Tatiana and Mario Cruz, who have been married since 2012, met in Tampa, Florida, in 2010. From the beginning of their relationship, Tatiana and Mario shared a deep love for water sports, especially kayak fishing. In 2017, Tatiana and Mario decided to create Tampa Bay Kayak Anglers as a community group on social media, where they shared photos and information on how to fish safely. Tatiana and Mario, of Puerto Rican descent, were then busy with their jobs, and the virtual community they had created on social networks was not active.
With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, people were looking for hobbies that allowed them to enjoy the outdoors while maintaining social distance. For Tatiana and Mario, losing their jobs overnight and with the arrival of their second daughter amid a pandemic, going kayak fishing was an escape from a world full of uncertainty to a world full of nature and peace.
One day Mario received a call from a friend asking what kind of kayak he should buy to be able to fish in it. Little by little, the calls increased. Everyone was looking for guidance on what fishing gear and kayaks to buy. Tatiana and Mario began receiving calls from people they did not know but were looking for Spanish information on how to learn to fish in a kayak. For Tatiana and Mario, it was clear that the Spanish-speaking community had a need. The sports lovers were obligated to share their knowledge of fishing and kayaking with their community.
In 2021, the Cruz family decided to use their savings and go on vacation to Orlando, Florida and attend the ICAST fishing convention. The family sought to obtain resources to help them with their goal, creating Tampa Bay Kayak Anglers into a non-profit organization to benefit their community.
At ICAST, Tatiana and Mario met companies and brands looking to reach the Hispanic audience and who better than Tampa Bay Kayak Angler to connect these companies and brands with the Hispanic market that continues to grow?
Thanks to the George H.W. Busch Vamos A Pescar Education Fund, Tampa Bay Kayak Anglers was launched as a registered 501c(3) non-profit organization. Since 2021, Tatiana and Mario, through Tampa Bay Kayak Anglers, have volunteered for organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of Tampa Bay, AMIKids, and Florida Youth Conservation Center Networks, among others. Additionally, Tampa Bay Kayak Anglers introduces new anglers through interactive and educational bilingual clinics, workshops and summer camps.