The Nivolos are avid anglers. Heck, one of their first dates was a fishing excursion. Jesse grew up in the outdoors fishing and hunting with his dad Jim, as did his wife, who gladly tagged along with her parents Andy and Lori Repko, both of whom were avid boaters and ocean anglers. She and her brother, Drew Repko, have been lifelong fishing buddies.
Says Jesse: “Andrea’s father was also on the cover of the Salt Water Sportsman in the early 1990s. We all hunt and fish together as a family.”
Jesse, who spent his childhood and teenage years in Litchfield and graduated from Oliver Wolcott Tech in Torrington, explains how the couple met. “I was at a bass pro shop opening in Bridgeport and Andrea was working there. When I asked her a few questions she was very articulate and passionate about fishing. We both had a love of the outdoors, which is one of the reasons I asked her out. Our first date was a lovely dinner at the White Horse in New Preston, after which we took a ride around Lake Waramaug and planned some future dates which certainly involved fishing.”
The couple married in May 2017 and moved to Kent later that year. “We moved to Kent to be closer to family. We love the area, the town, and its people,” says Jesse. “It’s is also conveniently located on the Housatonic River and is near local lakes such as Lake Waramaug.”
Andrea Nivolo, who grew up in New Milford, has built a strong reputation as being highly knowledgeable about fishing. A cover photo on the Connecticut Anglers Guide in 2014 “opened some doors for me,” she says, by bringing with it a certain amount of face recognition in the world of angling. She also appeared on the cover of the New England edition of The Fisherman in May of last year, and appeared in the Connecticut Anglers Guide again. Her social media handle @theblondeangler has about 25,000 followers. She has earned respect in a male-dominated sport. All of this attracted fishing supply and equipment companies, such as Abu Garcia, Berkley, and others, whom she represents at trade shows.
“I don’t think of myself as a woman fishing, just someone who likes to fish and knows something about the sport,” Andrea explains as she sits in the couple’s cozy home. “My mom was an avid fisherman and at one time held the Rhode Island record of having caught the biggest blue shark. I believe people follow me not because I am a woman but because they know I’m dedicated and know my stuff. I take a lot of time trying out new equipment so I can give educated advice.”
As for the personal significance of their hobby and pastime, Jesse offers: “We enjoy that we can spend time together. Every time we hit the water it’s an adventure, and because we do it together as a couple, our relationship is more often than not fun and challenging.”
The couple fishes more than 200 days each year and have based their vacations around angling, from South Dakota to Maine.
Locally, they enjoy fishing the Housatonic River, Lake Waramaug, Bantam Lake, Candlewood Lake, and small streams and ponds in Litchfield County. “Really, one of my favorite fishing spots of all time was a little stream near my house in Litchfield where I would catch native brook trout as a kid,” says Jesse. “The size of the body of water, or river, or the fish isn’t the most important thing.”
Andrea and Jesse Nivolo are looking forward to introducing their newborn daughter to the outdoors life they enjoy so much.