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.