ABOUT Justin Ritchey
Born & raised on the outskirts of Orlando, FL in a little known city called Ocoee, my fishing addiction started very similar to many native Floridians. With nothing more than my bike, an inexpensive spinning rod & reel, a pack of 7” Culprit Worms and an immeasurable amount of determination, I spent countless hours away from home tormenting the local Bass population until the sun went down.
Then for the next 15 years, a lot of things happened…
- Graduated from the University of Florida in 2011 with a BFA in Performing Arts and a Minor in Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences (strange combination, but I made it work).
- Bought my first 12’ Sit-On-Top Fishing Kayak and started exploring the grass flats of Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River.
- Worked for several Big Box Retailers during & after college (Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mtn. and Dicks Sporting Goods).
- Managed a 200,000 gallon Saltwater Exhibit for over 4 years at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, FL stocked with giant Redfish, Snook and Tarpon. I spent countless hours watching the behavior of those fish as the Seasons changed (talk about having an unfair advantage!)
- Published multiple articles for local Fishing Magazines (The Fisherman’s Journal, Coastal Angler and more).
- Served as the Aquaculture Manager of the “Living with the Land” ride at Disney’s EPCOT for almost 3 years.
- Married the Love of my Life in 2017 (3+ years and going strong!)
Traveled the great state of Florida as the Sales Representative for many popular saltwater brands (Owner Hooks and Star Rods, to name a few).
For the past 8 years, I’ve been incredibly blessed both in my personal life and my fishing career. As an Avid Kayak Tournament Angler, I’ve been fortunate enough to claim numerous 1st Place Wins in several Kayak Fishing Tournament Series over the years (Tropic Bay Kayak Fishing ClassicS, IFA, Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournaments and more). In fact back in 2014, one of these 1st Place Tournaments awarded me the opportunity to represent the USA with 6 other individuals in what’s known as the Hobie World Championship. Competing against 50 of the Top Kayak Anglers across the world, I somehow managed 4th Place against even the local Europeans, catching Freshwater Fish I’ve never targeted before (Pike, Perch and a local species called Zander)!
Yes, this truly was as incredible as it sounds, and to this day I look back on those days and Thank God for the opportunities he’s presented me. But to tell you the truth…all the tournament wins, the working at Tackle Shops and the years of handfeeding giant Redfish & Snook in that Lagoon simply don’t hold a candle to my favorite aspect of being a Fisherman: and that’s Community. Being able to spend time with like-minded individuals and share our experiences, both on the water and in Life, brings me more joy than words can explain. It’s never really been about the size of your catch, or the number of different species you can cross off a Bucket List. To me, it’s all about Community, Camaraderie and Support for your fellow Anglers. That’s what I believe makes Fishing truly special.
And here I am today, humbled to be a part of this great Community of Anglers we call Salt Strong. It’s an honor to be a part of this Team, and I look forward to meeting & fishing with all of you someday!
STOP WASTING TIME ON THE WATER!
Do what the “SMART ANGLERS” are doing and join the Insider Club.
Here’s what you’ll receive today when you join: