their dreams, plans and aspirations into their bucket, even if it means making them fit by scraping off the best and most awesome parts. The entrepreneur, on the other hand, is the person who decides to keep his dreams as they are while setting out to build himself a bigger bucket.
Here’s to bigger buckets.