Student Profile: Tony Heredia

Nice Citation smallmouth bass caught during last years Kayak Fishing Boot Camp. One of numerous fish kayak anglers caught during the camp.
Nice Citation smallmouth bass caught during one of my Kayak Fishing Boot Camps.

Tony Heredia
NewCumberland, PA (Banks of the Suquehanna River)

Tony took part in one of my Kayak Fishing Boot Camps. It was great spending time with him on the water and he soaked up information like a sponge. I’ve followed Tony’s progress now for a couple years and he has really built upon the concepts of the class and pushed his river kayak fishing to the next level. I was blown away by the interview below. He has truly embraced the concepts that I teach in my kayak fishing classes and enjoyed great results.

Q: What sparked your interest in kayak fishing?

Tony: I have always had a love for fishing since I was a child but what drew me to kayak fishing was the ability to expand the water available to me and the sense of adventure that it gives me, especially in new areas or bodies of water that I have never been to.

Tony caught this 20.25 inch smallmouth during a tournament in Wrightsville, PA on a swimbait fishing a grass bed pattern. It was the lunker of the day.

Q: What do you consider your home river(s)?

Tony: I consider my home river the Susquehanna, particularly in the central branch. I also consider the Conodoguinet and Swatara creeks my home waters because they are pretty close to where I live and I have always dreamed of fishing their entire length from a kayak.

Q: Generally what was your approach to kayak fishing before the class and your level of success? Where there things that you struggled with specifically?

Tony: Before the class I fished from a kayak much like I fished from the bank, with the exception that I was moving generally downstream. It was a matter of covering more water to present my bait or lure to whatever fish may be in my float path. This obviously made my success very limited although it was still better than just fishing from the bank or boats. After your class, I really started to catch more fish because I learned how to go out with a plan of attack, so to speak. You helped me understand the need to try to establish a pattern and how to make minor adjustments to fine tune patterns. I learned that my frustration with not being able to catch fish in the same way or at the same locations where I had done so previously, was because I had failed to recognize or understand how bass will change in terms of what type of prey they are keying in on. I also struggled with confidence in kayak control. This was greatly improved by your class and has helped me stay safe on the water.

Q: What were your expectations going into the class?

Tony: Going in to the class, I expected to catch some fish and maybe do a little camping and that was fine because I like those things but I was blown away by how much more I got out of it especially with the way you taught us how to, in essence, hunt the fish, break down the water column, how size, shape and color are so important.

This ain't a smallmouth! Tony caught this beast on a 2.5" soft plastic craw while casing smallies!
This isn’t a smallmouth! Tony caught this beast on a 2.5″ soft plastic craw while chasing smallies!

Q: What were the two most important skills/concepts that you learned during class and how do they relate to your kayak fishing now?

Tony: Since taking your class my success has improved tremendously. I have been fortunate in that I have caught many more fish than in all the years I have fished prior to taking your class. Presently I am at 750 Smallmouth bass for the 2016 season. Over 20 Largemouth bass and 7 Musky. All as a result of employing the skills you imparted. I have also managed to catch many smallmouth over the 20 inch mark to include a 22 inch that I caught last year on the Susquehanna using a soft plastic crawfish imitation behind a beaver dam after my fishing buddy had covered the area for 20 minutes with a crank bait. I got some mean looks that day.

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