Meet Captain Brandy: A Destin Fishing Charter Captain
“Fishing is my heart”, those are the words of 29-year-old charter boat Captain Brandy Miles. As the only female fishing Captain at HarborWalk Charters in Destin, Florida, she stays busy with her day trips out into the Gulf of Mexico, but we recently had the pleasure of sitting down with her to learn more about her work and personal life in the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.
As a second-generation Boat Captain, Brandy had some big shoes to fill. For over 50 years, her father, Jimmy Miles, has navigated these waters, and is the proud Captain of the Miss Nautica. Brandy grew up on deck, fishing with her dad, and learning life as a deck hand, and more importantly the secrets of fishing the Emerald Coast. By age 16 she was a deck hand, learning from other Captains like Joe Taylor & Bruce Cheeves. The position demands a person that is completely consumed by fishing. Getting up early and working late, in all sorts of weather, are just another day at the office, and soon her passion won over the hearts of the men. Long past are her days twisting mackerel leaders or cutting up chum, and she probably wouldn’t be where she is today without it. “It took a while for people to take me seriously, and they didn’t cut me any slack either, just because I’m a woman” She says, but that didn’t slow her down.
In 2013, in just over 720 days on a vessel, 360 of which must be on ocean or near coastal waters, Brandy Miles earned her Captain’s License: Master Near Coastal of Inspected Passenger Vessels Up to 100 Gross Ton. “I can drive pretty much anything in the Harbor”, she says, pointing to the impressive fleet surrounding us, but her favorite vessel was sitting just a few slips down from us. Fifth Day is Brandy’s pride and joy and stepping on board mean’s you’re a part of something special. “We treat everyone on board like family, not dollar signs,” she explains, we even pray before we go out.” And why Fifth Day? She smiles and says, “On the fifth day God created all the whales and fish in the sea, and said it was good.” Sailing by faith is a way of life on, and off, the water for Captain Brandy.
Together with her husband and five children, a passion and love for their church, as well as a servant mentality is shared in the family. Both she and her husband are studying to be pastors, and training for the ministry and if that weren’t enough, for past two years, she has been dedicating time to work with women who have been rescued from sex trafficking rings. “I live a blessed life!”, she tells us, “like, crazy things have happened to me, everything from people paying for a plane ticket when I was stuck in an airport to paying for my groceries, I don’t ask for things, they just happen!” From Summers on the water, to Fall Little League games, she loves the flexibility of owning her own vessel and business allow her. “As a family owned and operated business, you get out of the business as much as you put in, because we love what we do, we are able to reap the rewards, and still share our faith and vision,” she explains.
Being raised by a fishing captain, she has a generational wisdom that she is now instilling in her own children as well as with those she takes out on charter excursions. “The life of a mate or Captain isn’t for everyone though,” she says, “I’ve gone 35 days straight on the water, with no down time, that can take a toll on you”. From hauling up 400 lb. sharks after hours of fighting to charting Billfish or trolling in open water for the next big catch, she’s Captained hundreds of charters. She recounts a time when she was able to rescue 6 men from a capsized vessel in over six-foot swells, helping them to safety and alerting the Coast Guard. While she hopes one day to have the privilege of fighting a black marlin off the coast of Australia as an angler, she’ll continue her excursions in the Luckiest Fishing Village in the World that she has called home her entire life, faithfully following the one that walked on the water.
What her charter passengers have to say:
“Had an amazing day on the Fifth Day with Capt. Brandy and First Mate Jesse! This was my kids’ first ocean fishing experience, and it did not disappoint. This boat/crew is excellent with kids. My 2 sons (10, 8) and daughter (10) all caught a ton of fish and learned to do things the right way. Brandy and Jesse took care of everything including baiting hooks and helping them get set, to holding their rods as they reeled in their catch. They also were good with the “big kids”, setting us up with bigger rigs and baits to go after the larger fish. This boat holds 6 fisherman and is a perfect intimate outing for a family. Could not give a higher recommendation! Thanks for an awesome day on the water!” Casey Cooper – Amarillo, TX
“We had an amazing time aboard the Fifth Day with Captain Brandy. Jesse works his tail off. Seas were ridiculous and not favorable for fishing and yet we still caught a bunch.” – Joey Engelman
We went out on a private charter boat called 5th Day. Our captain and first mate made sure we were all having a blast. The captain put us on big fish and our fist mate kept us rigged up. We will do this trip again when visiting the Destin area. – Becca P
If you would like to book a charter with Captain Brandy, you can contact the office at HarborWalk Charters at 850-837-2343 or online at www.harborwalkfishing.com