I grew up in the Foothills area of South Carolina, and have been an avid outdoorsman my entire life. My earliest memories of fishing were with my grandfather on the Eastatoee River for trout. Many of my life time memories have been made with him. I grew up on Lake Cunningham in Greer, SC which is a small reservoir with an abundance of fish and wildlife. I have also spent a lot of time saltwater fishing in and around the Pawleys Island area of South Carolina.
My fishing style is light tackle, big fish. I really like a good fight no matter what species of fish I am after. As far as fishing the state of South Carolina I can cover about the entire spectrum from river fishing to amazing saltwater action and everything in between.
I have always been big into hiking and exploring new lands. This lead me into snowboarding and downhill mountain biking. My passion for these to sports grew quickly, and that passion actually developed into a life style. I found myself driving several hours to get to the mountains, several times a week to do both.
Every day that I had off from my 9-5 job, I was tuning my skills to a competitive level. The stress level rocketed in the snowboarding arena, and I found the enjoyment, and passion was quickly fading away. One day I made the hard decision to give up snowboarding and stuffed all my boards and gear into a dark closet to forget about them.
It was very easy for me to dedicate my time off from work to downhill mountain biking. I meet a core group of guys that were on top of the scene in the southeastern part of America. My skills rapidly developed and before I knew it I was riding some of the hardest terrain in the region, hucking 30 foot jumps, and ripping through the woods like there was no tomorrow. As my riding progressed, I started competing in downhill races. Traveling from West Virginia to Georgia to race I quickly made a name for myself in the industry. I managed to place well, and helped promote events.
This landed me 14 semi-pro sponsors from the mountain biking community. Trying to uphold terms of sponsorship and stay on top of the downhill racing scene, the pressure built to an all new level. I had to dedicate a ton of time to stay at this level, and this meant time away from my family. With all of this constantly weighing on me I made the decision to sell off all 4 of my bikes, parts, and gear. I was a very tough decision, but once it was all completed it felt like the world had been lifted off of my shoulders.
When I made the choice to start kayak fishing and paddling, I knew right away I loved it., I made a promise to myself that no matter what I would keep paddling enjoyable. Do not get me wrong, I have goals and accomplishments that I would like to try and meet in the kayak fishing industry, but one that I do not want to meet is competing in kayak fishing tournaments.
The amount of time you have to spend pre-fishing each location, the cost to get to each location, the expenses for entering each tournament, and the time away from my family just does not equal out the “pay-out” in my point of view. Add to that the pressure of trying to place well, and land that one magical fish that could make the tournament for you and it’s just not attractive.
I have nothing against tournaments or tournament paddlers; it is just not for me. To me kayak fishing is more about exploring new waters, connecting with fellow anglers, meeting and learning from new people from all over the country, and connecting with nature.
Being that close and low to the water is special. I love the fact that I am almost in the fish’s environment. There is no pressure in my paddling world. If I land fish, great! If not no big deal. It is all about being outside and sharing my journeys with as many people as possible. Along the way I hope that I am fortunate enough to teach other kayak fishermen what I have picked up.
Currently I am on the Pro Staff Team for Wilderness System and Adventure Technology, and use my RIDE 115 and AT paddle to cover a very diverse amount of fisheries in the southeast. Being located in Upstate South Carolina I am surrounded by rivers, ponds, small reservoirs, lakes, and only three hours for the Intercostal Waterway.
I also operate and maintain a blog for a small guide service company in South Carolina called Palmetto Guide