FishDancer Angling Team – Fishing the Trail
We have been fishing together as a team of two, somewhere on the SKA, trail since 1998. We got hooked on fishing tournaments while ‘crewing’ – way back in 1996 - for our angling mentor, Terry LaCoss, on his Amelia Angler. Terry at the time was a member of the Hydrasport team and fished a state of the art 27’ HydraSport with twin Mercury motors. The excitement of the shot-gun start as well as weighing in a 25 pound fish in our first ever SKA event prompted us to purchase a small, single engine 23’ boat - The FishDancer Angling Team was born. We both enjoyed fishing but needed some structure to focus our efforts otherwise we found other things to do. So we made a conscious decision to join the SKA as we had a blast with Terry and really enjoyed the camaraderie he shared with us and his fellow anglers. Over the years we moved up in class fishing a 29’ Wellcraft, a 35’ Donzi, a 33’ Contender and most recently a 35’ Contender ST with triple Mercury Verado 350s. We have been fortunate enough to have fished in every SKA class, division and from almost every SKA port over the past 20 seasons. Being a true husband and wife team, we have had to hone our boating, angling and logistics skills to effectively compete along the trail and have never felt any disadvantage as a team of two. Early on in our SKA career our single angling objective was to qualify for the ‘BIG Dance’, the SKA National Championships. Qualifying out of Division IV, we headed to Biloxi for our first ever SKA Championship, caught our first ever 40 pound fish and have enjoyed leaderboard performances in many of these events ever since. After our first Nationals we next set our sights on competing against the ‘best of the best’ on the SKA PRO tour. Through our focus and dedication to this crazy sport we have enjoyed success at every level of SKA competition, winning several events and placing high on the leaderboard many times. We have enjoyed catching fish of every size from 61.1 on down and are still looking forward to landing a 70 pound kingfish somewhere along the SKA trail.
We have enjoyed the challenges and opportunities the SKA circuit and its sponsors have offered us. These include the opportunity to grow as anglers, improve as SKA competitors and act as representatives of the SKA and our sponsors We feel blessed to have been able to visit so many far away ports – from Cape Hatteras, NC to Port Fourchon,LA and are very thankful for the amazing experiences we have had and the friends we have made along the way. As any team knows, a crew needs to work closely together to hunt, hook and land a quality king mackerel and we are no exception. Perhaps because we are naturally in synch with one another, as husband and wife, this has enabled us both to revel in the challenges tournament angling presents and to enjoy success when it comes and handle failure when it doesn’t. It is no small task for Team FishDancer to compete with our small team, but each of us knows and understands what we need to do and we have both worked hard over the years to assure we can each perform the tasks required of us while tournament fishing. Tournament angling can be highly rewarding when you are successful but also highly frustrating when you are not and how a team handles both determines the character of the team itself. Think of fishing the SKA trail as ‘joining the circus’ – only some days you are the RingMaster and other days the clown. Our objective is to do everything in our power to wear the black silk hat and not the big red nose. Despite all of the work, frustrations and challenges of fishing the SKA circuit, it still has to be fun and for us it still is. Our motivation remains the adventure, excitement, camaraderie and competition the SKA trail offers and despite our team’s small size we like to think we have left our mark on the sport. In the end, any team can accomplish this – all it takes is dedication, effort and overcoming the obstacles that are….. fishing the SKA.