You were born and raised in Costa Rica. What were your favorite species to target growing up?
I was raised in a province named Guanacaste. Guanacaste is in the northern region of Costa Rica on the Pacific Ocean side. As a kid I grew up fishing with hand lines from the rocks where we would catch anything from needlefish to roosters and cubera snapper. At the age of 15, I moved to Florida with my family to pursue my dream to join the Navy.
Tell me about how you started guiding?
After 10 years in the military, I was ready to start the next chapter in my life. I separated from the service and moved to Southwest Florida to work for a power company and attend college. Simultaneously, I began to fish regularly and I got involved in the kayak fishing community and founded the Southwest Florida Heroes on the Water chapter. While in school, I was assigned to build a marketing plan on “a company” and was given the freedom to write the marketing plan on anything I wanted. I took the opportunity to formalize my passion for fishing into a real company and began to study the fishing industry. The marketing plan was written so well that my professors encouraged me to start the business. I started as a kayak fishing guide and then became a USCG licensed Captain began to charter full time.
Tell us a little about how you got into the fishing Consulting Practice?
I became acquainted with a group of travel and hunting consultants who wanted to add a fishing division to their business model. I joined the team as a fishing consultant and began to travel to different destinations setting up all-inclusive fishing adventures. After working with them for a while, I decided to go my own way and revisit my business plan. I began to mold a marketing consultancy specializing in the sports fishing industry and Blackbeard Group, LLC was born. I am now pursuing an MBA with a minor in Marketing.
Tell us about some of your favorite places to fish and why?
My favorite place to fish is and will always be Costa Rica. But I love the Everglades and the Florida Keys. I am fortunate to have the Everglades right in my backyard and fish from Marco Island all the way down to Flamingo.
Obviously, I love fishing in Costa Rica because it is my home, but also because it is one of the best fishing destinations in the world. I love the Everglades because it is an incredible place to fish and explore. Everyday in the glades presents a whole new experience. And last but not least, I love the Florida Keys simply because it is one of the most beautiful destinations in Florida and possibly the world.
Can you tell me about it what you did in the Navy and how it has shaped you as a guide?
I began in the Navy as a Gas Turbines Electronics Technician where I worked onboard four different commands. The USS McInerney, the USS Carney, the USS Vicksburg, and the USS Simpson. On my last two commands I served as a VBSS team member and my job was to search and seize contraband on the high seas.
Having a military background, especially in engineering and maritime regulations has shaped me as a Captain in two main ways. First, it has given me the knowledge and discipline to run a vessel (whether a kayak of a power boat) in the best way possible. I have written regular maintenance schedules for my equipment in order to offer my clients the best experience possible. Second, it has taught me the importance of being a responsible captain by promoting safety, abiding by the rules and regulations, being involved in the community, and conservation efforts.
What type of experience can people expect fishing with you in Florida?
When fishing with me, clients can expect to learn while having a good time. My goal is not only to put clients on fish, but also to make sure they learn something new. Whether a beginner or a seasoned angler, clients can always learn something new and also teach me something new. My goal is to make all clients my friends by sharing our love for fishing during our time together. I believe in having a friendly, humble, and down to earth approach towards clients and peers. This is how we can make the sport grow and make every trip memorable. By keeping a good attitude, I am always able to learn something new on every trip, which in turn makes me a better angler and guide.