After spending eight seasons on four different teams in the NFL and winning two Super Bowls with the New York Giants, former wide receiver Domenik Hixon hung up his cleats and became a charter fishing captain in Pensacola, Florida. We caught up with him to find out about trading touchdowns for tuna.
You played for Denver, New York, Charlotte and Chicago? Did you have a favorite place to play?
Coming out of college, I just wanted an opportunity so I felt happy to play anywhere in the NFL. I played for eight seasons in the NFL. I was definitely blessed to be in the league for so long and spend so much time with a quality organization like the New York Giants.
Do you have a favorite NFL moment?
Definitely winning Super Bowl 42 [with the New York Giants in 2008]. I was cut by the Broncos after four games that season and I thought about retirement before the Giants picked me up.
When did you move to Pensacola, Florida?
In 2012, towards the end of my playing career, I bought a house there. My dad was in the Army and I was born and raised in Germany. We moved back to the States when I was in eighth grade and we’d visit near Pensacola where my dad grew up and we’d go fishing. So I always liked the area.
When did you decide to become a charter captain?
It was an excuse to have a boat! After I finished up playing football, you try to make that transition to something else. I enjoy fishing and meeting people. I had a buddy who chartered in the Florida Keys and I went out with him and picked his brain.
What kind of boat do you run now?
I run a 33 Contender with twin Suzuki 350s. For us in the Gulf of Mexico, the name of the game is range. With 450 gallons of fuel and those Suzukis, we can run a long way.
What is your favorite type of fishing?
Fishing for yellowfin tuna or blue marlin, being out by the oil rigs. I’ve been live-baiting for blue marlin, it’s just a flat-out challenge.
How does the excitement of hooking a blue marlin in a tournament compare with stepping on the football field?
It’s close. You’ve got that team atmosphere on the boat and it’s a lot of excitement and fun.
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Do you like to be on the water when you’re not fishing?
My wife loves to drive the boat. We take sunset cruises and look for dolphin and stop at dockside restaurants.
I bet owning a boat is a good way to get your old teammates to visit.
Oh yeah, I’ve taken a few of them out on the boat. It’s always a great time. And there’s comedic relief when your really strong friend from the NFL is sweating and struggling to real in an 8-pound snapper.