(AKA Prof. Salt)
I grew up on the Texas coast and have always loved fishing. I fished offshore from powerboats for 30 years in all capacities before realizing that kayaks could be used to catch all the fish I could want. I have spent the last six years honing my craft and teaching others how to do the same.
As an associate professor of surgical technology, I run the Allied Health department and Surgical Technology program at Del Mar College (hence the “Professor” part of the nickname). It’s a demanding job, but it allows for a relatively flexible schedule. And that means the best fishing days can, at least in theory, be spent on the water. This job flexibility, paired with my constant longing to heed the call of the open water, has meant 250-350 offshore paddling miles each year. Yes, that’s a lot, but I love paddling in the solitude and harshness of a place that most folks never choose to visit. The beauty and clarity of the open water is matched by the big fish and mammals that can be found there. From my kayak I have been lucky enough to encounter manta rays, whale sharks and many of the toothier shark species, along with a variety of game fish. I am constantly on the lookout for new experiences with wildlife that can be encountered offshore.
At one point, some friends and I were comparing fishing reports on the beach. A few of them, jokingly skeptical of my stories, suggested I use a video camera to back my words. I liked that idea. Well, one camera turned into two (and sometimes three) and opened up a new hobby for me. As I learned how to edit video, my audience grew from a few friends to a much larger circle. YouTube has been a great launch point for my videos, which have helped me reach out to more people than I dreamed possible.
Until 2016, there were no electronics on my kayak. I relied on what I knew about the fish to locate and catch them, and there was rarely a shortage of fish coming aboard the yak. Then I began using a fish-finder/GPS unit. The added information has helped me target fish much more efficiently and selectively. I always pack a large insulated fish bag in the kayak, and frequently return with heavy loads of fish. After the family freezer was full, I started sharing my catches with needy folks. That has proven to be a truly rewarding experience. Next time you catch a bunch, give this a shot. You’ll not only earn some great “feel-good” points, but you’ll help out folks who could really use the assistance.
One day I got a phone call from a well-known friend in the kayak community who asked if I would be interested in working with YakGear. I was happy to accept. I knew the company made quality products, many of which I was already using on my kayak. They employ local workers and listen to feedback from the folks who use their products on the water. YakGear truly is a family of kayak enthusiasts, and I am proud to be counted as a member of that family.