Bikini Bowfishing: Female duo gets captains license, with plans to get on the water soon

Tina Harbuck
Shelby Lynn Kirby says, “I'd rather bowfish and than regular fish any day of the week.”

Not only did Shelby Lynn Kirby and Paige Tashik get their captain’s license, they have plans for a new adventure — bikini bowfishing.

Both girls grew up fishing local waters and love the outdoors, from shooting ducks to bow hunting for deer.

So when Tashik confronted Kirby about getting a captain’s license, she was onboard.

“My husband Chris said, ‘I’ve got an idea, why don’t ya’ll do some bikini bowfishing,” Shelby Lynn said. “Dollar signs are in his mind.”

Capt. Chris Kirby runs the charter boat Backlash out of Fishing Fleet Marina in Destin and also has a couple of bay boats, Destin Inshore Charters, docked behind Fudpucker’s on Okaloosa Island.

The idea is to buy another bay boat that the girls can run bikini bowfishing trips aboard starting in April 2017.

But before any of that takes place the girls got their licenses.

“I was going to do it last year, but she (Tashik) was kind of my motivator because I didn’t want to go by myself,” Shelby Lynn said.

The two went to sea school, passed the test and are waiting for their certificate to come in the mail.

“It was a lot of studying and stuff to learn,” said the 19-year-old Tashik.

“It’s not hard material, just a lot of memorization,” Shelby Lynn said.

The duo got their license to run a six-pack, which is what the Backlash is, a six-passenger boat.

“He’s letting me drive a little bit,” Shelby Lynn said of her husband. “He’s not letting me pull out of the slip yet or pull back in, but he’s been letting me drive and hold up and stuff.”

As for the bay boats, the 22-foot Cape Horns, “I can drive those with no problem,” said the 24-year-old Shelby Lynn.

“He was all for it, but I don’t know how he feels about me running the boat just yet,” she said.

“I love it, but she’s not quitting her day job,” Chris said.

And her day job – “working for me,” he said with a laugh.

“She’s my booking agent and phone answerer. She’s more valuable in the office than on the water,” he said. “She’s not running the boat.”

Shelby Lynn admits she’s more valuable in the office, but she’s not giving up on the bikini bowfishing idea.

“I’d rather bowfish than regular fish any day of the week,” Shelby Lynn said. “You can shoot cobia, sheepshead, spadefish, stingray.”

The biggest thing she has shot and released was a 90-pound stingray.

“It’s not hard, the bow themselves act like a recurve,” she said. “You just pull it back and shoot.”

The key is to not “think about it, just pull back, just use your instincts and let it fly,” Shelby Lynn said.

As for Tashik, “I’ve got some learning to do.”

“I already bow hunt and fish,” Tashik said, but added she hasn’t done bowfishing yet. “I’m very excited and think it’s going to be good.”

“I grew up outdoors, it’s in my blood,” Tashik said.