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Posts Tagged ‘pro staff’

Fun, Friends, and Faith in Gear: Austin Collins Smacks the Sailfish Smackdown.

Sailfish Smackdown | Canoe Vibes | Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament

Extreme Kayak Fishing Sailfish Smackdown champ Austin Collins from South Florida Kayak Guides knows how keep his cool, have fun, and laugh at himself while catching big fish and cashing big checks.

Death, taxes, and confidence overloads at the Captain’s Meeting. Chins up, chests out, and game faces on. It’s the text between the lines in the tournament angler’s manifesto.

While Vegas probably would have had him favored if you asked anyone in the South Florida offshore kayak fishing scene, an overload of outward confidence wasn’t the case for twenty-three-year-old Austin Collins heading into the single circle hook, fluorocarbon leader only, Extreme Kayak Fishing Sailfish Smackdown Tournament in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Austin is different; he likes his tournament days full of jokes, his hooks on wire leader, and his stream of pre-tournament whiskey drinks strong and served with a pickle juice chaser.

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Pacific Warriors: What I Expect From Mainstream Growth

Pacific Warriors | Canoe Vibes | Effects on Kayak Fishing Industry

I went to a Saturday night get together with old friends – some of whom I still consider friends, some of whom this event made me remember the reason I don’t consider them friends anymore, and some of whom I still can’t seem to remember sitting next to in Chemistry class almost ten years ago. In a typical high school reunion fashion, I ended up sitting at a table with both familiar and unfamiliar faces. Among the faces at the table were two recognizable and quasi-memorable high school acquaintances, Jack and Jill.

[Enter awkward small talk: uneventful weather, consistently average local sports teams, lingering high school gossip, etc.]

That’s when Jack tossed our painfully dull small-talk-sesh a curveball.

“So, are you going to be on the new Discovery kayak show?” he asked as I looked up from my distant stare at the door and dismissed the “How to Make a Polite Exit 101” lecture forming in my head.

Although I rarely speak about my job, my reputation as the ‘guy doing the kayak thing’ seemed to have leaked (thanks, Facebook and Instagram) even to this seemingly outdated social circle.

Not only did Jack know about the debut of Pacific Warriors – a new island lifestyle reality show heavily featuring offshore kayak fishing – but he also watched it. He watched it earlier in the week, decided to buy a kayak, and was now persuading Jill to start watching while I stared, jaw dropped, with the gears in my head turning – how is this show going to affect our industry?

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Professionalism: The Day I Ruined Paddling

The Day I Ruined Kayak Fishing | Canoe Vibes | Keeping Paddling Fun
Originally written for YakAngling Magazine.

I took on a deadline-based paddlesport promotional writing project once. I celebrated the opportunity like it was a presidential nomination, packed my underprepared gear bags, and headed to the lackadaisically scenic Houston waterway. I didn’t have the typical Pro Staff resume to presuppose that any of my opinions would matter – assuming that these credentials actually exist and aren’t just self-awarded gold stars based on personal relationships or longevity in the infant industry. But I’ll be damned if I was going to paddle back in at dusk without an opinion formed that would give the intellectually-comical push of a Patrick McManus column, the emotional pull of an old Bill Dance rerun, and the subtly placed sales tactics of a well-crafted promotional product listing.

But the paddling was uncomfortable, forced, and left me sitting at home staring at a blank computer screen, well before the sunset I was supposed to meet at the dock even thought about breaching the horizon. I wasn’t paddling for the thrill of it. I wasn’t fishing for the admiration of the chase, and I wasn’t enjoying the adventure; I was getting bullied around the lake by a piece of plastic that kept whispering in my ear “sell me, sell me!”

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Sex, Oodles, & Kayak Fishing: A Pro Staff Manifesto

Kayak Fishing Pro Staff | Canoe Vibes | A ProStaff Manifesto

I hate the P-word. Whenever I hear people attempting to measure their kayak-fishing-industry-based units of success, the highly acclaimed title Pro Staff is mentioned most often. While I might not like it, the concept is here to stay because from the kayak angler’s perspective, the title is a business-based relationship that folks work very hard to perpetuate. Being awarded the title is supposed to turn you into a kayak fishing icon.

There are plenty of denotational and even some more loosely-interpreted connotation-based pieces written on the differences between Promotional Pro Staff and Professional Pro Staff; both are Pro in nature and prefix yet still inherently different in practicality. This is not another piece explaining current takes on the lavish-ish title and the slightly less lavish responsibilities that come with it.

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