Emily Hanzlik hopes to catch a world record fish in 2020. The Acreage resident and 14-year-old Seminole Ridge High School student loves to fish and has since she was a young girl.
“You never know what to expect,” Emily said regarding the excitement of fishing.
She started the year off right catching a 7-pound, 4-ounce largemouth bass fishing from one of the canals in the Acreage/Loxahatchee area.
Emily hopes to earn an International Game Fishing Association world record this year. It would be her 26th, so far, competing — in some categories — against adult women anglers.
Her father Paul Hanzlik said that Emily learned to fish from himself, her grandfather and great-grandfather.
“We knew she was born to fish when we went to Dunkin’ Donuts in Royal Palm Beach when she was three, and I walked over to the canal with her and her older sister, we found a stick and a piece of string with a hook. She started catching fish using donuts,” he recalled.
While she has fished for fun ever since, she has gotten more competitive in recent years.
“She has been fishing all her life, but for the past three years, it has been solid,” explained her mother, Terry Hanzlik.
Terry noted that in the past two years, Emily has been named the Junior Angler of the Year twice by the West Palm Beach Fishing Club and also the IGFA.
Emily doesn’t shirk her school responsibilities to find time to fish the canals and lakes of the area. “She is on the A and B honor roll,” Terry said. “She also volunteers at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center constructing oyster beds.”
Already on a course of study that concentrates on marine biology, Emily takes classes in high school that focus on the career path she has chosen.
Fishing with her father and her sister when possible, Emily just likes to fish. In addition to angling honors, she has developed a bit of a social media following, with more than 4,000 people keeping an eye on her catches on Instagram.
Catching a billfish at an age when playing with toys might have been considered the typical pastime was exhilarating — but “very tiring!” she exclaimed.
Emily’s favorite type of fishing currently is catching bonita on light line at the Juno Beach Pier. “The challenge is what I like most,” she said.
To see more of Emily Hanzlik’s catches, visit www.instagram.com/emilyhanzlikoutdoors.