A Father's Day Q&A with Fishbrain's Rick Blalock on raising three angling daughters and what fishing means to them as a family.
Saltwater fishing brings an array of challenges. Weather patterns, picky fish and the occasional visit from the taxman (sharks for those of us that live inland) all create unique challenges for the individual angler. Raising three girls who love fishing in those conditions is a challenge for those who can only be described as masochistic.
Meet Fishbrain’s own Rick Blalock.
Rick is a native Floridian who lives for fishing and is raising his three daughters to embrace and write their own definitions of what it means to be an angler.
This Father’s Day we asked Rick all about what it’s like to be a dad, an angler and a mentor to these three and how it feels to see your kids out-fish you regularly.
Q: How did you manage getting all three of your daughters interested in fishing?
A: I think a few different things contributed to their interest in fishing:
The area we live: We live near the ocean and lots of bodies of water. You can’t drive a mile without seeing a fishing pole in someone’s hand or back of their truck. You can’t sit at a restaurant without overhearing someone talk about fish.
Their/our friends: A lot (most?) of their friends fish in some form or fashion, my co-founder in Fish Rules, Albrey Arrington, is an epic angler and takes us out on his boat a lot.
When I started Fish Rules, that brought the fishing industry a lot closer to our family: Going to ICAST, talking to regulators, etc. I think that exposure pushed their desire to fish a lot. They absolutely love ICAST. When we joined the Fishbrain family, that certainly helped their interest even more.
There’s a local Jr Angler Tournament they’ve participated in the last few years, which has pushed them to improve.
Q: What are their age ranges?
A:16, 14, 9
Q: Do you recall each of their first fish?
A:I don’t but I’m sure it was something like a mangrove snapper, sergeant major, porkfish, or yellowfin mojarra.
Q: What was it like to see each of them land that first fish?
A: Fun! But not just their first fish, all their other fish too. It’s never really gotten old.
Q: How worried are you that they’ll be outfishing you soon?
A: Hah! They’re already outfishing me! They go fishing more than I go. They have subtle ways of trash talking me too. I took my 9 year old out the other day for this company fishing tournament, and before I could even tie my hook on my line she had caught a big mayan cichlid. I helped her get it off, turned around to finish rigging my pole, BOOM, caught another one. That happened 3 times. She then said, “Daddy, I’m sorry I keep catching fish so you don’t have time to fish, do you want me to stop?”. She knows how to rub it in.
Q: What’s the toughest part of raising three anglers?
A: Hmmm. On the fishing part: They all want to do different things, so sometimes it’s hard to agree on all of us doing one thing with fishing.
Q: How often do you all fish together?
A: At least once a week during the summer.
Q: What are some of the tournaments they’ve completed/taken part in?
A: The Junior Angler Tournament, run by the River Center, in Jupiter is their favorite. They’ll catch hundreds of fish (I think the 3 together caught just about 1,000 fish during the tournament).
Q: What’s your favorite family fishing trip/favorite fishing memory with your kids?
A: Lake Powell, Arizona was a blast. It’s like fishing on Mars. We’re used to Florida fishing so it was just so different to us, we loved it. Plus, we all caught our first smallmouth and striped bass.
Q: Do each of your kids have a go to bait/lure?
A: They’re pretty pragmatic: If they’re fishing with friends, they want to ensure they beat their friends - so it’s live bait or dead bait (like shrimp). If we’re at a lake, they like using artificial worms. They do goofy things too like “How many mangrove snapper can you catch with cheetos”. Turns out, you can catch a lot that way.
Q: What’s next for the Blalock family (fishing-wise)?
A: Alaska this summer!
Q: What does it mean to you, as an angler, to have all your daughters interested in fishing and participating with you so often?
A: I like it for several reasons:
It’s good, quality time as a family.
It’s active and not on the couch.
It’s exposure and familiarity with nature. Many folks are scared of nature because they’re not around it. I think that’s bad for all of us, including the fish. My youngest is especially interested in these animals; she scarfs up as much information as possible and is not afraid to tell you every little detail about them.
It’s something they’ll take with them their whole lives.
Now let's go fishing. Rick will bring his family.
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