1. When did you start fishing? What was the catalyst? I started fishing at a very young age at my Grandpa’s house in Alabama. He had a 3 acre pond full of bass and bluegill, and we would visit every Spring and Thanksgiving. Catching my first four pounder on a chrome rattle trap is probably what got me hooked. My dad probably tied it, because it was easy to throw far with a baitcaster back then.
2. If you could only use one rod and one lure, what would it be and why? This is an easy one. For the rod and reel set up, it would a Lew’s BB1 Pro Speed Spool spooled with 10 lb mono on an APR APG 7′ 3″ series rod. The lure would be a Rapala DT-6 in Helsinki Shad. Cranking is something I have always loved to do since I started bass fishing. I love that I can make the fish react when they aren’t in a feeding mindset. It’s also one of the best tools when fishing behind other anglers or heavily pressured water as well. I choose the DT-6 because it can be fished in 1′ down to about 7′ of water and it flat out catches them.
3. If you could fish any body of water in the world, what would it be and why? This is a tough one, but I would have to say the Delacroix, LA marsh. While I love catching bass, there is nothing more exciting than seeing a 30″ redfish in 1′ of water destroy a spoon or topwater. Plus their pulling power is intense.
4. When you’re not bass fishing, what other type(s) of fishing do you do? Like I mentioned earlier, I try to get down to LA to fish for redfish and speckled trout a couple times a year. I also fish for striper in winter around warm water discharges. The striper is the closest fish we have to redfish here in TN when it comes to aggressiveness and size.
5. If someone is looking to get their first fishing kayak, what are the top 3 features you’d recommend that they look for? When looking for your first you kayak you want to make sure you will be comfortable and dry. If you are wet and uncomfortable chances are you aren’t going back out. With that said, here are my top 3 features I recommend when looking for your first kayak.
· #1 is a quality seat. All of the latest Wilderness Systems Fishing Kayaks come with the AIRPROmax Seat and it allows me to fish 8 hour tournaments with no problems. The AirPro Max is optimized for comfort and transitions seamlessly from a low to high height position (and vice versa) without any clipping or loosening of straps.
· #2 would be to make sure the kayak is stable for you. Stable is a relative term when it comes to kayak fishing. What is easy for me to fish in doesn’t mean it works for everyone. When I get this question locally, I send everyone to Hook1 Outfitters to take the kayak out and demo it. I also tell them to bring their rods and fish in it for an hour or so. A ten minute demo will not help you.
· #3 is portability. Since many of my trips are a quick two or three hours I like a shorter 12′ kayak that I can load and get on and off the water quickly. If you are loading a 14′ kayak that weights over 100lbs it’s hard to get motivation to get out often. Kayak fishing is all about making it easy to get out on the water so make it as easy as possible.
6. We all appreciate your hard work in running Kayak Bass Fishing, TN (KBFTN). What has been the best part for you personally? I do love competing, but I love it when new anglers or new kayak anglers put it together and come to check in pumped about it. You can tell they fished hard and all the hard work paid off with a nice limit or a tournament win. Especially the anglers that are new to bass fishing in general. You can tell they are hooked for life.
7. Winning two Tennessee State Championships is a great accomplishment. What was the primary pattern that you locked in on to secure this year’s win? This year’s win was combination of cranking a Rapala DT-6 in low light on steep rocky banks and working a jig on red clay banks. What made this win special is that I didn’t get any local info and put in three solid days of prefishing. I learned during practice that the smallmouth were not sitting on the big rocky points that Center Hill Lake is known for. Dragging a 1/2oz Badboy jig on the red clay banks with random boulders seemed to hold the larger fish and I was lucky enough to confirm that in practice. Also, when the sun was low the smallmouth would roam the banks looking to chomp and that’s when I would parallel the bank in 5′ to 8′ of water with the DT-6. This technique put two fish over 18″ in the kayak to help secure my 2nd Tennessee State Championship.