Kayak Fishing Ultimate Resource

Saturday, 15 September 2018 05:03

Interview with Josh Duke

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We chat with Josh Duke from Lakeland, Florida, who was recently named Fishing Team Manager for Bending Branches. 

Josh is also the founder of Florida Kayak Anglers and has a consulting business (Digital Rover). In this interview, we talk about kayak fishing, the community, how the sport can be used as a tool for poverty alleviation and much more.

What got you into Kayak Fishing?

I had always loved fishing and at the time was fishing bass tournaments as a co-angler but was looking for an affordable way to get on the water and explore new spots in remote areas. I won $500 one weekend during a bass boat tournament and took my winnings and put them towards my first fishing kayak.

Why do you prefer kayak fishing over more traditional means of fishing?

I enjoy the lifestyle of kayak fishing more than anything. The simplistic and primitive nature of it resonates with how I try to live my life. I prefer fishing in remote spots, off the beaten path.

You started Florida Kayak Anglers a couple of years ago - please tell us more about it.

I started Florida Kayak Anglers originally as a kayak bass fishing trail as a way for me and my friends to get together for tournaments and take each other’s money lol. Then it started to grow as people started using the hashtag #floridakayakanglers and it turned into a large community of fishermen. The brand has organically grown to where it is today, with some cool things coming in the future.

Why do you find it important to connect with other kayak anglers?

As with any community, what brings people together is the activity itself. The more specific the activity, the more important it is to connect with that community. I am a people person, so getting to know other people who have the same interest as me is genuinely enjoyable for me. We share stories, tips, and the friendly competition is always fun.

You strive to use fishing as a tool for poverty alleviation - how?

This idea came after multiple trips to Guatemala where I interacted with many people living in trash dump communities who are unaware of the natural resource of the lakes and fish right beside their communities. Fishing is a way to provide them with meals as well as profit by taking them to the local markets. By introducing quality fishing gear and techniques, there could be a positive impact on these communities. My wife and I will be furthering our efforts in this capacity in the near future through our nonprofit work. 

What, would you say, is the most important thing to remember when you go Kayak Fishing?

Well I would probably get in trouble if I didn’t first say, your PFD. But this is truly the most important thing to remember. Secondly, on a personal level, is the ability to adapt. You just never know what will happen on the water, from a fishing and safety perspective, so you just have to be ready for anything.

What was your most memorable catch so far?

I've caught 4 bass over 10 pounds from a kayak, and each of those was truly memorable, but my PB bass of 11.2 pounds stands out the most.

In which way do you involve your family in your hobby?

My family is involved with everything I do. Our whole family loves being on the water together. We like using kayak fishing, and any outdoor activity, as a way to pass on important principles and information to our kids and to unify our family. The kids love being out there with Mom and Dad, and both of them have their own fishing poles too!

What is your favorite fishing spot?

You already know I can’t disclose this information. But I will say this: if there is grass, there are big bass.

Apart from your involvement in Florida Kayak Anglers, NuCanoe and Bending Branches, you also own a successful consulting business, Digital Rover. How do you make time for kayak fishing?

As with anything that is important to me, if I love it, I make time for it. We all have the same amount of time in the day, it just depends on how we want to spend it. I’ve also been strategic in making sure a large percentage of my Digital Rover clients are outdoor companies, so it is a great balance of work and play.

What are your long-term career goals?

I think the loftiest dreams we can have are often the ones that seem the most unattainable and impossible. I want to build a business that allows me to tell stories creatively, hire all my friends, make an impact in our community, and do stuff we love. 

What drew you to Bending Branches as a brand?

They simply make the best paddles. Before I was ever on a pro staff or a fishing team, I bought the entry level Bending Branches Whisper paddle. Since then I have upgraded and paddled my way through their entire lineup. As a company, they are innovative, forward thinking, and take pride in their work, and that’s the kind of company I always will support and represent. 

What is your favorite Bending Branches Paddle, and why?

My favorite paddle is the Angler Pro because it is lightweight, durable, and the blade shape allows me to efficiently cover a lot of water in a short amount of time. I also really like the colors.

How has this paddle changed your game as an angler? What does it mean to you?

You can only operate at the level which your paddle allows, so having a paddle that is efficient and lightweight helps me not even have to think about it while I’m fishing.

What are your plans or goals for the new fishing season?

I recently relocated to Southern California, and I have one thing on my mind. And that is to break my PB bass as quickly as possible. I am looking forward to fishing new waters and exploring and adapting to a new fishing experience.


Last modified on Saturday, 15 September 2018 05:26
Naomi Bolton

Yakangler's Community Manager and Editor - in charge of sourcing news and articles for the website.  If you have any ideas for new content, please do get in touch with me at: [email protected]

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