Each year many of us come up with new year’s resolutions for the upcoming year. Forgive us, but it’s simply a way to try to better ourselves collectively and individually. We’re no different than you guys, except our staff resolutions focus on growing as writers and anglers. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to drop a couple of pounds personally. We hope you enjoy our staff resolutions, and look forward to hearing what you’re trying to work on this year.
Our staff is quite a diverse group of kayak anglers with varying styles and abilities. We’ve got pro staffers, a lady angler, freshwater anglers, saltwater anglers, tournament anglers, and even fly anglers. Personally I love the diversity, but we should always strive to get better everyday. While these staff resolutions are simply some things that we wish to grow on, I highly recommend everyone set forth goals for themselves. These are our staff resolutions for 2017, and we’ll touch back on them towards the end of the year to see how many goals were actually achieved. Take a moment and make a list of goals you’d like to achieve this year. Then circle back to see what you accomplished. It’s a great tool to grow your skills as a kayak angler.
Kaycee Hart – Owner
While it’s definitely cliché to say this, I want to spend more time on the water for 2017. Life sometimes gets in the way and we have to choose this over that, but my #1 goal is to spend more time on the water. I’d also like to spend more time promoting lady anglers, not just in gear and products, but also seeing more lady anglers on the water. I think it’s imperative that we promote lady anglers in this wonderful sport, because well, girls like to fish too! I’d also like to travel a little more. I hit a milestone by catching my first over 30″ specked trout (gator trout) over the summer, and it was such an exhilarating feeling. I’d like to enjoy that feeling again with other species of fish. I’d also like to travel more with Tony, enjoying the time together and sharing in the passion that is spending time on the water in our kayaks.
Tony Hart – Editor In Chief
One of my top goals is to continue to build upon the foundation and grow the brand of Yak Outlaws. We’re constantly thinking of ideas to bring great new content that kayak anglers can use and want to read about. Personally, I have a ton of goals as a kayak angler. I’ve always been enamored with the aspect of fly fishing. To me fly fishing is an art form, and I want to completely immerse myself into this culture. From tying my own flies to using those flies to target and catch fish. There are also several species on my bucket list that I’d love to knock off this year. Peacock Bass is on the top of that list, as I feel it is an absolutely gorgeous fish. I’d also like to catch a true bull red, this is a redfish over 40″ in length. While I’ve come close on a few occasions, I’ve never accomplished this goal. Of course, I could add such incredible species as Dorado and Sailfish to my list, those are the ultimate in bucket list type fish. I’d also truly enjoy more traveling this year, fishing with anglers and trying out new areas to fish across the country. Lastly, I’d like to complete my quest of the “Red States”. This is catching a redfish in the 9 states of the South: FL, GA, SC, NC, VA, AL, MISS, LA, & TX. I’ve caught redfish in some, but I’d love to accomplish this feat for 2017.
JD Desrosiers – Contributing Writer
Every year I try to expand on my paddling, fishing, and conservation abilities, and this year will not be any different. I look forward to growing as I meet new people across the southeast of the United States. I have been trying for several years to become a SCDNR Certified Fishing Instructor, and this year it is going to finally happen. By spring I will have this incredible accomplishment under my belt, and I look forward to working with SCDNR and our local communities. One of the best parts about this goal is that I will be teaching youths of all ages about fishing techniques, paddling, and conservation of our lands. My next goal to help push me to another level this year is I will be hosting a three day Kayak Fishing Clinic for Wilderness Systems and Adventure Technology at Tuck Fest in April at the US National Whitewater Center just outside of Charlotte, NC. I cannot begin to explain how excited and amped I am about this chance to help enlighten people to our wonderful sport and community. Up next for me in 2017 are my fishing goals, I would like to land a Large Mouth Bass over 8lbs, several Smallies over 3lbs, land a Bluegill over 2.5lbs, and the last one I have been casing for over 4yrs, the Inshore Slam! I will have to elevate my game but I have always liked a challenge, so let’s get after it. Lastly, I plan on traveling around to fish different areas of the Southeast, but I have to get to Jacksonville soon, and chase down some nice reds and trout with my man Tony Hart. I will be spending more time this year focusing on river fishing and chasing down my goals that I mentioned above. I hope to see you all out on the water, and be sure to come over and let’s chat-it-up about paddling and fishing. Until then stay safe on the water, and I wish you all tight lines and screaming drags in 2017.
Dustin Schouest- Contributing Writer
2015 and 2016 were big years for me. In the former, I caught my first yellowfin tuna, bought and used a SUP (stand up paddleboard), and shot my first gadwalls. And in the later I caught my first sheepshead on fly, learned how to bass fish, and made my best fly fishing video yet. This coming year, I have a few resolutions. First off, I want to work on my on-the-water photography and video work. I have been doing too many hero shots, static camera angles, and using my GoPro instead of a real camera. In 2017, I’m going to invest in a good DSLR, a waterproof case for it, and work on getting more and better shots. Perhaps Ill even have a shot in The Drake magazine? My second resolution is to tie at least four new fly patterns this year, either four I find online or four that my sick and twisted mind come up with. And lastly, as a personal resolution, I want to push myself to get in better shape. I used to have great stamina and strong legs. But in the last few years, I stopped being as active. I for one blame an unhealthy addiction to Dark Souls and vanilla cake. So, I am going to start doing yoga, playing the intense workout/dance game Dance Revolution, and start watching my sugar intake so that I do not get the dreaded “Diabeetus” as Wilford Brimley would say. Yup, I reckon 2017 is gonna be a great year!
Darin O’Brien – Contributing Writer
Ok I have never been much of a resolution kind of person but more of goal thing. I know they mean basically the same thing but goals leave more room for making adjustments (in my head it sounds better ;-)). So goals for 2017, I want to do more photography directed at kayak fishing. Photography is my second greatest passion. Part of that process is upgrading equipment. This will allow for video content and higher quality pictures as well. Combine that with some of the newer software I use and the sky is the limit here. My fishing will be very focused on the gulf coast waters between Homosassa and Yankee Town. I will fish freshwater (mostly rivers) when time or weather doesn’t allow me to get on the salt flats. I really want to be effective on these super productive waters. This includes getting my wife her first snook landed. (Long story to be told later). Next I want to nail a tarpon from the yak preferably 100+ pounds. I would love to pull this off in Tortuga this year, but anywhere will work. I have caught smaller tarpon up to 30-40lbs all out of boats. So the big gal out of a yak will be a major feather in the cap or cowboy hat now that I am an Outlaw. I will also switch over from the ATAK 140 to a Tarpon 160. I love the ATAK and it is an extremely capable boat. By far the most stable platform I have kayak fished out of. My primary reason for getting the ATAK was to stand and fish. Medical issues causing vertigo prevent me from doing that. So I want to be able to cover a lot of water on the flats and nothing better at that than the 160 hotrod. I will also video the rigging process in detail for Yak Outlaws. I also want to go fish the Destin/Navarre area for the opening of red snapper season if it doesn’t cross over my Tortuga trip. I have never fished this area and haven’t caught a red snapper since my childhood. I would really love to bust a monster on the kayak. Lastly, I hope to watch the Cowboys win the super bowl with Dak at the helm HEHEHEHE. Although this is not fishing related it certainly has a chance to be the first on my list to accomplish.