ProStaffer of the Month: Roberto Briones
Meet Roberto Briones, Bending Branches ProStaffer of the Month for February 2018…
BB: How did you get started in kayak fishing and what do you love about it?
ROBERTO: Six years ago I made the decision to sell my bass boat, but I was adamant about NOT going back to fishing from the banks. I talked to a few friends and kayak fishing was the option I found most feasible for the type of fishing I was practicing at the time.
BB: How do you like to give back to the fishing community?
ROBERTO: I give back to the community by:
- Teaching and practicing catch-and-release
- Teaching and practicing safe boating,
- Always leaving the water cleaner than I found it (picking up other people’s garbage).
We’re involved with charity organizations like Soldier On that take military veterans on the water for a day of fishing.
BB: How are you involved in your local fishing scene?
ROBERTO: I founded a club called KAAO (Kayak Anglers Association of the Outaouais) that currently has 370 members. We organize local fishing tournaments and social outings for guys to meet other anglers, exchange techniques and have fun on the water.
Kayak fishing unites people from different backgrounds and social statuses. It is amazing!
From the KAAO site:
"Canada is still in the early stages of kayak fishing and our group has seen this as an opportunity to spread the love for a different, eco-friendly and more active way of fishing that allows you to connect with nature and access more remote and shallow areas with minimum effort. At the same time, our social outings and events will raise funds for local charities"
BB: How do you introduce new anglers to kayak fishing?
ROBERTO: I introduce new anglers very easily! I let them use one of my kayaks, hand them a PFD (very important) and a Bending Branches paddle. They only bring a rod and their fishing license. The rest comes naturally!
BB: Are there any conservation or environmental efforts you’re involved in?
ROBERTO: Every year KAAO hosts a River Cleanup: we do a fun fishing outing and whoever brings the most garbage back wins a loot bag! We always respect local conservation rules, implement them and educate members of the community to follow them. We also encourage members and non-members to study conservation rules for specific fishing zones.
BB: What thoughts would you like to leave us with?
ROBERTO: If I can fish, anyone else can! I've put a lot of time into studying fish and their behavior. As long as anyone has the passion for it, it doesn't matter the color of their skin, they will be successful at it.
One thing is very true: surround yourself with people that share the same passion, and I'm sure the path will be a lot easier than if you do it by yourself. Join local groups, discussion boards, Facebook pages...there's always very useful information that will help you become a better angler!
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