Professional Angler Skye Burkhardt on Fishing, Family, and her Gnarly Tattoos
Age – 32
Hometown – Longwood, Florida
Current Residence – Edgewater, Florida
Instagram – @brassyhooker87
Skye Burkhardt grew up fishing with her father on Florida lakes. Today she’s a passionate angler who is a true student of the game. “I want to be known for my skill and my knowledge.”
1) Did you grow up fishing? Who taught you to fish?
As a little girl, my father got me into bass fishing. There were six kids in my family. My dad was an arborist, so we grew up outdoors helping with the family tree business, and I was always climbing trees with my brothers. Out of all the kids, only my younger brother, Cody, and I really stayed with fishing. I just loved it. I loved being outdoors feeling like I was one with nature. It was like my habitat. Fishing is where I find myself. My dad got me into the freshwater fishing, but then I started reading books to learn even more.
I grew up bass fishing on Lake Lotus in Altamonte Springs. My first apartment when I was 18 was near there, and I would walk a mile through the woods to the lake. I carried these big wooden pallets one by one through the woods and built my own dock that I would fish off of. I bass fished up until I was 17, and then I started gator hunting. And then I started saltwater fishing.
2) How did you transition from freshwater fishing to saltwater?
I was freshwater fishing, and then I caught my first snook under a bridge in Daytona, and from there I was hooked. I started learning all I could about snook fishing, and I got obsessed with night fishing. I loved being out on the water at night. I read and educated myself, and I mastered snook fishing and the art of angling. I became obsessed with the sport of it. I dream about fishing.
3) Is there a story behind your name?
My mom loved General Hospital, and she named me after a character on the show—Skye Chandler.
4) Describe your perfect day of fishing.
I love fishing with my daughter; I love teaching her things. But I truly enjoy launching my kayak, paddling around by myself, and fishing. Fishing by myself is my favorite way to fish. You’re in your zone, and it’s so quiet. When you cast, you can watch the bait hit the water and sink down. It’s just you and nature, and then you get a fish, and your drag is screaming, and you can’t wait to see what that fish looks like. That’s why I release everything, because the fish are so beautiful to me.
5) You’re a mom—how do you balance your family and your professional pursuits?
My family comes first always. My daughter Star is seven, and she’s obsessed with fishing. It makes my heart so happy. I started her fishing at four years old. My son Hunter is 11, and he’s more into hunting. He’d rather be out in the woods. He mostly likes fishing for the boat ride. You have to be happy with your family and home in order to be successful at the things you love. My kids are always at the top of the list.
6) What role does social media play in your life?
Honestly in the last year, I sort of simmered down. I realized I was just worried about taking pictures and posting, so I decided to go back to my roots. I focused more on my family and my fishing. I got back into bass fishing this last year, which I haven’t really done since I started saltwater fishing. Next thing you know, I’m out there catching bass!
7) How can you encourage other moms and daughters and women to get out in the outdoors?
I think it’s just important to be out there and involve your children. You don’t want to force it, because they’ll start to dislike it. With kids you can’t just make it just about fishing—you have to make it fun. You want your kids to love the things you love.
8) Your Instagram handle is brassyhooker87—explain.
I came up with it a long time ago when I first was on Instagram. Brassy because fishhooks are brass and hooker because hooks and fishing. I’ve had people ask me to change it, but it’s what everybody knows me for now.
9) What’s your best fishing advice?
You have to be patient. You can’t just expect to go out and immediately catch something and give up if you don’t. You have to put in the work and time to learn.
10) You also hunt. Tell me about that.
I grew up hunting wild hogs, but I never really hunted deer. Now I hunt deer and wild hogs. I just started getting into hunting turkeys. I’m not very good yet, but I’m trying. I recently got my first buck on a trip to South Carolina. I watched about 16 does come out into the field, and I looked across the field, and I saw big antlers. My adrenaline was pumping, and my heart was racing. With my first shot, on my first hunt, I shot an eight-point buck at 186 yards. It felt amazing!
11) What do you like to do when you’re not fishing?
I’m all about my family—I’m usually doing something with my children. (But I always carry a pole no matter what I’m doing!) I also love gardening, cooking and painting, especially fish.
12) You’ve got some cool tattoos—do you have a favorite and why?
I have a butterfly—I love butterflies. I have almost a full sleeve on my left arm. I have a snook on my thigh. All my tattoos are outdoorsy and earthy—lots of flowers. And my mom, my two sisters, and I all have a dragonfly. I think the most meaningful is on my upper arm—it’s a quote from dad, “Your smile brings music to our hearts.” And of course, my kids’ names, a circle hook, and an FG knot because it’s the strongest and most durable.
13) Best one that got away story?
Honestly I reel most of them in. But recently, I had a nice snook on the line. I spent so much time reeling him in, and I got him up pretty close. He was in the oysters, and I was scared I would hurt him, so I pushed him out gently with the tip of my rod, and he got off the line and swam away.