Fishing is a passion.
It’s also a lifestyle that attracts people from all backgrounds and walks of life. But for the dynamic duo of Marty Gallipeau and Dylan Schmitz, it’s also a business they’ve dubbed Badfish—a perfect encapsulation of their love of angling and the humor essential to the pursuit.
Recently, these two fishermen-turned-adventurers crisscrossed the country with an entourage of guides, filmmakers, photographers, and anglers. They visited every Bass Pro Shop in the country–all 76! And when Columbia was looking for a couple anglers to test out some new gear in Belize, the Badfish guys were quick to answer the call.
Here’s the scoop from the Badfish duo on how they caught this dream lifestyle, and tips on how you can catch more fish:
How did you two come up with Badfish?
Marty: Dylan’s boat back in Rhode Island is actually named “Badfish”. Our first fishing adventures together started on that 20-foot SeaCraft while chasing after striped bass and false albacore in the summers and fall. The original concept was created on that boat so naturally naming the company Badfish was an easy call.
How long have you guys been working together? What are your backgrounds?
Marty: We first started the Badfish brand back in fall of 2012 and it has evolved many times since then. I had various sales jobs and spent a good chunk of time in the beer industry before taking the leap and joining Dylan full time in 2015. In college I studied international trade but was also involved in an entrepreneurship program so I always knew at some point I wanted to be part of starting a new business. Can’t say I imagined back then it would involve fishing but definitely not mad about it!
Dylan: I graduated and moved straight to Key West to get the fishing and travel bug out of my system, except it just got worse…. I have a graphic design background and was getting into web design and started messing around with what we could build the Badfish brand into. We were shooting a lot of GoPro videos of DIY fishing.
Dylan’s boat back in Rhode Island is actually named “Badfish”.
You guys have fished a lot. Where are your top three favorite fishing destinations?
Marty: Number one would be Florida. There are so many different types of fishing down there and it’s where I first fell in love with the sport. More specifically, the Gulf Coast and the Florida Keys have some of the best flats fishing in the world (which has always been my favorite).
Number two would be New England. It’s where I grew up and caught my first fish on the fly. Plus, summertime and fall in New England can’t be beat. You go from fishing all day to tying up to the dock and eating oysters and lobster rolls right on the water. What’s better than that?
New places are always my favorite types of adventures.
Number three is the next new destination. It is always so exciting exploring new waters and places I’ve never been. I love trying new food, experiencing new cultures, and learning about fishing communities around the world. Every fishery is so unique and the same can usually be said about the people and area surrounding it. New places are always my favorite types of adventures.
Dylan: Belize climbed my list pretty quick after our last trip. I’d say Key West and New England. Both feel like my home waters. I have to agree with Marty, summertime in New England is hard to beat. There are so many unique fisheries changing with the seasons.
If you had to be a fish, what species would it be?
Marty: Hmm… I never really thought about that. Maybe a sailfish? Fastest fish in the ocean. Assuming jellyfish is a bad answer, right?
Dylan: Tarpon probably? They have the life. Silver kings that just cruise around lazily in beautiful tropical shallow waters.
What’s the worst weather you’ve fished in?
Marty: That’s a tough one. Any time I’ve been wet and cold. Either one is fine on its own, but together, no fun. We recently ran into some bad winter weather in Louisiana. It was blowing 25 miles per hour for three days straight and flat-out nasty. The worst part though was that the weather was absolutely perfect right before and right after we were there, which added total insult to injury.
Dylan: I’ve been in some really gnarly situations offshore of Rhode Island. One time, the swell was too big to see over, AND we ran into thick fog, AND we lost one of two engines for a little bit—although they were still kicking. Now I’m a fair-weather offshore fisherman, at least when it comes to small center consoles.
Do you have a favorite fishing movie?
Marty: There’s an old fly-fishing movie from the ’70s called Tarpon. It’s a bit of a cult-classic. The whole soundtrack was done by a young Jimmy Buffett and shot around Key West. Some of the footage in the film is incredible and I love the old-school tropical vibes. It’s also pretty funny seeing guys fishing in jean shorts.
There’s an old fly-fishing movie from the ’70s called Tarpon. It’s a bit of a cult-classic.
Dylan: I’d have to say the films by World Angling and Shallow Water expeditions. They really opened my eyes to a different side of fly fishing and the people involved are incredible anglers themselves. But Tarpon is definitely one of a kind. Speaking of, Marty we gotta watch that again soon….
I’m a beginning angler. What are the top five things I need to consider when taking up the sport?
- Ask questions. Fishermen are usually eager to help you learn and share their knowledge. I learn something new every time I fish with a new person. Everyone has their own tricks they’ve learned from experience.
- You don’t need to have the nicest gear or spend tons of money to get started. You can get away with a decent rod and a few flies (or lures) and find success. Refer back to number one–ask what’s been working in the local waters and ask what kind of gear you need to get it done.
- Use Google Maps. You can find fishable waters and scout your own secret spots right from the couch. Spend more time on the water and less time driving around looking for access.
- Practice. Fishing can certainly be frustrating sometimes, but the best way to get better at casting or catching fish is just putting the time in. And let’s face it, even on days when it is frustrating, it’s still better than going golfing.
- Respect the fish and the environment. Leave no trace. Don’t hook your friends with a treble hook. Most importantly, have fun.
What is your favorite piece of fishing apparel (OK, you can have two).
Marty: I’ve built up a pretty extensive collection of fishing hats. I would never go on a fishing trip without one or else my forehead would fry in less than five minutes.
Also, a light long-sleeve performance shirt is a must during any warm weather fishing. You need a shirt that will protect you from the sun but also keep you from sweating all day. When you’re poling the flats in Key West in late July, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
SEE MORE: Badfish Gear Guide
Dylan: Yea I can’t pick one. It’s super important to be comfortable and protected so you can focus on fishing. Control what you can control, that’s another thing I’d tell someone when they are getting into the sport. Apparel is one of those variables you can control. But anyways, I’ll say shorts because Marty didn’t say that already.
Do you have any fishing heroes?
Marty: When I first got into fishing I watched a lot of Spanish Fly on TV so Jose Wejebe was a big influence on me. I think the whole fishing world was pretty shook up when he passed away. It was infectious seeing how passionate Jose was about fishing and it got me so excited to get out there.
Dylan: My grandfather. He introduced me to fishing early on and I owe it all to him. Every summer I would spend a lot of time on his farm in Cape Cod and go out fishing for stripers and trout in the a.m. and cause a ruckus chasing sheep and snakes around in the p.m. It was called “gramps camp” and I was put to work, too. It was kind of an outdoors boot camp and I loved it.
My grandfather. He introduced me to fishing early on and I owe it all to him.
What do you see in the future with Badfish? Any big projects?
Marty: Lots of exciting things in store for Badfish this upcoming year! We’re planning a few international trips (maybe even a trip back to Belize) as well as plenty of new state-side adventures. We have some really cool content in the works.
There may also be a few big surprises up our sleeves, but, that’s top secret for now….
Dylan: This is usually when I spoil the surprise….