Outdoors with Laura Cason
As a child of native Floridians, Laura Cason (@LauraCasonOutdoors on Instagram) grew up on the water.
Laura was born and raised — and still lives — in the Tampa area.
“My dad grew up here and he’s been going offshore fishing since he was a boy,” she says. “So, I’ve been fishing offshore since I was old enough to go out on boats.”
Laura fondly remembers visiting the timeshare her family owned on Marathon Key.
“We’d go out on the boat and just try and catch anything we could,” she says.
Now 23, Laura got her scuba certification when she was 14 and learned to spearfish.
“When I’m spearfishing, I like to go after hog snappers and grouper,” she says. “One day, I want to spear a cobia. I have a friend who free dives, and he brought a 50-inch cobia out of 15 feet of water.”
“I would spearfish every day if I could.”
Unfortunately, Laura has less free time on her hands these days.
“Last year, I’d get out nearly every other day,” she says. “But I had to become an adult.”
For Laura, being a grown-up entails working on her bachelors degree in business at a local state college, as well as her job at Duke Energy.
“I probably get out fishing every other week, these days,” she says.
In addition to being a passionate angler, Laura is also an avid bowhunter, and lately, she’s taken up a sport that combines her love for both.
“Bowfishing is addicting,” she says. “I just started. I learned in Central Florida, where we targeted tilapia and catfish. Here on the coast, I can shoot sheepshead, black drum — pretty much anything that isn’t a game fish.”
As much as she enjoys bowfishing, Laura doesn’t do it all that often.
“I’m not trying to go out and shoot fish just to shoot them,” she says. “I will only kill a fish if I am going to eat it.”
That being said, her all around favorite fish to catch are blackfin tuna — also her favorite for eating — and mahi mahi (dolphin). But Laura’s time constraints also keep her from doing as much offshore fishing as she would like.
“I mostly do inshore fishing, using spinning gear with light tackle,” she says. “You know: Snook, redfish and trout.”
As a pro, fishing is more than just a pastime for Laura.
“It’s something I’ve always done, and I’m good at it,” she says. “And it’s exciting to get paid to do something you love.”
But she’s quick to point out that she’s “not going to pay her bills or get insurance” through fishing. Instead, she appreciates being appreciated.
At the same time, fishing is much more than just a paycheck, too.
“It’s my thing,” Laura says. “It’s a passion of mine, it’s a stress reliever, and it’s a way to relax.
“And it’s also an adventure: You never know what you’re going to catch, and that’s exciting.”