You are here
Home > Community > Posada family’s fishing business emerges from breast cancer battle

Posada family’s fishing business emerges from breast cancer battle

Lorraine and Mario Posada on their fishing boat in the Ten Thousand Islands Oct. 11. (Photo Beverly Bidney)

EVERGLADES CITY — When Seminole tribal member Lorraine Posada was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2020, she wasn’t certain what direction her life would go. Little did she know at the time that her battle with cancer would inspire the creation of Saltwater Hippie Fishing Charters, her family’s new business.

“Our spirits were defeated after the diagnosis,” said Lorraine, of the Immokalee Reservation. “So we started going fishing.”

Her husband Mario Posada, who has been fishing in the Everglades for more than 25 years, convinced her it was time to buy a boat. They had a 24-foot center console boat built, complete with pink ribbon details on each side.

When Mario had the Action Craft bay boat built, he mentioned his wife’s diagnosis of breast cancer. The boat company asked if they could put the pink ribbons on as a tribute to breast cancer awareness.

The Posadas have two daughters, Lauren and Lindsey, and a son, Brandon. During the height of the pandemic, the family was isolated together and often went fishing. The family fishing trips motivated them to start a business doing what Mario has done for most of his life.

Lorraine didn’t know if she would lose her hair as she fought cancer, so Mario assured her he would shave his head if she lost hers or not cut his hair until she was completely finished with her treatment. She didn’t lose her hair, but endured four surgeries over the course of a year. True to his promise, Mario didn’t cut his hair and grew a full beard.

“When I finished my surgeries, it was a big moment,” she said. “I liked his hair long. Someone said he looked like a fishing hippie.”

The reference stuck and inspired them to name their new business Saltwater Hippie Fishing Charters. Mario went to school to earn his master captain license, which allows him to operate a charter company. The business opened in January.

“It just made sense,” Lorraine said. “Mario’s been fishing all his life; why not make a living at it? He knows what he’s doing.”

The business is based in Everglades City. Mario takes clients fishing in the Ten Thousand Islands area of Everglades National Park, which is a maze of water and mangrove islands south of Everglades City.

Every captain has a favorite, and secret, area to catch snook, redfish, tarpon and other game fish including the protected goliath grouper, which must always be thrown back.

“You have to know where to find them and what kind of bait to use,” Mario said. “Out here, live bait is everything. When people ask me where I caught that, I say ‘in the water.’”

Common baitfish, which are caught in the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, include mullet, red herring and pilchards. Once the bait is caught, Mario heads back to the mangrove islands to fish.

On a recent outing, bait fish were hard to find, so he retreated to the islands where he threw out a cast net for bait. Among the catch was a small snook.

“We’ll see you again when you are 32 inches,” Mario said as he released the animal back into the water.

One challenging aspect of the business is the weather, which dictates what type of fish will be targeted. If Mario can’t go out into the open water for baitfish he implements plan B, using shrimp and fishing closer to the mangrove islands.

Mario said fall is the best season for fishing because the fish bite better and the water is cooler. Snook season is open now until Dec. 15. The limit is one per day and the fish may only be 28-to-32 inches long or it must be thrown back.

The most satisfying part of being a charter captain to Mario is having a client who never caught a fish finally hook one that they can take home. Even clients who don’t usually fish can relish the quiet beauty of the area, including uninhabited beaches on mangrove islands.

Loggerhead sea turtles, which average about 275 pounds, are a common site in the open waters near the Ten Thousand Islands.

“Sometimes if a client sees one, they are good for the day,” Mario said. “It becomes the highlight of the trip.”

Lorraine wasn’t always a fan, but now she loves going fishing.

“There’s something about that tug on your line,” she said. “You can get bored if you don’t get one, but catching them is fun. We don’t go fishing, we go catching.”

For more information, visit the Saltwater Hippie Fishing Charters Facebook page, email or call (239) 530-8662.

Lorraine Posada hooked a goliath grouper while her husband Mario got its weight. The fish weighed in at 25 pounds, but was thrown back since the species is protected. (Photo Beverly Bidney)
Lorraine Posada holds a young snook, which got caught in the cast net off this island in the Ten Thousand Islands. The snook was thrown back since it was too small to be legally caught. (Photo Beverly Bidney)
Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at