The Answers You’ve Been Looking For!

There have been numerous conversations, articles and blogs tossed around regarding pro staff positions. After reading Chris Payne’s article yesterday I thought I would chime in and give you my .02, for whatever it’s worth. Full disclosure here, I am a member of a few pro staffs and I believe in and use each product that I promote. As most of you know I am not a professional angler, but a professional promoter of outdoor equipment, all related to the kayak fishing industry. Promotion is the key to obtaining the pro staff position. Here are few things that I have done and continue to do in order to grow my product base. Here are the top three:
Relationships are the key to your success in obtaining a pro staff position. I was very fortunate to have a great friend, Rob Milam, who took me under his wing and introduced me to people who could help me achieve what I wanted to achieve. Networking is the key to building your pro staff resume.
Define your skill set. All companies are looking for an edge in the market. Most field representatives are challenged to grow their territory or market segment by 10-20 percent annually. Find those representatives and let them know what you do best. This could be writing and reviewing, shooting video that demonstrates the product and holding classes or seminars. Should you find yourself being more of a technical person offer to help set up for demo days or install rigging. By identifying the field representatives and making their job easier it will give you higher visibility when they are looking to add to their pro staff.
Build your social influence. The opportunity to promote and talk about products is huge on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and many other social sites. The folks that are making decisions about pro staffs are going to look and see what kind of audience you have and if you could be relevant to their products. Once you establish your audience you can take larger steps into videos, websites and possibly webcasts. Companies want face time with your contacts and by being relevant and active in social groups you have influence that will give them additional visibility.
Always remember that when you are making attempts and applications for pro staff positions things will be expected of you. Chris did a great job talking about the discounts, compensation and perks of the pro staff. Something important to remember is to not over commit and try to do too much. I find myself in this position and sometimes stretch myself to thin. You also have to realize that over posting promotional messages will turn your social influences off; you become the over poster! I have fallen prey to all of the above and strive to find the correct balance that benefits the companies I represent.
The hardest thing about the pro staff world is keeping it fun. With all the responsibilities of the blogs, videos, sponsor mentions and so on it can take the joy out of what your passion is. My advice is to have fun, enjoy the ride and take every opportunity to meet new people and further the sport of kayak fishing. Lastly, when someone asks you about how you became a pro staff member go ahead and share it. There is nothing like paying it forward!
Good Luck & Keep Living The Dream!

All You Have To Is Ask

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Who says all kids do is hang on the phone and hover around video games? All it took to get this guy out on the water was an invitation, turned out he’s a natural. The next generation depends on you.

First Time Kayak Trip

The stars aligned and it all came together for myself and a good friend to hit the water. I have fished with Eugene before, but he had never used a kayak due to his concerns about stability along with not being a great swimmer. I figured the best way to get him on the water was to let him have an opportunity to use the Hobie Pro Angler 14.

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My goal was to get Eugene as comfortable and confident as possible so he could focus on fishing. After a brief demo of the Mirage Drive, Vantage Seat and Rudder controls we were off.

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All I can say is that Eugene is a natural! He was able to put the kayak where he wanted to go and hold his position allowing him to catch his first kayak bass, in short order.

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All his concerns about getting wet, being unstable and having to do a lot of work left the building and he just kept on catching fish.
People ask me about how we can grow the sport and increase participation on the North Texas tournament scene. My answer is to always be talking, posting and inviting others out to experience what we already know. This was an excellent case of a guy loving to fish and having no way to get of the bank. The Hobie Pro Angler 14 changed that for him. For more information about Hobie Products check out http://www.mariner-kayaks.com

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM!

Mariner-Sails: Leading the Southwest In Everything Kayak!

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It is a well established fact that I have a tackle, gear and gadget addiction. I also know that there are many like me in the kayak fishing community. As most, I am an impulse buyer, meaning I’m at a place of business and see the product, purchase the product and then use the product. I get real frustrated when I make a purchase and have to wait the fourteen days for free shipping. Heck, with my track record I may have forgotten why I wanted the stuff in the first place. I am also a huge last minute guy. As tournaments or appearance draw near I always need that one last thing and there is not time for ordering. What a kayak bass angler to do when he’s impulsive, in a hurry and doesn’t have the time or knowledge to install items correctly? He goes to Mariner-Sails.

I want to spend a segment and tell you why Mariner-Sails, in Dallas Texas should be your one and only stop for kayak fishing merchandise. Yes, they carry every name brand under the sun and are knowledgeable about each product they represent, but what separates them from the rest of the pack is that they have it in stock. When you walk into the shop you are overwhelmed by the scale of kayaks and supplies they have to offer. I have deemed them the largest, most knowledgeable kayak supplier in the Southwest. For all those folks reading in the Southwest this is your one stop. For those of you that are out of town they have an excellent website that’s easy to use. This site gives you pricing, specs, sizes and all the information that you need to make an informed decision. You may ask what if I have a question. Well pick up the phone and call, (972) 241-1498; make sure you speak to Shaun Russell or Dave Potts. These two guys are lights out when it comes to answering your questions relating to any kayak fishing product.

So, if it’s not enough to have the largest stock in the Southwest or to have an available help line to discuss you questions you can add service and warranty. Mariner Sails takes those two items to the extreme. You can search all over fishing forums and see the testimony of all the folks who are not only satisfied, but are raving fans of Mariner-Sails. I have seen the team jump hurdles and crawl under wire to satisfy customers in a warranty situation. The great thing is your never alone wondering what’s up. Mariner-Sails offer excellent follow up and communication so you know exactly where you are in the process.

I say the above 448 words to say that not many people go to the lengths to satisfy, support and educate their clients. The shop offers numerous support seminars that educate you from water safety to catching a limit of crappie and everything in between. When you are looking to make that kayak or kayak accessory purchase make sure you call the team at Mariner-Sails.  These guys are the only people I trust with my Hobie Pro Angler 14’s.

Remember that when you are in a hurry and feeling impulsive and need over the top service call Mariner-Sails. You will not be disappointed and heck you may see me in there loading up another basket of greatness. I have learned that when you’re doing business you want to make sure you’re dealing with folks who know what they’re talking about, treat you fairly and have it in stock!

 

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM

Elements Don’t Hold These Guys Back!

Even Though It Was Tough Matt Scotch Found Away To Make It Happen!

Even Though It Was Tough Matt Scotch Found Away To Make It Happen!

Bad Weather Didn't Keep Adrian Acosta Off Lake Texoma

Bad Weather Didn’t Keep Adrian Acosta Off Lake Texoma

 

This weekend marked the marathon stretch of being in the promotional staff for any company that is into the show scene. We had an excellent time with Mariner-Sails and the Steve & Lisa Oxenford from Hobie Cat.  While I stood in the booth talking about the greatness of Kayak Bass Adventures and Hobie Fishing it seemed strange to see my Pro Angler 14 all dressed up but no water to float in. My mind wondered outside and my thoughts were with the guys that were out on Lake Texoma and Lake Fork making their Kayak Bass Adventures come true. The following are their stories of braving high winds, rain and possibilities of snow. However, as true Kayak Bass Adventurers they came through in a big way!

Fishing can be tough in any weather pattern. Whether there isn’t enough wind, too much wind or its cold or it’s hot; kayak fishing is seldom easy, just ask Adrian Acosta and Matt Scotch. I have known these two guys for some time and I now that they are passionate about their kayak fishing. As I was finishing my duties at the Dallas Boat Expo these two guys were coming off the water with some really nice catches.

I don’t know much about Lake Texoma, but Adrian Acosta is one who knows his way around. With the weather conditions being so inconsistent this winter the fishing can be shut down with the slightest adjustment in pressure. When I spoke to Adrian about his catch he told me that they had been on bigger fish earlier in the week, but last Saturday was a struggle.  He caught his stripper on 1 ounce Roadrunner jig trolling it very slowly. Even though he didn’t get the numbers he sure did get the quality. This fish landed his team in the top three for the start of kayak wars.

Matt Scotch chased a different bass this last weekend. He tried to coax the largemouth bass from its winter cover. In speaking to Matt, he said it was all about knowing the elements and being one with the fish. He noticed that his temps were one degree different from where others were fishing and that one degree made a difference. He caught this quality bass on a lipless crank using a medium retrieve. He was able to find some grass and rip it through. This tactic was all it took to land this great tournament keeper. Matt also used persistence and when others left he stayed and continued fishing. Long paddles, loading and unloading and traveling to a new spot made the difference for Scotch this last weekend. Way to stick it out.

As I am writing this, it is snowing! I know that somewhere there are anglers braving the elements to find “The One”. Kayak anglers love the extremes and the face of the challenge. Not everyone is made to fight the elements, but those of us who are can grab some good fish. As for me, I will be back at the Boat Expo this weekend meeting new people and promoting the sport I am passionate about. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM!

KBA’s Best of 2013!

Where would we be without innovation? This year has been an outstanding year of Innovative products for the Kayak Angler. All of these new products have improved the fishing experiences for those that have used them. These products are ranked in no particular order, so I hope you enjoy Kayak Bass Adventures Best of 2013.

Kayaks:

Hobie Pro Angler 14: In my opinion this is the most outstanding fishing kayak on the market today. The Pro Angler has the size and stability to handle the largest bodies of water. Hobie has provided massive amounts of built in storage, from the front hatch with removable liner to the twist and seal hatch with retractable tackle management system. The crown jewel, for me, is the fully adjustable vantage seating. When you spend hours chasing bass it is helpful to have a seat that supports your back and sits high enough to give you fantastic leverage on fish. Lastly, this kayak offers multiple rod storage so you do not have to constantly retie your baits. The Pro Angler gives you six horizontal rod holders, along two vertical rod holders. For me the best kayak for 2013 is definitely the Hobie Pro Angler 14.

Hobie Outback: When I am not in the Pro Angler 14, I prefer the Hobie Outback. For creeks, rivers or small neighborhood ponds I feel this kayak gives me everything I need to be comfortable. Again, Hobie provides outstanding storage, above and below deck, the comfort of the Mirage drive for hands free fishing and the Lowrance ready mounting system for the fish finder. This kayak is light weight and allows me to handle with ease for loading and unloading.  

Kayak Accessories:

Yak Attack Black Pac:  This great innovation has changed the way I store my tackle and has greatly improved my organization on the water. The Black Pac is more than a milk crate offering you endless opportunities for rigging. A few of my favorite items on my Black Pac are my gear tracks. These allow me to mount my cameras in order to capture awesome video. I also have a spot for fish grips, pliers and marking buoys and the Hawg Trough. Kayak Bass Adventures believes this to be the best accessory of 2013!

Brute Outdoors: Nothing completes a Kayak more than a great cooler. The Brute Box is an outstanding product that offers thick insulated walls for maximum ice retention, two heavy duty cantilever latches, rubber gasket for extra tight seal, grab rails for easy carrying, over sized anti-skid rubber feet and multiple tie-down slots for cooler security. I have had numerous coolers and the Brute Box is for real! The Brute 25 fits perfectly behind your seat and allows for easy access. Lastly, the boxes are true to size, meaning that 25 – means actual 25 quart with room for long necks to stand straight up. The perfect kayak pair will be the Brute Box 25 on board and the Brute 50 back at camp. These are made in America and you will see the difference.

Yak Attack Zooka Tube w/ 8’ Parking Pole: I don’t use an anchor trolley because it doesn’t suit my style of fishing. I move a lot and try to cover max water. When I do need to hold a spot, such as grass, pads or timber I count on the Zooka Tube and 8’ Parking Pole.  I realize the primary function of the Zooka is for rod holding, but I have found it to be an excellent piece of equipment for the bass angler during the spring spawn. The reason I love it is because it is quick and easy to deploy and the 8’ Parking pole is a great weapon to push off gators or snakes that get to close for comfort. If you haven’t tried this application- try it.

Battery Pack & Pelican Case: I like simple and easy. This watertight case along with battery gives you security in knowing that you battery is safe from moisture and from the damage caused from dropping. When you have to charge it is charged in the case. I call this my battery brief case and don’t leave home without it.

Supernova Fishing Lights: These bad boys hit the kayak scene this year and took night fishing to the next level. I currently don’t have a set, but when the kayak goes into dry dock this season you can rest assure that we will be installing a set. I like these because they also go along with safety and being seen. I look forward providing a full report next season. From those that I know that have them, it was their Ah Ha moment for fishing after dark.  Great job Supernova!

Fishing Electronics:

Lowrance Electronics: You can’t go wrong with any of the HDS – Gen 2 series of products, enough said!

Hydrowave Mini: This is one of those products that will have doubters, but I have seen it in action and it’s the real deal. Whether you are a tournament angler or a weekend warrior you will put more fish in the boat when you fire up the Hydrowave.

Fishing Rods:

Temple Fork Outfitters: There is not a more quality, well balanced or greater feeling rod than the TFO GTS rods. These rods are lightweight, extra fast at the tip and have amazing feel. One of the things that make a TFO Rod is the tactical series guide with machined stainless steel inserts that are super-hard chrome anodized then swaged into a chromium- impregnated stainless frame. I say all that to say its tough and saltwater safe. TFO rod blanks are selected by Gary Loomis and engineered to the highest quality. I personally prefer the 7’-3’’ GTS in Medium, Medium Heavy, Heavy and X-tra Heavy. Can’t wait to tell all you guys what is coming down the pipe for 2014!

Outdoor Clothing:

Columbia Sportswear: We are all out in many different elements over the course of the season. I have found that Columbia meets all the challenges. A few things to check out is, anything in the Omni-Heat line as well all their performance fishing gear clothing. It’s highly important that you are comfortable and look sharp, Columbia Sportswear brings it all together.

Well, there it is – The Best of 2013! Hope you guys will check out these products and companies and discover the difference it will make in your fishing experience. There is one great retailer to look to when you are searching for quality kayak angling gear and that is the fine folks at Mariner-Sails. You will not find a more knowledgeable and helpful staff anywhere. Feel free to stop by the showroom or shop on line at www.mariner-kayaks.com.

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM!

 

 

Great Friends And Good Baits

ImageHaving great friends are priceless and finding outstanding, versatile, bait is sometimes just as good. I can’t say enough great things about the Keitech Swing Impact Fat. I love throwing small to medium sized soft swimbaits and the Keitech fits the bill for my style of fishing. Over the last week I have had outstanding success with this bait. I prefer to use the 4.8 variety due to targeting larger fish during the fall feed up. The above hawg was caught by my good friend Scott Ogg earlier this week. He was skeptical about the bait, due to the cost but after reeling in quality fish after quality fish he is sold! Great job Scott and I look forward to being on the water with you soon.

I have tried to put my finger on why this bait is working so well for me and it boils down to a couple of different things. First, the colors of these baits are excellent and seem to blend well in clear or lightly stained water. Second, is the action of this bait with the ribs and the paddle tail, moves a ton of water. When you take it out of the package you will feel the difference versus other brands of plastic swimbaits. It starts for me with the salt that they place in the body. The bait is heavily salted and gives it great weight. I have fished it weightless in newly flooded grass or timber, thank you recent rains, with good success. I also like using the 1/8” weighted belly hook as well for deeper applications. I will be looking forward to fishing it on a jig head on the next outing. All in all this bait works for me because I can use in varying applications which cuts down on the amount of soft plastic swimbaits I have to carry. Even though I fish out of the Hobie PA 14, which can handle tons of tackle and rods, by narrowing down my choice I save room and spend more time fishing instead of wondering what to do next. Like I have said before it all boils down to confidence and right know I have extreme confidence in the Keitech Swing Impact Fat.  Check them out at www.keitechfishing.com and experience the violent strike for yourself.

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM!