I had the pleasure of fishing with Luiza Barros and Capt. Jimmy Nelson, host of the television show “Livin’ The Dream,” at an event in Crystal River, Fla., called “Cast and Blast,” sponsored by Yo-Zuri, Navionics, Maui Jim, Raymarine, Savage Gear, Okuma, Cuda, Power Pole and Mustad. Barros has appeared on the cover of many fishing magazines, and her website, FishingWithLuiza.com, features a veritable school of glam photos of her holding a vast array of fish she has caught. She has a huge social media following on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. I was pleasantly surprised to find out Barros is more than just a cover girl; she can really fish!
Statistically speaking, when it comes to fishing, approximately three times more men than women do it, according to the latest U.S. Fish and Wildlife survey. We wanted to get a woman’s perspective about why this imbalance exists and what guys can do to help turn their soulmate into a fishing mate.
Q How did you get into fishing?
Growing up in Brazil, I started fishing at a very young age, and the person who introduced me to fishing — believe it or not — was my grandma. She used to take my sister and me fishing every time we went over to visit.
Q Why do you think so many fewer women fish, compared to men?
I’m not exactly sure, but maybe it’s because they were never introduced to fishing before. I think if they were exposed to it, they would love it. Most women love boats, so I think guys might be surprised to find out they would enjoy fishing too.
Q What can guys do to encourage their significant other to go fishing with them?
Guys, make sure you take your significant other to a good fishing spot the first time you take them out! Be helpful and positive — and don’t criticize every little mistake they make. If it’s a stress-free experience, they will be more likely to want to go again.
Q You and Jimmy seem to have a great relationship and work really well together on a boat. Does that continue when you step onto land?
Yes. Jimmy and I have a very healthy relationship. He’s extremely supportive. It’s truly a blessing to be able to do this for a living with my best friend and life partner.
Q Do you think fishing helps couples bond?
Absolutely! Having a shared experience gives you something in common, and spending extra time together helps us to communicate. When we are catching large fish, we have to be on the same page — and it does translate when we get off the boat.
Q I’ve talked to guides who say that when they take couples out for a day, the women out-fish the guys. Why do you think that is?
I haven’t heard that before, but on occasion I out-fish the guys. Maybe it’s because women tend to be more patient. And unlike guys, we don’t mind asking directions. I do believe there’s always an element of luck when it comes to fishing, though.
Q I know you’ve traveled the world and have caught some huge fish and then held them up for long periods of time while Jimmy painstakingly shoots the photos. Obviously, that requires a great deal of strength and stamina. What exercises do you do that help you do that?
I’m a very active person. If I’m not fishing I’m doing something else outdoors. I work out at least four times a week, mainly weight training.
Q What’s the biggest fish you’ve ever caught?
My biggest fish was a 300-pound Goliath grouper that I hand-lined out of Ana Maria Island. I actually have a video of it on my YouTube channel.
Q Jimmy is a licensed captain, but when the three of us were out fishing together, a spot you suggested proved to be one of our most successful places that day. Does he always listen to your advice?
Jimmy is a licensed captain but yes, he always listens to my advice. I’m a lucky girl.
Q What would you tell women they are missing by not fishing?
They’re missing a good time on the water interacting with nature and bonding with friends and family while enjoying a fun and exciting sport. Give it a try, ladies, and don’t worry about the fish slime. You can wash that off. You will be hooked forever once you start catching fish.
Q What’s on your fishing bucket list?
I would love to go fishing in Australia one day; that’s definitely on my bucket list.