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.

YOUTUBE

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.

VIBE KAYAK & NEXT LEVEL FISHING TV

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.

PRE-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.  

 

TEXAS WINTER COAST

WHEN TEXAS WINTER HATCHES SPRING: FROM THE EYES OF ROBERT WINANS

“Kaaaaa-Zzzzzziiiing!”

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.