April Observation 2018 – Offshore Kayak Fishing Texas


Early April has been tough if you are seeking early nearshore king mackerel, but as mother nature would have it, she would save the best for last.  Before launch, I find myself trying to piece together a puzzling pattern to help give myself the edge on finding our silver friends. Through my experience, this time of year always produces shallow running scattered kings.  Once again, my first king and loss occurred early morning a few hundred yards off the beach. It was an initial surprise but makes sense after considering the data; shallow but warmer surface temperature continue to produce early for me.



Much like the last few years, patterns continue to repeat. April is typically the first month of the king mackerel push coming from the south. Oh and by the way, don’t expect consistency.  With king mackerel flushing, why are most anglers not catching?  We can argue technique all day, but I think a big reason for this is understanding how the conditions play out the food chain. As kayak anglers we enjoy sprinting towards the rigs early which isn’t a bad idea considering the concentration of fish. Although, have you been that angler that catches kings on the way back from the rigs and not at them?  April comes with a mixture of inconstant air temperatures, and yes it can affect shallow waters before taking toll in the deep.  I believe that with the combined push of mullet and what follows after, it creates an all to familiar pattern toward the jetties. As the food chain gets larger, it eventually assists with spreading out southern kings once they get pinned chasing spanish, and other bait fish into warm shallow waters. JETTY KINGS!  With the scattering of kings don’t get to frustrated, I know a lot of great anglers who didn’t catch this past weekend. April and king fishing in general is about covering ground and translating the conditions could give you the edge.



Yes Corpus Christi kings have been spread out and based on my own personal results, I had one run 800 yards off the beach, mid column around 8-10 feet. Once I arrived at the rigs (40 feet) it was lively with spades, spanish, jacks, and a few cobia, although the bite didn’t really turn on till around 12 pm.  Rig kings by noon where still running mid column (20 feet) right under the spade fish and not circling the rig either. Most the fish I saw where moving north, north-west toward the jetties.  I picked up on this pattern and drifted through the underwater highway filled with fish. The bite was one after the other, so keep an eye on this when you see schools b-lining westward. By the way, you’ll need a fish finder to pick up on these patterns.



So, despite silver game being spread out this weekend, we still had some huge king mackerel being pulled out further north of my location. It’s a good sign that this year will hopefully be a record breaking year for someone.  As we enter May, look for more action to continue with the best yet to come! A few weekday windows look to open so it looks like I’m back to getting my gear ready. I’ll let you know what more I find, till next time!


– Chris Castro




From Bass to Redfish Riches

From Bass to Redfish Riches

By: Robert Alan Granado

I’ve always had a little fishing experience in me. Even in my younger days pop taught me traditional fishing, but it wasn’t till July of 2017 when I really got into fishing.  Living here in San Antonio, Texas freshwater fishing was my only option; occasionally taking a trip to the coast. I was beginning to really enjoy the sport, and my number of trips begin to increase.


July through October of 2017 the sport grew on me. My eyes were glued to YouTube trying to figure out how to catch bigger and better Bass. While cycling through content, I found a YouTube channel called ‘Next Level Fishing TV’.  I noticed they were from Corpus Christi, so I subscribed and watched a few videos.  I must say I was extremely hooked, but there was a big problem; I was very over weight.  I was 360 lbs. and it was so hard to find a kayak that was suitable for me. I finally came across and purchased the NuCanoe frontier 12; a kayak where I would begin learning the basics.  Meanwhile I’m on a Mission to drop weight, and when the time was right, I would begin looking for a faster kayak to cover more ground. I discovered Vibe Kayaks.


I purchased my first Vibe Kayak in 2017, and it was on.  Immediately I begin entering bass tournament, and even freshwater red fish tournaments! I was serious, although not nearly as good as the more experienced.  The fishing community was a big help, a lot of people gave me so much advice, and by then I was talking to Chris Castro, Reuben Pena, and Ram Garcia.  I was really wanting to hang out with them, and I knew they were taking fans out.  With a Rockport tournament coming up and in needed a partner, I crossed my fingers and asked one of the NLF guys if they would be my partner! Chris Castro originally said yes, but he had an offshore kayak fishing seminar to teach, so he recommended getting in contact with his partner, Reuben Pena. I recall a mixture of nerves and excitement as I absolutely knew nothing about saltwater fishing.


One week before the tournament I join Chris and Reuben to get familiar with the fishing boundaries.  While fishing for redfish and trout, here I am holding my excitement.  They don’t know it, but in my eyes, I’m fishing with industry celebrities.  These are the guys who bring folks into the sport the right way, and safety is always a priority.  I must say, they are the same on camera as in person! The look on their face when I told them I never caught a trout or redfish before! I knew I was in for a ride when they said, “look we are going to get you on something today since this is your first time out here on a kayak”. Soon after I caught my first trout around 18 inches. It fought nicely, but not as hard as a bass would.  We had a good time on the water even though we weren’t quite ready for competition.  Looking forward, the wind conditions didn’t look good, and I knew I needed to get prepared!

Tournament Day

Rules are simple. Bring your 3 heaviest slot reds, 5 heaviest trout, 5 heaviest flounders, and lures only. Heaviest stringer takes home the big check. Side pot was largest slot red fish.  I was locked, loaded, and excited about the boundaries of this road runner tournament.  Reuben and I discussed the game plan; launch at 6:15 am with our first cast at 6:30 am. As soon as we turned on our lights, Texas size mosquitoes are waiting in the buffet line.  It was a bit overwhelmed, but there was no turning back, and the sun would come up soon.  We started off throwing topwater lures, Reuben was about 20 yards from me doing the same. On my second cast I hear the biggest blow up in my life, and my reel started screaming back at me! The next thing I heard is, “KEEP YOUR ROD TIP UP!”.  This redfish couldn’t pick a side, she was all over the place.  Reuben told me to stay calm, let her run, and she will exhaust.  The second thing I did wrong was not letting her run, I was fighting her like a bass! 15 minutes of a heart racing tug, I couldn’t believe how big this redfish was.  My first redfish was a GIANT! We knew we were in the money when it measured just below 28 inches, but soon after we had worse issues to face. The winds where cooling and we all knew a cold front was on the way.  It’s 10:00 am and we are sitting in the middle of the water.  Out of nowhere a 30mph gust hits like a truck, and Rueben takes me to a nearby spool island for protection.

Weigh In

By 1:30 pm Reuben and I are cold and soaking. A good buddy of ours Tracy from the Fin Factory team also came in, and I must say he had a good size stringer. It’s as big as mine, and there was a little rule in the book that said, “Biggest redfish goes to the winner that checks in first”.  Reuben and I rushed to load up, and Reuben gave me this look that said, lets burn.  Official weight in was at 3:00 pm and apparently a few teams called it early due to conditions, which makes me feel good about this redfish.  After a few back and forth measurements, the verdict was in. I won my first BIG RED, in my first saltwater tournament with my first redfish!  Words can’t explain how happy I was, and to think it all started from a YouTube video.  After this tournament I met a lot of great folks, and new friends.  We all shared the same passion and that’s kayak fishing!  I’m definitely going to be a cross fisherman, learning both fresh and saltwater fishing.  My next bucket list in the kayak fishing world now is to build up toward the offshore experience, and I’m already making moves to help me begin that process.  





Growing up, I remember fishing with my grandpa, and my uncle Ken. These men were instrumental in my life and guided my passion for fishing. Some of my most treasured memories and lessons occurred during these moments. Pure, and unspoiled by the rest of the world, I was a boy with a fishing pole. I remember trips to the lakes around San Antonio, Austin, and Laguna Madre. Those were the days of wild goose chasing redfish, black drum, and at times specs as long as my arm!

I often reminisce back to the past before the stresses of adult life. Memories can get us through hard days, so I’ve instilled these traditions into my own family. To de-stress after the holidays, I recommend kayak fishing. I actually seem to recommend this to everyone I meet these days. It is proven to be both relaxing, and healing.

Saltwater enthusiasts know, winter time can produce some of the years best fishing. Even the novice, just a guy who wants to take his family fishing for fun, can look up public fishing areas that TPWD offers. Although wading and shore fishing is fun, there’s more relaxation in a kayak if you ask me. Launching a kayak is where a man and his family can get lost and draw back to a simpler past time.

Last year, I had the pleasure to go on a guided trip with Capt.Fil Spencer out of Corpus Christi, Texas around February. Let me tell you, it was life changing! Catching 5 redfish within 4 hours on soft plastics is an experience that can only be understood by going with this legend. As I write this, college kids are dreaming of spring break and partying. I’m glad my birthday present was a trip before all that madness! My dreams are of swirling chaos; a perfect orchestration the Texas Bays offer.

If you’re fortunate enough, call your favorite guide. Or simply tune into weather and fishing reports to help assist with a good launching area for a kayak. Bring your gear, a bag of shrimp, some food, a camera, and don’t forget the FAMILY! The tail end of winter, and the top of spring offers excellent fishing opportunities for family fun and bonding.

By: Robert R-Dub Winans

On The Hook with Marshall Mamac Jr.

How does it feel to be champion?

by Chris Castro

Fishing is already a successful sport, and when something is improved above success we call that taking it to the next level. Add fishing to the end of it, and you get the sport of kayak fishing. Our motto on the water is to always have fun but fish fierce. This term falls nothing short when we think of Marshall Mamac, or better known as the Cobia Junkie.  This week we put him On The Hook and figure out how the man is wired.


NLF-TV: First and foremost Marshall, what does it feel like to be the 2017 BWKC Champion?

Marshall: You know the hyped high feeling of winning a tournament all happened during those few moments Richard announced me winner. Had most of my closest fishing buddies there and sharing the moments with them made it a awesome experience. Now it’s just a memory I can look back and smile at. Staying humble for my win is what it’s about right now and just super excited for next year’s tournament. 


NLF-TV: Take us back to the pre-champion version of Marshall. How important do you think your time and preparation played into winning?

Marshall: A lot of hours were put on the water and after a while you get into a routine. You start getting use to your regular tackle that you can count on, and setups that you know work to your own style of fishing. Everyone has their own little signatures and tweaks that are one of a kind.  Then there’s the bad habits that are kinda ritual like the last minute late night rig up, two or three hours of sleep, then of course forgetting something and it’s too late to turn around after launching.  For me I’m always forgetting my fish sleeper.  But basically it’s just another day of fishing, and after a while you know how to adapt to the conditions.


NLF-TV: Is there a deep down competitor that resides inside, or is it more about fun?

Marshall: Nah no ways. I learned my lesson from my first BWKC because naturally being a BTB tournament you wanna be competitive and spank everyone else.  Probably didn’t help either that I was such a BTB fledgling either, but the competitiveness brought the jitters and I was second guessing way to much.  I still had a good time of course but it could have been better.  So with four BWKC’s under my belt I’ve learned to just relax and fish it like any other day.  The buddies I was with that day all helped each other out in one way or another.  Hardly no competitiveness because we all want to see each other catch fish which was awesome.  Just wanted to have fun and that day was probably the best offshore conditions I’ve ever been in I think.  So yea to sum it up, no I’m not a deep down competitor cause win or lose I’ll still be able to sleep at night.  Like I’ve said quite a few times is that it’s all about having fun for me.


NLF-TV: It was definitely an amazing day both below and above the waterline.  You hauled 71.70 pounds of fish! How many species did you encounter, and how rapidly where you flinging fish that day?

Marshall: It was one of those days luck got involved with some minor tweaks to help catch the big ones.  Since it was a tournament I was looking for the best five fish combo.  Caught my kings first and they were good tournament size. I believe they were 47″ and 48″ so after that I switched to targeting cobia.  At our first spot I was eyeing another area that no one was touching.  Moved there and started working that spot.  Within three drops I pulled in two cobia which was probably the best cobia run I’ve ever had.  Barley legals, but hey I’m four outta five by then, and its only 11am!  Within all this cobia fun, I had a buddy land a nice one in the mid forties.  Our action got noticed and in minutes three boats started pot licking.  Literally came within feet of us, and we just took off.  I started throwing spoons at boils and blow ups here and there close to the rigs.  Got a bite and had a nice smack on the spoon, crazy enough there was a nice cobia right behind which was pretty cool to see.  To my surprise my smack was 27″.  I knew I was in the money but with all the action that day I was sure someone got a limit of bigger cobia.  Still though, I was happy with nice fish in the bag.  Within the mix I caught a nice snapper and a little jack for the trashcan slam.  Probably on of my best days out there and lucky enough it was on tournament day.


NLF-TV: Madness! So tell me about the drive toward the weigh in. Are you making calls to investigate other fish being turned in?

Marshall: Once we beached with time to spare we kinda relaxed, and celebrated with a cold one for an action packed day.  Had a few laughs, talked about our day and took pictures.  By the time we were all packed up and ready to go we only had thirty minutes so we all kinda rushed to weigh in.  I made it in by fifteen minutes and got lucky with parking right in the front. The only phone call I made was to see if there was parking and if I could drop off my fishing in the front.  But there was no need to investigate or anything.  My conclusion even before we beached was that there was some good fish caught and I was right.  A lot of fish was caught that day and good fish at that.


NLF-TV: Any advice to new guys walking into the sport?

Marshall: First and foremost safety safety safety. ALWAYS wear your PFD and always have a backup plan.  Backup plans like what to do if you flip, or what to do if you get lost in the fog (yes there are days with pockets of fog) or what to do if your buddy has signs of heat illness.  Put yourself in every bad scenario and learn how to get you or your buddy back into safety or back to good health.  Know your limits and know your equipment especially your kayak.  Safety equipment is a must as well like the correct PFD, radio, whistles, etc.  My main thing is respect the ocean and be humble to it. Respect other fisherman along with others of Gods creations.  Kayak fishing is worldwide and different parts of the world have it’s own kayak culture I should say, so don’t mind how others do it but learn how it’s done in the gulf cause it works, and it bring you back home to your families. 

As for the fishing part, its definitely a learning curve.  There’s days you can be a newbie and catch kings all day on glassy beautiful conditions.  Then there’s days where the fishing is tough and that’s where your level of knowledge kicks in to find the fish, or if you wanna target a certain species.  All that will come in time, so take in any advice anybody is willing to give you.  You will find there’s a lot of the old salts and vets out there that are willing to guide you in the right direction, and get you where you want be as a offshore fisherman.  Just depends on your drive and your attitude. 


NLF-TV: Always great talking to you Marshall, congratulations on your win. Could not have happened to a more deserving person this year. See you on the water.

On the Hook with – Mario Perez

Here at NLF-TV we are always trying to keep ideas fresh to involved the kayak angler. For the next twelve months we will cycle our headline banner to announce a monthly angler. We are looking for gnarly 300 dpi quality photos (Preferably) to be hand picked by our staff and featured.  On a later date (TBA) these pictures will be put up for vote as a ‘peoples choice award’ ( via social media ) with fantastic prizes to the winners.  More information will be available VERY SOON! Email us at nextlevelfishingtv@gmail.com for more information.

This week the website has been viewed well over a thousand times, so you may have already noticed our featured August angler, Mario Perez.  It’s always great meeting people while fishing, but what about outside the water? This month Mario Perez is ‘On the Hook’ with a little Q&A.

Mario Perez – August Featured Angler – Corpus Christi, Texas

NLF-TV: Why do you choose kayak fishing?

Mario: The ease of being able to launch from just about anywhere. The versatility of fishing in inches of water or being offshore in 60′, and the rush of a sleigh ride.


NLF-TV: What is the best day of fishing you have ever had?

Mario: Maaaaan that’s a tough one. I’ll go with our first time finally hooking up to a king!  Hearing the drag scream, having multiple runs; just action you don’t find in the bay.


NLF-TV: If you could only take one thing in your tackle box, what would it be?

Mario: A pack of pre rigged down south lures lol.  I’ll eat forever! http://www.downsouthlures.com/


NLF-TV: HA! Alright time for a hard question, Sashimi or Sushi?

Mario: lmao sushi


NLF-TV: If tomorrow you hang up the yak and retire, what fish are you landing today?

Mario: I’d be on the hunt for the good ole’ Texas redfish.

NLF-TV: You da man Mario, keep up the great work and good luck winning our peoples choice Photo Of The Year Award.






We have named his photo ‘Thrashing and Bashing’, and it’s a fantastic moment in time that remind us of another rush; close combat fishing.  We have also featured this photo on our latest offshore episode where you can actually see this fish toward the end of the video.


Would you like an opportunity to win photo of the year? Send us your photo (preferably high quality; 300dpi) to nextlevelfishingtv@gmail.com for an opportunity to win some amazing prizes. September angler will be announced in just a couple of weeks. Remember these photos must be kayak fishing ONLY!




Offshore Kayak Fishing | King Mackerel PART 1 – Corpus Christi, Texas

South Texas is heating up and so are the King Mackerel. Chris Castro and Reuben Pena take us to Corpus Christi, TX where offshore kayak fishing is emerging more then ever.

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Marshall Mamac Jr. takes 1st place in the 2017 Texas Bluewater Kayak Classic PART 1

Marshall Mamac Jr. takes 1st place in this two part series. Here’s what he had to say shortly after his victory.

“Still hasnt hit me of what happened yesterday. Just happy to fish with good friends and sharing the experience with them especially during the ceremony. Seeing buddies supporting me and was all smiles when I was anounced winner mahalo so much and man feeling the love was amazing. Wanna keep this short and sweet but you know who you are and you know what you did and I appreciate everything and wanna say thank you so much. Shout out to Barrett for introducing me to gulf offshore fishing. We came along way since then. Duy Linh Eric Richard Tod Laura Mike Sandra J Frederic Linda Chris Ahn Jonathan Tino Alex Mike always a blast to fish with you guys. Aunty Kathy and Uncle Lenny im lucky to have fishing in my blood. Until next time”


Part 2 of this offshore series starts August 26th 2017

For more information visit: https://www.texas-bwkc.com/

Email: texasbwkc@gmail.com



Here are the current standings courtesy of https://www.texas-bwkc.com/results-standings

How it all went down for Erik D’Aloise

1st Annual Fin Factory Kayak & Tackle Co. Hobie Owner’s Tournament

This past weekend Fin Factory Kayak & Tackle Co. had it’s first annual Hobie Owner’s Tournament with an impressive turn out. A good friend of ours Erik D’Aloise takes the win and this is how it all went down!

“Saturdays Fin Factory Kayak & Tackle Co. Hobie Owner’s Tournament was a blast! Going up against 57 other Hobie owners I didn’t think I stood a chance. Coming from San Antonio and never fishing that part of the bay, I knew I was at a disadvantage. I figured my best bet was to put in some miles and get away from the crowd. I partnered up with Ram and we headed to the south side of the JFK causeway. I drifted the flats for hours without getting a single bump. At this point, I was getting worn out. I started second guessing my decision to hit this side of the causeway, not even seeing a fish let alone getting a hit. Finally, after over 5 miles of kicking and cursing at that mirage drive, I came across a huge school of reds piled up against a spoil. As soon as my bait hit the water I was hooked up with a 26” fatty. I got on the walkie and called Ram over as quickly as possible. The school stayed put and I was able to hook up again with a 30” red. Since the tournament rules were only allowing slot reds I released him and went back to look for the school but they had vanished. We paddled around for another couple of hours trying to find them again with no luck. At 2 pm we headed in to weigh our fish. I didn’t think a single fish would even be a contender with as many competitors as there were. At the weigh-in, my fish survived the long paddle home and I debated if it was worth keeping for dinner or taking the extra ¼ lb bonus. Thankfully the weigh-in crew convinced me to release the fish. With my bonus, the fish weighed out at 6.95lbs. Shortly after I weighed in another angler brought in two reds and I thought for sure that would have bumped me out of placing. When the winners were announced and I heard 3rd place was 6.21lbs. I was ecstatic, knowing I had at least taken 2nd place. I was blown away when they announced I had taken first place weighing only one fish. I was so thankful I released that fish! I took home a brand new 2017 Hobie Outback and $500 along with some unforgettable memories.

Huge Shout out to Mike Morales and The Fin Factory Kayak & Tackle Co. for hosting this tournament. It went smoothly and the prizes were top notch! The free beer and pizza were a huge plus. Thank you to Bluff Bay Marina for allowing us to use your venue. Thank you to all the sponsors that helped make this event possible.”

For more information visit: https://www.finfactorycharters.com/

Kayak Bass Fishing in Cartel Land?

I’ve never been a roller coaster enthusiast, but as a kayak angler I do like to live on the wild side.  Corpus Christi conditions push me toward the Texas-Mexican border to a hidden area I now refer to as JurBassic Park. A place that is more known to feel like self defense fishing. A place where no kayak angler has boldly gone before.  A place where a modern day Castro possibly meets Hitler’s past time. I decide to pack my bags and paddle an area where apparently German engineers worked directly under Adolf Hitler in the early 1940’s to build this reservoir. This was of course in the midst of a neutral Mexican government, until Potero de Llano declared war with the Axis in June of 1942.  I hope you enjoy this week’s unorthodox report.


Remember how good fishing use to be in Mexico?  In 2010 the drug war begins between the Mexican government and various drug trafficking groups. Seven years later I get a call from Russ Whitesides, (Owner of Cowtown Kayaks) who enlightens me about a potential trip south of the border.  We are eventually connected with John Adami of Broken Braid Guiding Service, who educates us on where the older guides go when they feel like living on the wild side.



Rumor has it that when you fight a 4 pounder in this area, you’ll swear it’s a 10. Hook a 13 pounder and you’ll feel it will never end.  These Mexican bass are like none other with reports of bass boat sleigh rides on a regular. Located twenty minutes south after crossing from Zapata, this hidden treasure is located in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The natives call it Presa el Azucar, and has escaped the spotlight even before the drug war began.  According to guide John Adami, this is the lake of choice where every cast has the potential to hold a monster.  Part of the reason I believe it’s never received large amounts of pressure is due to its location.  This isn’t a place you come to mess around, when you come to Sugar Lake, you make sure to bring your a-game and fish like it’s your last.  The territory is under control by one of Mexico’s older cartels, (Gulf Cartel) so it isn’t hard to find trouble if you’re asking for it.  My advice to anyone making this trip is to connect with a guide because local knowledge is imperative and this Lake has no mapping.  It’s been fished the old fashion way and has sunk first time boaters who dare sprint without knowledge of the lake.



When we think back to German allies, we don’t think of Mexico, but that doesn’t mean they were not working with each other.  Mexico’s rich oil, and positioning made it a neutral country in the 1930’s to early 40’s.  Tons of German influences throughout the Mexican culture can still be found today.  One you may find shocking is of course Mariachi music.  A twisted version of German polka now imbedded deeply in the Mexican music culture.  While digging deep into Sugar Lake history, we find that apparently German engineers were instructed to begin construction on this reservoir in the event that Mexico had decided to join the Axis.  The reports would make sense as a key component to any invasion would be a healthy water supply. If these events stand true, boy where we glad Mexico was on our side!


Little did we know that we would become the first kayak anglers to fish the area according to locals.  We were targeting these bass by flipping trees with lizards, and grand total of 78 bass landed on our first day.  By the end of the day I felt like I’d been arm wrestling a freight train! 7-8 pound bass where in that mix with 4-5 pounds being the average.  This trip quickly turned into a humbling experience and one that I will never forget. It won’t be the last time to visit, as I am still hunting for that once in a lifetime bass.  It’s rich and dark history make it one of the most historic paddles I’ve completed.  Now that I’m back in Corpus Christi, I will remain inshore as we keep a close eye for the next offshore opening.



Shark Week

The NLF-TV team will begin 2017 with a heavy weight contender. Ram Garcia and Chris Castro head offshore for a final round of kings, and then a battle started. What started out as a slow day on the water,  ends in a two hour grueling battle with a large Spinner Shark.


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