Amanda and Emily Gale share a lot in common. Aside from the fact they’re twins – and best friends – the Gale sisters enjoy a common passion for fishing and an entrepreneurial spirit that led them to a full-time career on the water. That passion also has inspired them on a shared mission.
Known as the Gale Force Twins, Amanda and Emily are internet content creators from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While many of their posts are fun, to be sure, they are serious about providing world-class fishing and boating content that educates, explains and entertains everyone from young children to seasoned anglers. And they have attacked their vocation with the same focus and work ethic that made them successful intercollegiate athletes and United States Coast Guard-licensed captains.
Amanda and Emily grew up in South Florida and early on gained an affinity for fishing off piers and pond banks whenever they could, despite coming from a non-fishing family. As their 13th birthday neared, they knew exactly what they wanted to ask for from their parents: a fishing charter, with one non-negotiable stipulation.
“We had done a handful of charters here and there,” Amanda said. “With every charter we went on all the captains were basically doing ‘hook and hand,’ and that was kind of frustrating for us because we really wanted to learn how to fish. So when our parents were looking for a charter for us for our birthday they specifically looked for one willing to teach us.
“They found one in Islamorada, and he was willing to take us out and teach us. So we spent the first hour on the boat tying knots. He basically let us do everything, and he was OK with us losing fish over it and things like that. We both really liked it.”
The newfound knowledge was beneficial, and the then-teens put it to good use whenever they had time. However, as busy students and budding athletes, Amanda and Emily didn’t have time to wet a line nearly as often as they’d have liked. The two competed as pole vaulters in college, first at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and then at the University of Miami, while each majoring in microbiology and immunology (while also minoring in chemistry and psychology) on a pre-med academic track, so their schedules barely left time for adequate sleep, let alone a day on the water.
Then they went to Key West for spring break the second semester of their senior year and spent some time with a charter boat captain they knew there. From that trip, the Gale twins came home with a plan to work on the boat for the summer. They spent that summer immersing themselves in the charter fishing industry and absorbing all the knowledge they possibly could. They went back to the University of Miami that fall for their final semester of school but stayed in touch with the Key West charter community and headed back down south whenever they had time.
“We kept going down to the Keys to work whenever we had a long weekend or break,” Amanda said. “That’s when we really got our feet wet in charter fishing, and that’s where I feel like each of us realized you could have a career on the water and you could have a career outside of being a doctor or a lawyer or whatever. It opened up our eyes, and it made me realize that, OK, wait, there’s a whole other option out there.”
Amanda and Emily graduated in December 2017, and by the fall of 2018 they were licensed and chartering customers on their own in the Miami area. Gale Force Twins LLC was off and running, specializing in truly involving clients in the fishing experience and teaching them how to fish along the way, just as they had requested a decade earlier.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, bringing tourism to a standstill. With few customers and time on their hands, the Gales changed course once again.
“We already had a bit of an Instagram following – around 10,000 followers – just from being in the charter business,” Amanda said. “So we said, ‘Why don’t we just go out and do some YouTube episodes so we can teach people to fish online?’ Knowing that the world would eventually open back up, we considered it a marketing expense for our business and worked five to six days per week during COVID, fishing, filming and producing content. We never expected that to be forever.”
But then engagement and viewership started to take off. Within four months they had 30,000 YouTube subscribers, their following on Instagram and Facebook blew up, and TikTok became a part of the conversation. Suddenly Amanda and Emily were not just charter captains but internet personalities with a large and loyal viewership. And their subscribers and followers often include entire families individually enjoying Gale Force Twins content, Emily said.
“It started organically and naturally on charter boats, before we even had our brand working,” Emily said. “It was awesome that we would have families bring their kids to fish with us, and they were very complimentary regarding what we were doing. Then as we built our brand we knew we wanted to cater to those people because they were the ones we connected with the most.
“We definitely have a huge kid following, and when we go to a boat show there are always a lot of families with little boys and girls who want to meet us and it’s very sweet. But a lot of times we’ll meet a family where the parents watch us on YouTube and Facebook, and maybe an older son or daughter watches us on Instagram, and maybe their younger kids watch us on TikTok. So each member of the family watches us on their preferred platform, which is really neat.”
And that’s not an idle boast as the Gale Force Twins, now 27 years old, have attracted a massive fanbase on a variety of social media platforms: They have 157,000 YouTube subscribers, 78,000 Instagram followers, 453,000 TikTok followers and 246,000 Facebook followers as of mid-March 2023. Their content runs the gamut from boating and fishing photos, to short videos that capture snippets of their lives (often featuring their beloved black German shepherd, Kona), to longform videos that teach people techniques for such things as targeting individual species or operating your boat in rough sea conditions. In short, as their varied viewership demographic suggests, there’s something for everyone. They also sell a variety of Gale Force-branded gear on galeforcefishing.com as well as their own line of premium fishing rods identical to the ones they use in their videos.
A typical two-week period for the twins might involve a week’s worth of fishing and shooting aboard their 33-foot Invincible Open Fisherman with its twin Mercury V8 300hp Verado® Outboards, and/or their 18-foot Hewes Bonefisher, powered by a Mercury 115hp Pro XS® engine. This would be followed by a week of editing and other post-production work (typically performed by Emily, who tends to be more artistic and free thinking) needed to prepare finished content for the various platforms, as well as bookkeeping, sponsor correspondence and other tasks related to operating a business (often handled by Amanda, who gravitates toward more organized and structured endeavors).
On and off the water, Amanda and Emily are truly best friends as well as sisters. They were roommates in college while sharing virtually every class and practice and are now living and working together. They are, however, definitely individuals, and despite how it may look, they don’t necessarily agree on absolutely everything. And according to Emily, it’s the different opinions and skills they each brings to the table that make the relationship work.
“I think that what makes it so special is the fact that we get to do it as sisters, best friends and business partners,” she said. “We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and we’re able to work together to build our brand and business. Knowing that, depending on what’s in front of us, we can utilize each individual skill to get things done.
“I’d say that I would definitely not want to do this with anyone else. And since we are not only sisters but twins, that’s a unique and fun aspect of our brand.”