Think you love the ocean, think again. Meet DJ Skelton, a local of Tarpon Springs, Florida who's life is primarily spent on the water. An avid fisherman, diver, and spear fisher, DJ can routinely be spotted kayaking down the Anclote River in search for a fresh Redfish dinner or unloading his latest trips catch at a local restaurant or fish market.
DJ’s passion for fishing began one afternoon when he was only four years old and his dad set out to take him fishing for his first time. Their destination, a pond behind grandma's house. Armed with a $15 rod and bag of bread for bait, he was miraculously able to snag his first fish. His prize, a largemouth bass! From that moment on he was hooked.
Today at twenty-six years young DJ still feels that same excitement each time he reels in a fish. As he puts it "fishing is never the same... you can go to the same location under the same conditions and get completely different results, it's a balance between the challenge and serenity of being away that's soothing to me. It never gets old.”
In addition to doing both recreational and commercial fishing, DJ is also an experienced diver and spear fisherman. He did his first dive in 2009 and routinely swims to depths in excess of 150 ft. With nearly 800 dives under his belt, he's been able to view life under water along the entire west coast of Florida and many parts of the Caribbean. When the conditions are right, DJ prefers to spearfish over using a rod and reel. As he states, the advantages are numerous, "Spearfishing is highly selective and efficient, I can visually choose the fish I want to harvest while spear fishing, whereas I can merely attempt to target a particular species of fish with a rod and reel. This allows for superior meat quality and minimal waste.”
In order to pass along his years of experience and passion for the ocean, DJ has recently partnered up with a local friend to begin offering private fishing charters. Their trips will primarily target the middle grounds, a large series of reefs and ledges approximately 80 miles off the coast. There they will seek Grouper, Snapper, Hogfish, Kingfish, Cobia and Blackfin Tuna. In addition, they plan to offer longer more sophisticated deep drop fishing trips in 400+ ft of water where you could expect to catch a Yellow Edge Grouper, Warsaw Grouper, Barrel Fish or Queen Snapper.
As with most outdoorsmen, DJ is committed to maximizing the usage from each fish caught. In addition to providing wild caught seafood to be eaten by locals and tourists alike, he also creates beautiful artwork. Yes, artwork! In a completely unique process, DJ is able to create stunning "fish prints" by utilizing the skin of the fish he's caught! It begins by first cleaning and drying the fish to remove any moisture. He says rubbing alcohol works well for this process. Then, depending on the portion of the fish he wants to feature in the print, a media is selected. Using different inks and a series of techniques that have taken years to perfect, DJ is ultimately able to create a beautiful print which often accentuates the eyes to give a vivid life like appearance.
Like many, you probably didn't know what you'd come to love and want to pursue in life at a young age like DJ. Heck, maybe you still don't know. The point is, don’t stop searching. Don’t do anything you don’t love to do. Time is a precious thing. Don’t spend it living someone else's dream. Whether it be a career, sport, or hobby, follow your passions and do what makes you happy. Live life on your terms and have fun doing it. You've got one chance, make it count!
If you're interested in getting in touch with DJ to inquire about his new charters, fish prints, or to just talk fishing...send him a message on Facebook!
One Life. One Shot. No Regrets.