9-5er Spotlight: Angler, Charlie Church

Kicking off our 9-5er Spotlight Series is Charlie Church. If you fish in coastal Virginia, chances are you've heard of Charlie, or seen one of his photos holding a gator Speckled Trout on Instagram. Charlie has been a friend of Chasing Tides since the beginning and truly embodies what we are all about. He is a family man, a 9-5er, and a wizard of a fisherman. We caught up with Charlie to learn more about his life, his passion for Speckled Trout fishing, and how he manages both to keep the chase alive.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

32 years old, happily been married for coming up on 6 years with a 1.5 year old boy at home. We live in Virginia Beach and moved here from Northern Virginia 4.5 years ago. I’m a Senior UX/Web designer for Marathon Consulting that’s been placed at Caterpillar as a consultant for the past 3 years.

If your 9-5 is not your passion, what is your passion?

I love where I work and what I do but my passion definitely is and always has been fishing. And for what it’s worth, Marathon does an absolutely great job of letting me pursue my passion while being successful at work.

What is it about Speckled Trout that keeps you relentlessly pursuing them?

They reward hard work. You might catch a few big ones by luck but it is possible to put in the effort and learn how to pattern the big ones and that’s what keeps me chasing after them.

I love fishing shallow water and to me, trout fishing is the best that the shallows of the bay have to offer. The big ones put up a challenging and always interesting fight, whether it’s them thrashing up top or throwing crazy directional changes on you. And let’s not forget how pretty they are.

What challenges do you face balancing work and family life? How do you manage your time to keep everyone happy and pursue your passion?

It’s not really a challenge but I always prioritize family time over fishing when I can. That means I don’t fish weekends a lot and instead try to fish while Parker (my son) is either asleep or at daycare. I do this by using PTO if I need to miss a few hours of work.

Leading up to a fishing outing, what does your preparation look like?

I keep an extremely detailed log. I think it’s at nearly 400 entries. It’s helped me really figure out when to go. It’s possible to predict good fishing days before actually arriving so my preparation is around figuring out what conditions/tides to look for.

I also do all my rigging at home. This goes beyond just tying on a bait. I’m often swapping hooks out on baits and making sure leaders are fresh. The last thing I want is to hook a giant and lose it due to a failure of mine that I could have prevented.

What advice can you give other 9-5ers to maximize their time on the water and land some gator trout?

Keep a log of every time you go out, whether successful or not to help you look for patterns. I’d look at it more as maximizing your success on the water instead of time. As far as resources, Speckled Truth is in my opinion the premier trophy trout resource. I also like reading Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine (https://www.texassaltwaterfishingmagazine.com/) and listening to all the Eastern Current podcasts. The more info you take in, the better as far as I’m concerned.

If you can only throw one lure, what are you throwing?

I’d probably throw a 27mr in Pilchard. Tough question though as there’s a few I’d really miss.

When was the last time you went fishing? How’d it go?

I went earlier in the week and it was ok. I got 6 trout with a 23. Normally that’d be