I have a wonderfully diverse lifestyle of which can basically be described as a life based on family, whitewater kayaking, and fishing. From these activities sprout my business life; in fact, without these activities, there would not be a Jackson Kayak or Orion Coolers today. Fishing has always been a passion for me, springing from my fishing career genesis at age 10 in Lakeland, Florida. It took a side seat to my whitewater kayaking for most of my adult life, but recently I have caught the incurable desire to fish.
This year’s fishing has been amazing. I have fished with some of the world’s best FLW Pro Bass Fishermen, who have turned their attention to include kayak fishing. Scott Canterbury, Wesley Strader, McCoy Borja, Brad Knight have all fished with me near my home of Rock Island, TN. Each has their own Orion Cooler. Most have the Orion 45. Jimmy Houston, Charlie Ingram, Ray Brazier (BASS Elite Angler), Shad Schenk are also Orion Cooler owners, but I digress…
My fishing started in Tennessee, spending time on the Caney Fork and its tributaries, as well as at Long Branch Lakes which is a private bass mecca on top of the Cumberland Plateau. Big Spotted Bass (Kentucky Bass), smallmouth, muskie, and, at Long Branch, largemouth bass were were out in good form. My catches included multiple 10+ pound largemouth and 5+ pound spotted bass and smallmouth. It was a great TN season for me.
I also spent a good amount of time fishing on the Ottawa River in Canada, often in the oxbows and side channels that have shallow bays and big bass and pike. The smallmouth bass fishing is world-class up there and this year was a big year for big bass. The other attraction to the Ottawa is the multi-day trip possibilities with so many channels, beaches, and tributaries that you can hit and never see another person. My entire family joined me for a camping trip, breaking up the hustle and bustle of the World Kayak Championships that were going on that river at the same time (that my two older kids won in the mens and womens classes). We packed two Orion 25s onto the back of our boats which carried enough food for a family of seven to eat well for two days. Cold drinks, bacon, milk, cheese, chicken salad, etc.. awesome! Being able to strap the cooler down on the boat is very helpful when you are portaging, or pulling over logs, rocks or beaver dams to get to where you want to go.
I also had a great trip to the Bayou in Louisiana for the World Adventure Kayak Fishing Champioships where my Orion Cooler saved the day. My RV refrigerator broke the day before the trip where four of us were counting on it for our food for four days. We packed two Orion 65s into the RV, bought some ice, food, and off we went! Steve Fisher and I were a team and placed 9th overall – a good finish we felt given that is was both our first tournaments for redfish (recap *here*: http://bit.ly/1O7HfXa). We never ran out of cold beer or food… which was a priority for everyone on the trip!
I am looking forward to my upcoming season where my fishing will include my debut as a rookie on the FLW Walmart Tour in my new Ranger Bass Boat! My Orion 25 cooler will come with me to keep ice for the tournament as well as drinks and food for myself and co-angler or marshal.
Where will you take your Orion?