April 19, 2018
It’s more than fishing; it’s about the planet itself. – Stevie Kim-Rubell
A Conversation with Stevie Kim-Rubell, BTT’s First Youth Ambassador
More than 200 people crowded into BTT’s Micro Film Festival, sponsored by Nautilus Reels, at last fall’s 6th International Science Symposium. A large and impressive field of contestants was vying for awards in both Professional and Amateur categories, but as the films ended and voting began, one name stood out above the noise: Stevie Kim-Rubell.
We welcome Stevie as the first member of our Youth Ambassador Program, created to foster the next generation of flats anglers and conservationists. At twelve years old, Stevie, a sixth-grader, also enjoys chorus, baking, calligraphy, and creating art.
When she and her father Daniel can get away, they visit spectacular fishing destinations: the Florida Keys, Mexico, Cuba, Louisiana, and Belize; and closer to her home of New York City: the Catskills, Jamaica Bay, and Montauk. Her top three favorite species to target are tarpon, redfish, and false albacore.
Every pair of eyes grew wide in the audience of the Micro Film Contest as they watched the homemade video of young Stevie, her teeth clenched in intense focus as line shoots from the guides of her fly rod. She masterfully lands the fly with precision despite a stiff crosswind. Finally, in a chaotic fight and landing, the camera turns to show what we’ve all been waiting to see: ten-year-old Stevie’s first permit.
Not only has Stevie built a repertoire rivaled by only the most dedicated of anglers, but she also demonstrates an environmental ethic, rarely found in someone so young. Protecting and conserving fish populations, says Stevie, is a responsibility not to be taken lightly: “I want to continue to be able to fish for tarpon, bonefish and permit for the rest of my life without the fear of these species going extinct. Not only that, but I want my children and grandchildren, and their grandchildren, to have healthy fisheries, too.”
Safe handling practices top the list in ways we can ensure healthy habitats and fisheries for the future. In Stevie’s words, “I see no problem in fishing for fun, as long as we are careful not to injure fish or harvest numbers of fish that could take a toll on the population.”
We are excited to have Stevie represent the next generation of anglers and conservationists in BTT’s new Youth Ambassador Program, and we applaud her leadership in the industry thus far. “With research, we can work to restore fisheries by creating catch-and-release only laws and working to make sure that fish habitats are safe. Tarpon have been on earth for millions of years, sharing the planet with dinosaurs,” says Stevie. “As a conservationist, I want to do everything that I can, to ensure tarpon can continue to swim safely for many more millions of years.” Stevie also congratulated BTT on celebrating its Twentieth Anniversary.
Click here to watch the short video that was featured last year during the 6th International Science Symposium’s Micro Film Contest, sponsored by Nautilus, and read the story as told by Stevie here:
My goal since I was ten years old was to catch a permit on fly before I turned twelve. Never in a million years would I have thought my dream would come true. After taking a plane, a car and a boat, I finally arrived at the lodge in Mexico. I had never really been permit fishing. My first day out, I caught a couple bonefish, but no permit. I could see them coming down the flat. Five of them. They were swimming to the boat. I made a cast in front of the school, but then they changed directions. I quickly made another cast and stripped the fly. The lead fish followed my fly and ate it twice! On the second bite, I strip set and hooked on to my first permit. When I finally got it to the boat and the guide grabbed its tail, I was over the moon. Never in my life had I felt so accomplished.
Click here to watch Stevie release her first permit.
(Photos courtesy of Daniel Kim)
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