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4 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Back

dsc09376-01I live a very active lifestyle! Between fishing, the gym and everyday life I put my back through its paces.  I struggled with chronic back pain for years until finally having minimally invasive spine surgery at the Laser Spine Institute.  There are a few things that I do to maintain a healthy back, and ensure I’m in top shape for whatever hurdles life throws at me. According to the American Chiropractic Association, 31 million Americans experience back pain every single day.

1) Maintain a strong core

Strengthening your core is very important, as your core is what gives you gooddsc02999-01 posture and reduces strain on the lower back. According to a recent study on back pain,  poor core strength causes back discomfort due to these muscles not providing the spine with enough support to stay upright (Prevention of Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.) One exercise that I try to do every day is planking. Planking also improves your posture, balance and stability.  Visit this link at the Laser Spine Wellness blog to learn how to plank and do other helpful exercises Laser Spine Wellness: 4 exercises to help relieve stenosis pain 

2) Sleep Techniques

Adults spend 1/3 of their life sleeping. Needless to say, the way you sleep has a major effect on how your back feels throughout the day. By perfecting your sleep position,  you put the least strain on your back. Some steps that I took were to buy a firm bed, and also ice my back, before sleep and after strenuous activity. Other methods that will help you get the best night sleep include sleeping in a neutral “S” position, and also using supportive pillows.  For more information, Here’s a great article on Maintaining good posture while sleeping via Laser Spine Institute.

3) Meditation and Relaxation 

Our body needs rest in order to repair tissue that has been damaged. Our daily lives put strain on our back and this causes stress to build up in our bodies in the form of muscle tension.  Meditation, deep relaxation and breathing are great ways to relieve muscle tension. A recent study by The Journal of the American Medical Association stated that “people screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-11-47-23-amwho practiced mindfulness meditation, breathing, yoga and cognitive behavioral changes had significantly less back pain that those who continued usual treatments.” For more information visit Laser Spine Wellness: Study Finds mindfulness meditation and yoga ease back pain

4) Improve Flexibility Through Stretching

Tightness in your muscles and tension is the root of back pain. Stretching and working on your flexibility are very important in maintaining a healthy back. According to Len Kravitz, Ph.D. and Ron Andrews M.S., P.T., of the University of New Mexico, a lack of flexibility in the lower body, particularly in the hamstrings, buttocks and hip flexors causes lower back pain and is “one of the leading causes of physical limitation in the U.S.”  In the video below, on the Laser Spine Institute YouTube channel, I demonstrate some of my favorite stretches.


Take it from me…living with chronic back pain for over 10 years was no fun and prevented medsc08467-1-01  from living my life to the fullest. After surgery at Laser Spine Institute, I gained my life back. It’s been over 7 years since my procedure and I couldn’t be happier about the results. Through the methods I mentioned above, it allows me to maintain a healthy back and active lifestyle. Laser Spine Institute has treated over 60,000 patients. If you or someone you know is seeking relief from chronic neck or back pain, contact Laser Spine Institute today and see how they can help you get your life back.

Diving and scuba fishing with the Salt Life crew in Key West

I have been working with Salt Life for years now, and I love the gear for my fishing and boating lifestyle. Here’s some of the Salt Life gear I have been putting to the test:

Salt Life SLX 1st Mate Hoodie buy here

Salt Life SLX UVapor Get Hooked Pocket Tee buy here

Salt Life SLX Aqua Shirt buy here

Salt Life Aqua Shield shirt being released in February 2017

Last month, I had the opportunity to go scuba diving and scuba FISHING in Key West with President of Salt Life – Jeff Stillwell.

This really was unique experience, as we dove the Vandenberg Wreck, a 600 foot artificial reef ship, the second largest in the world…2 football fields long and 10 stories tall.

I also got the opportunity to attend a reception for artist Andreas Franke’s exhibit called Sinking World.

Check out the video below for a recap on the diving and fishing adventure.


Costa’s #FixFlorida campaign

There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about the degradation of the Everglades and the estuaries surrounding it.

Costa sunglasses has released a new video explaining the recent events that have put three of Florida’s estuaries in danger. The damage was caused by development, agriculture and water mismanagement.

I support Costa, in that it’s important to work on positive change and restore the Everglades and also to educate on the importance of conservation. Costa’s concept is called #FixFlorida.

You can sign a declaration to support this initiative here Also to learn more, please watch this video.

ICAST 2016

Last week I attended ICAST 2016. This year’s show did not disappoint! Here are some highlights from the show.

YETI Hopper Flip 12YETI is always at the forefront of innovation. This year they unveiled the new YETI Hopper Flip 12. The Flip 12 is airtight and watertight. Like the other models in the hopper line, the inside is antimicrobial and food grade. It has 3.2 gallons of capacity and instead of stitching, the seams are welded together…which helps durability and makes it leak-proof. The zipper is also very heavy duty. The YETI Hopper Flip 12 also won “Best Fishing Accessory” at the show.  This is the ultimate small cooler bag! Learn more about the YETI Hopper Flip 12 here YETI Hopper Flip 12

Salt Life has been making high-quality apparel for a number of years now, and they are Salt Life booth with Larry and Jeffconstantly developing new designs. I had the chance to stop by the booth and meet with Jeff Stillwell and Larry Laska to talk about their new line of products coming out for Spring 2017.  Salt Life’s SLX UVapor performance gear are 88% polyester, 12% spandex and treated for UV30 sun protection. Furthermore, they are anti-microbial and utilize ultra light quick reaction fabric for built in cooling and ventilation. To learn more about Salt Life click here

Stopping by the Raymarine booth, I had the chance to talk about some of my favorite features on the new gS and eS units on my new Yellowfin 24 bay boat. One of the best features is the new switch panel. This adds a new level of functionality and ease of use. I can control the nav lights, washdown, bait well etc. from both stations on my bay boat. Here’s a short video about the switch panel. For more info on Raymarine products, click here:

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 10.48.55 AMNext, I had the chance to head over to the Hook & Gaff watch company to meet with Michael Sims, the President and CEO. Hook & Gaff has been producing the only watches designed to withstand the saltwater fishing environment. I love these watches! The newest model, Sportfisher II utilizes a left side crown, titatnium case and is water resistant to 200m. Hook & Gaff also has multicolored nato and rubber straps for fashion and functionality.

Lastly, I had the opportunity to stop by the Dr. Dan’s skincare booth to chat with show goers about the importance of skin care. The Dr. Dan’s line has the ultimate products to protect your skin, and heal your skin, both on and off the water. The Dr. Dan’s SunStick is my signature product. The SunStick reflects UVA and UVB rays, and it’s eco friendly with no scent. That means it’s safe for coral reefs (it’s not chemical bases) and won’t deter fish after handling your bait. I highly recommend this product! It keeps my kids and I safe, day after day on the water. For more info on Dr. Dan’s click here:



Fishing off Miami with Bass Pro Shops’ Chuck Stevens 6/12

On Sunday 6/12 I had the pleasure of fishing with my good friend Chuck Stevens,  GM of the Ft. Myers – Bass Pro Shops  Chuck brought along his lifelong friends Erik and John.

We had a blast fishing off Miami with my tournament Captain Quinton Dieterle, on his charter boat the Cutting Edge.

We kept some mahi for the dinner table. Chuck cooked some up for his employees at Bass Pro Shops Fort Myers

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Tripletail…not pretty to look at…but great to eat 🙂

oooooo barracuda!

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Awesome day on the water!

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Tarpon fishing off Key Biscayne

Sometimes when the tide is just right, the tarpon stack up off the beaches of Key Biscayne. Last week was one of those times 🙂

For Tackle:

  • 5/0 circle hook
  • 50 lb. Fluorocarbon leader
  • 50 lb. braid

For bait, I am using live crabs. I prefer permit sized…smaller crabs. The great thing about using live crabs and circle hooks is there is no need to set the hook. I prefer to leave the rod in the rod holder, with the drag set moderate to  heavy, so it’s slightly difficult to pull line out. The key is to keep the drag tight during the hookset, otherwise the hook will not be able to penetrate the fish’s jaw. To hook the crab, work the hook gently through the horn, on the side of the carapace (as seen in the video below.)

I prefer to suspend the crab under a cork or bobber, depending on the conditions and depth I’m fishing in. I place the cork or bobber 5-6 feet up from the hook. If the current is ripping too hard, try free lining your crab. The idea is to get the crab looking as lifelike as possible. When I am fishing around Key Biscayne, I drift with the current.

Tarpon are the ultimate inshore game fish and it’s fortunate that here in Florida we have such readily available access to this fishery…without needing expensive tackle or a big boat. One thing that’s important…if you plan on fishing at night make sure you have proper safety equipment and navigational lights.



Chi Chi Miguel 10th Annual Throwdown Benefit Auction and BBQ

On April 15th I had the privilege of attending the ChiChi Miguel Throwdown in Destin, FloridaScreen Shot 2016-05-04 at 1.47.37 PM. The event brings together celebrities, winemakers and philanthropists  with the goal of raising funds for numerous Florida Gulf Coast charities. This year, the event raised $700,000!

Donations benefit the Emeril Lagassee Foundation, Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, Alaqua Animal Refuge, Camille’s Art for Autism, Food for Thought, The Ingram Lee Foundation, the Sinfonia Gulf Coast Foundation and the Children’s Volunteer Health Network.

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Chi Chi Miguel takes place over three days…culminating with a grand finale; a backyard barbecue competition and auction.

I had the pleasure of donating a 3 fishing trips in the auction, in support of the Emeril Lagassee Foundation. The 3 fishing trips raised $30,000 for Emeril’s foundation, which benefits children’s charities to support culinary, nutrition and arts programs. To learn more about the Emeril Lagassee Foundation visit