Chasten Whitfield is a 22-year-old professional fresh and saltwater angler. However, she’s so much more than a talented captain and fisherman — she’s also an amazing teacher and the founder of the inspirational nonprofit, Chastenation.
Through Chastenation, Chasten brings the joys and empowerment of fishing to kids who may not otherwise have the ability or access to do so, particularly girls and children with disabilities — or, as she describes them, “differently-abled” fishermen. She also goes beyond the basics of sportfishing and uses her platform to connect with young people about the very real struggles of social media and bullying.
If you think this sounds pretty fantastic you wouldn’t be the only one — Chasten is kicking off the second season of her TV show, “Their Life My Lens with Chasten Whitfield” in 2023.
Read on to learn how this incredible young fisherwoman and Saltsy Sea Star is making the world a better place by empowering kids to pick up a fishing pole.
Who Is Chasten Whitfield?
Chasten has been fishing her whole life in her home-state of Florida, but she never would have guessed that her pastime would help her launch such an incredible and fulfilling career.
Growing up, she knew what it was like to be bullied and struggle with the superficial qualities of social media. So, she found her own escape from daily troubles in fishing. This became the outlet that reminded her what was important and real in her life.
Fishing quickly became more than a hobby and Chasten competed in local tournaments — oftentimes being the only girl in the kid divisions. However, she grew tired of being the only young lady competing, so in high school, she taught some of her friends how to fish, too!
She and her friends would donate their tournament earnings to a children’s charity. She talks about this wonderful experience on her website: “Sometimes we gave back even more than we won in the tournament. Each time we would go up on stage to receive our check we would give it back to whatever charity we were fishing for, which was an absolute blast.”
A Young Girl with a Big Heart
This wasn’t the only time Chasten helped kids in need.
When Chasten was just 7 years old she saw the news footage of the devastating damage from Hurricane Katrina. This spurred her to take her piggy bank to the Red Cross to donate every last penny in hopes of helping the children affected by this terrible tragedy.
By 2013, between fishing tournaments, lemonade stands, and garage sales, Chasten had donated $8,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and $1,200 to Face Autism.
Her passion for serving children grew even more when she met Easton in 2015 at a fish camp. At 5 years old, Easton’s spina bifida had prevented him from ever experiencing the joys of fishing or boating.
“That day changed the rest of my life,” Chasten says. “I was making my short term and long term goals and was sharing my plans with the owners of Yellowfin boats. Yellowfin offered to make an handicap accessible boat to make things easier taking kids in wheelchairs fishing. For the first 6 months of my junior year of high school I met with Yellowfin once a month to make this boat. I even took Easton with me to ‘fit’ him in the boat.”
By Chasten’s senior year of high school, she and her fishing team had taken nearly 50 sick, disadvantaged, and otherwise special kids on fishing excursions and raised over $12,000 for local children’s charities.
What Is Chastenation?
Chasten has always had a big heart, so founding Chastenation was a natural next step. The same week that she turned 18, Chasten passed her test to become a USCG licensed charter captain and registered Chastenation as a 501c3 non-profit.
Through Chastenation, she continues to introduce disadvantaged and ill kids to the art of sportfishing while teaching them other positive life skills to combat the negative impacts of social media and bullying.
“In their day-to-day lives, some of the kids I work with fight for their lives, but on the days they are with me, they only have to fight a fish. The fish don’t care if they’re tall, skinny, a girl or a boy — fish don’t judge,” she says.
Bringing Her Message to the Big Screen
Chasten earned a degree in TV and Film Production at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). She aims to use this degree to tell the stories of the kids she helps by producing videos and photographs that capture the essence of how fishing can benefit disadvantaged youth.
Her dream of sharing her story with others and making a larger difference is coming true. Her Chastenation Fishing YouTube channel has 3.84K subscribers, and her audience is growing quickly as her message about “differently-abled fishing” spreads to TV viewers.
The first season of “Their Life My Lens with Chasten Whitfield” aired on The Sportsman Channel. Now, she’s busy working on season two which will air on Discovery and Waypoint TV in 2023.
Chasten and her team will continue teaching kids the value of stepping away from their daily struggles and distractions to find fulfillment in the sport of fishing. If you watch her show (and you definitely should!), then you’ll agree that there is nothing more meaningful than the squeals and laughter of a young kid who just reeled in their first fish.
Breaking Barriers in the Fishing World
Chasten is setting the example for women and children everywhere that fishing is a sport anyone can try. For such a young person, Chasten has inspired so many people to chase their dreams despite all odds against them. She is the perfect example of a Saltsy Sea Star — someone who teaches people to never let the fear of judgment deter them from chasing their dreams. Thank you, Chasten!
Hurricane Ian Recovery
You won’t be surprised to learn that Chasten is helping out her home state as they fight their way through Hurricane Ian cleanup.
Be sure to follow @Chastennation’s stories on Instagram to catch glimpses of how she’s promoting Florida’s recovery!
And if you want to make a difference now, shop Saltsy’s Florida Strong Fundraiser.