Jacob Steckerl’s passion for fishing is matched by his concern for the environment
Q: Jacob, you are a 22-year-old Siesta Key guy who is already a professional fisherman. For starters, please share your family’s history with the island.
A: I’ve been coming to Siesta Key ever since I was born. My great grandparents lived out their retirement years in Whispering Sands on Siesta Key and shared their love for the Key with our family. After their passing, I’ve continued visiting Siesta Key until I moved to Siesta Key myself to begin my educational studies at the State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota.
Q: What led you to decide to fish for a living?
A: I have always had an interest in all water sports from skimboarding to spearfishing. When I began living on the key full time, my passion for fishing grew. I live directly on the Big Pass, which is one of the best fishing spots in Sarasota. Many people were interested in my catches, and I was always asked to share them or post them for others to see.
Q: How often are you out on the water?
A: I am lucky enough to truly say that I am out on the water every single day, which has enabled me to capture footage of all the amazing wildlife I encounter in my back yard. I always try to wet a line any chance I get throughout the day.
Q: How did your use of social media result in your creation of your Reel Siesta Key brand?
A: As soon as I began posting, my page grew rapidly. Thousands of people have enjoyed watching my wildlife content and unique catches. Both locals and tourists alike have a passion and love for Siesta Key. I wanted to create a brand that gives back to the beloved community and environment.
Q: That said, 20% of your profits go to Mote Marine for water-quality research and programs. Tell us about your motivation in doing so.
A: Living on the water, I have seen firsthand how detrimental the harmful algal blooms are. I have witnessed many years of red tide and its devastating effect on the community and environment, from struggling local businesses to suffering animal species.
As a professional fisherman, and Sarasota local, I knew I needed to raise awareness of the issue. Mote Marine Laboratory is dedicated to forming mitigation and control technologies that will help adverse the impacts of the Florida red tide. I created Reel Siesta Key products to help raise donations for Mote’s water quality and harmful algal blooms program. I’m eager to support Mote’s research knowing it will help preserve Florida’s resources for future generations to enjoy.
Q: How can people see your platforms and participate in your endeavors?
A: You can check out all my posts on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube @reelsiestakey. You can also learn more and support Reel Siesta Key on my website: thereelsiestakey.com.