A.J. says, “I have been fishing all my life, taught by my father who was a OMC outboard master tech. We were always on the water. I love fishing for large channel and flathead catfish on the banks of the Salt River in Arizona as well as fishing for the tricky trout from Northern Arizona's smaller lakes and streams like the “Little Colorado”.
I found my blood pumped furiously for the thrill of a bass and crappie bite! I can remember as a child working to figure out how to get an indecisive follower bass to strike my spinner bait. It drove me insane but I couldn't stop till he was in the live well. I did not succeed that day but that didn't stop my drive to be a better angler it only made it grow.” His fishing strengths are shallow water, top water, plastics, and jigs. What makes Team Member A.J. unique among anglers? “My personality,” he says. “In pro fishing everyone catches fish. I like to win over the crowd.” AJ competes in bass tournaments in Arizona and occasionally goes out for catfish and trout. He also hunts big game.
Bob is an award-winning novelist and outdoors writer. His articles have appeared in numerous outdoors publications; e.g., Nor’east Saltwater, The Fisherman, On The Water, Big Game Fishing Journal, Hana Hou! The Magazine for Hawaiian Airlines,and New York Game & Fish. Banfelder presently writes a monthly online column forNor’east Saltwater.
Bob brings more than 50 years of freshwater and saltwater experience to Team Eposeidon. He fishes the waters of eastern Long Island from his: boat, kayak, canoe, and inflatable, and also fishes the surf. He fishes freshwater primarily on Long Island and in upstate New York.His fishing book titled, The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook For Salt Water & Fresh Wateris available at http://www.eposeidon.com/the-fishing-smart-anywhere-handbook-for-salt-water-fresh-water-by-bob-banfelder/ Bob is a member of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association, Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network. He lives on Long Island in New York.
Captain Tom Mikoleski
Team Member Captain Tom Mikoleski is the successful fishing charter captain of the Grand Slam and an outdoor writer who sails out of Montauk, NY for trophy striped bass, doormat fluke, jumbo porgies, humpback sea bass, and monster sharks. “Catch them big,” is his motto.
Captain Tom is a retired New York City Police Officer who held the rank of sergeant. He has fished on New York waters for over 35-years. Captain Tom received his USCG captain's license in 1993.
In 2006 he personally oversaw the construction of his present vessel, the Grand Slam, a 35' T-Jason custom Downeaster’ that was built to specifically target striped bass. This vessel is now a highly regarded charter boat on eastern Long island waters. Captain Tom has been an Outdoor Writer since the 80's, and has had more than one hundred of his articles published in various Outdoor Magazines such as The Fisherman, On The Water, and Sport Fishing Magazines. He is the author of Bass Buff — A Striper Fishing Obsession Guide it is available at http://www.eposeidon.com/bass-buff-a-striper-fishing-obsession-guide-by-capt-tom-mikoleski-15-95
"Winning a tournament is amazing but so is seeing someone get off drugs all because of fishing,” says Team Eposeidon Member Reggie Diaz. “A good friend of mine got clean because of fishing. He fished everyday no matter what. He also died while fishing, so that’s why I want to let everyone know about this sport. You never know what fishing can do for someone.
“When I was four me and my dad and went to the bass fishing expo in Richmond, VA. They had a raffle for a bass boat, which by some miracle, we won. For the next eight years my dad and I took the boat out to Lake Anna every weekend. We sold the boat when I was 12. I still don’t know why, but that ended the fishing trips. Three years ago my step daughter decided she wanted a fishing rod for Christmas, since we have a lake house at Lake Gaston, NC. I called my dad and talked to him about maybe starting to fish again. He said his fishing days are done but gave me all his fishing gear. So, I bought my daughter her first fishing rod and the fishing bug was back. It started out by going to the lake house. Every weekend we would go to the lake house and fish for hours. My neighbor came by on his kayak and had fishing rods on it. I never knew you could fish off a kayak. So I bought kayaks for my daughter and me. Now my love of this sport is bigger than ever.” When he’s not fishing Reggie enjoys spending time with his kids. Reggie says,” Mainly my life is work, school, kids… and fishing.” Reggie mostly fishes fresh water, but takes random trips to the Chesapeake Bay.
“I love bass fishing and I’m in the boat 3 – 4 times per week when the water is open,” say Team Eposeidon member Beckie Joki. She has been tournament bass fishing for several years. She fishes with two separate club as well as assissts in running an Open tournament with one club and is a member in charge of fish care for the Central Wisconsin River Series Tournament Team Trail.
Beckie has been fishing since she was four years-old, but did not get into competitive bass fishing until five years ago. For the last two year she has taken fifth place in Angler of the Year points in her club the Hodag Bassmasters in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Two years ago she also fished with the Shawano Red Nek Bass Busters in Shawano, Wisconsin and took Big Bass of the Year in the first tournament of the year.
Beckie enjoys getting others into the sport of fishing and has an eye on conservation and the future of the sport. She pens a weekly email newsletter dedicated to tournament fishing in the state of Wisconsin and is an outdoor freelance writer. She loves to teach others what she knows and learn from others the things she doesn’t. She says, “While bass fishing can be an expensive sport, it can be done in such a way that everyone can participate.” That is one reason she is so excited to be a member of Team Eposeidon. “Eposeidon has its finger on the pulse of grass roots fishing. The focus here is on making fishing affordable, and that’s the way it should be.“
“Team Eposeidon gives me a platform that allows me to demonstrate to others how to be environmentally conscious and respectful while fishing,” says Team Eposeidon Member Darcy Hill who lives in Charleston, South Carolina. “I bring my passion for fishing, paired with my positive attitude and team spirit, to the game. I want to share my passion for fishing with like-minded individuals. I love to teach others how to reel them in.”
Darcy started fishing with her dad as soon as she could hold a rod. Her love for fishing developed when she was 8-years old and her parents would take her to Bodie Island Lighthouse in the OBX (Outer Banks, North Carolina). “I can remember catching my first black drums one particular day and the pride and excitement that I felt. That feeling has never left, no matter where I have lived. I feel truly blessed to now call Charleston home and be able to spend five or more days a week on the water,” says Darcy. Darcy always practices catch, photograph, and release. She has graced the cover of Fish’n & Hunt’n Guide Magazine and has been featured in Coastal Angler.
Team Member Elias Vaisberg walks the fishing walk. He is highly dedicated to fishing with a main focus on kayak fishing. He has won the Jamaica Bay Kayak Fishing Classic in 2013 and 2014, which usually has are 300 - 400 anglers. He will be competing internationally in the Hobie fishing championship in 2014 in the Netherlands. He also qualified to compete in the Hobie fishing championship in Australia in 2013.
Elias is an ambassador to the sport and voluntarily shares a large amount of fishing information with the kayak club he is a part of and to the general public through other fishing forums. He logs countless hours on the water targeting an array of species throughout Jamaica Bay and the New York Harbor area near his home in Brooklyn, New York. He is in constant search of trophy striped bass, fluke, bluefish, weakfish, sea bass, blackfish and any other species that are accessible by kayak. “My home is on my kayak ultimately. I find it to be the most convenient and accessible way to get me the most out of my fishing time while still working a full time job. I always try to push for a new accomplishment. I have caught a ten pound fluke from it, and now I want to try for an eleven pound one. I have caught a 40 pound striped bass from it, but am in pursuit of a 50. I love fishing, and it is not a fad for me. I see no reason to put down the fishing poles any time soon.” Elias has been interviewed by Field and Stream Magazine and Newsday. He has written numerous fishing articles for The Fisherman, and other outdoor publications. He operates trains for living for the NY Transit Authority.
Team Eposeidon Member Jay Shimburski fishes the salt and fresh water rivers and beaches in the state of South Carolina from aboard his kayak. “I am I on the water every chance I can get I love to take people out and introduce them to the sport of kayak fishing and promoting the sport,” says Jay. “I fish from sunup to sundown and never leave the water.”
“I took a few guys out kayak fishing for the first time. About halfway through the day one of the guys hooked a fish so big that it turned his kayak around and started pulling him up the river. By the time I caught up to him to see what he had , the fish snapped his line. But he was so excited about being pulled around the river he didn’t care that it broke the line. That was probably the most fun day on the river anybody has ever had.”Jay enters several kayak fishing tournaments every season with his club, the Midlands Kayak Fishing Club. He also competitively raced mountain bikes for 10 years.
When asked “Among anglers, what makes you unique?” Team Eposeidon Member Lucas Breakfield says, “The fact that no matter the circumstances, I can and will adapt. I fish very few tournaments but I do enjoy a good competition every now and then.” On the topic of personal best for striped bass to date he says, “My biggest 38 lbs. I want one over 60,” he says. Luke lives in North Carolina where he fishes both salt and fresh water at least twice a week. He often fishes by kayak. “I began fishing when I was two-years old on my dad’s shoulders as we waded through the Snake River. Ever since then I have had a love for fishing like no other. In my youth I began to fish mostly rivers and streams for smallmouth and trout, which has become an obsession. I picked up bass fishing and I have begun to love it as well. Although, my heart is still on the river.” Luke’s favorite three words to talk about fishing? “Just keep casting,” he says.
“I fish both but mainly freshwater. Largemouth bass is where my heart is. Although, I live close to salt water and fish it when I have the chance. I fish with a bass club, Hub City Bass Masters, and participate in events and tournaments,”
says Team Eposeidon Member Matt Rhodes
I have been bass fishing for as long as I can remember. It is something that I just fell in love with when I was young. I hope to get my kids to follow suit one day. “I am on the water almost every weekend 12 months a year. I also fish my local circuit tournament trails. Bass fishing is who I am, everyone that knows me always ask every week what I caught.” Matt lives in the panhandle region of Florida, is married and his wife often fishes with him. He is also is an avid soccer player and works as an IT specialist. “I have a very up-beat personality and make friends very fast. I feel like I know almost everyone in my town, mainly because I get out and fish a lot. And, some friends ask me for a lot of advice on fishing.”
Team Eposeidon Member Mike Buttlar says, "I am all about the industry and love to share my insights with all who are involved. I am about making it better and easier for all. I think if we all work together the sky is the limit.... I am an ordinary guy who does my best all the time.
I fish from shore, walk the banks, and drive from spot to spot and use anything from top water to crank baits, spinner baits, worms, and jigs. I am by no means a professional angler however, I take fishing very seriously." Mike is the father of three active youngsters. “While fishing I get to relax and be at peace for a few while on the water...” he says. Mike fishes the ponds, lakes and streams in his home state of Massachusetts. “I feel there is always room to improve in my angling knowledge. I read and watch anything I can that has to do with fishing...”
“My life is centered around the outdoors,” says Team Eposeidon Member Samantha McKelvey. “I fish from the spring to the fall and hunt from the fall to the spring. There is nothing I love more than getting into a conversation with someone about fishing, other than actually fishing myself. I try to surround myself with people and information that can help me grow as an outdoors person, and in turn, I can generate my own ideas and pass knowledge and hobbies to others. I am all about spreading the word to others to get them involved. There have been so many people that were positive influences on me throughout my fishing endeavors, and now I think I am at the point where I can pay it forward.” About her uniqueness as an angler, Samantha says, “There are women who fish and enjoy doing so, but I still think you would be hard pressed to find many standing on a slippery rock in the pouring rain and freezing cold in the middle of the night at the chance to catch a fish. I also like to learn the biology behind the fish I catch, which I don't think is very common among anglers. I research their migration, spawning, diet, etc. to see where this fish may have been and where is may be going. “Samantha has a degree in Biology from Stonybrook University. She lives on Long Island in New York.
Eposeidon Team Member Shane Coovert says, “I started fishing at a very young age. I was educated by my grandfather. He taught me saltwater basics and we fished the Gulf Coast regularly. As I grew older I fished along every major transition in my life. I have fished the East Coast, Gulf Coast, Sea of Cortez in Baja Mexico, and all the fresh water in between. When I entered the US Navy I got to fish several spots on the East Coast including the Chesapeake Bay and the Outer Banks. “I got into kayak fishing and started small with a $300 kayak. Soon I wanted one with all the bells and whistles. After a couple months, I had my ride. I rigged it out to suit my style and get out on it as often as I can.” Shane live is in the Houston Texas area. He is a married father of two. “For me, kayak fishing is where it’s at. My wife affords me the opportunity to fish whenever I can. She recently encouraged me as I went through 77 straight days of kayak fishing to honor my late grandfather. “I kayak fish both fresh and saltwater and provide my kayak fishing hints and tricks on my YouTube channel. I love being able to help out ‘newbies’ and try to avoid that cult personality of older fisherman who keep all their secret tips to themselves.”
“My first memories of fishing are about catching creek chubs for my grandpa to use as catfish bait on the Missouri river near Nebraska City, NE. From there it eventually grew into a passion for bass fishing. Today it is the rush, thrill, and competition of tournament fishing that fuels my fire,” says Kyle Brewer. Kyle went on to win several American Bass Anglers American Fishing Tour events and divisional two-day championships. He has also fished Bassmaster Weekend Series events. In 2008 he won the Mozingo Fishing Festival Ambush Lures Team Championship while fishing solo after his fishing partner had to cancel. Kyle’s story was covered by Missouri’s Maryville Daily Forum. Kyle, who lives in Nebraska, is married and has two daughters. When asked, “How often do you fish?” he laughs and says, “Not often enough; but fishing is the best therapy ever! Between fishing and my three girls I don’t have much time for anything else! I enjoy spending time tinkering with and organizing my excessive amount of fishing tackle.” Kyle Brewer is a key member of the design team for the KastKing series of Perigee Bass Rods.
“To me there is never a good or bad day of fishing. I enjoy each minute that I'm fishing whether or not I'm catching anything,“ says Team Eposeidon Member Paul Lopes. “I am always willing to learn new things and am never afraid to ask for someone's opinion or help. I also love helping anyone who is just starting.“ When asked what makes him unique, this angler from New England's, New Bedford MA replies, “I don't think there is a specific thing. I just love to fish. It's in my heart and it's in my blood.“ New Bedford has a deep rooted history in the fishing industry. Its nickname is, “The Whaling City.“Lopes tells his story. “I was about 13 years old. My dad and I had gone fishing for scup (progy) and I was using earthworms. Someone had come over and told me that earthworms are for freshwater fish and gave me some sandworms. After I put that sandworm on, I began to catch scup. Since that day, I've been hooked on fishing. I do fish fresh and saltwater. I enjoy striped bass and bluefish for saltwater and largemouth bass for freshwater. I love doing both but my passion is for largemouth. I have taken my love and passion for fishing and introduced fishing to both my daughters at a very early age. I can remember both waking me up early in the morning to go fishing. Today, both in their twenties, they still love fishing. Fishing is my stress reliever. I'm at peace with all the sounds of nature. It's my escape from all the problems that life throws at you.“
“I have been fishing hardcore for several years but have had a line in the water basically my whole life,“ says Team Eposeidon Member Chris Marcelo. “I grew up in South Florida so it does kind of come with the territory. But especially, during the last three years, I have really got into the sport of bass fishing.“
Chris’ angling strengths are expert skills with a baitcasting rod and reel and a willingness to learn. “I am always s furthering my knowledge and sharing those tips and techniques with other anglers. In particular, beginners.“ he says.
What makes Chris unique among anglers? “My outgoing personality. It seems most anglers are closed in about how to fish, etc., like it’s dealing with the FBI when sharing info!“
What Chris likes the most about Eposeidon is the price and quality of the products. “I love the KastKing® Royale baitcasting reel,“ he says. “I had bought another renowned reel for more money and the Royale out fishes it by ten times. Yes, I do love the Royale. I use it all the time and the have caught a ton of peacock bass with it.“ Chris lives in Hialeah, Florida.“
Bernie Hoyt is a licensed and certified NY State professional surfcasting fishing guide with 30 years of experience. Bernie fishes all of the ocean beaches on Long Island, NY and also takes anglers on guided trips to the famed fishing grounds at Cuttyhunk Island and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He targets striped bass, weakfish, bluefish, fluke and other species in the surf.
Bernie says, “I like the fact that Eposeidon is reaching out to all aspects of the sport of fishing. I also believe Eposeidon has an appreciation and respect for the sport of fishing and realizes how important it is to get all generations involved in the sport. I believe what makes me unique is my experience of becoming an angler at such a young age and my ability to get people of all ages excited about the sport of fishing. I feel I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in the sport of surfcasting.““Among my fishing strengths are the flexibility and experience to fish under many different conditions and my willingness to learn and develop new strategies to be more successful.“Bernie regularly lectures to groups about surf fishing. You can learn more about Bernie at his website, www.berniebass.com.
“I fish everything from perch on fly rod all the way up to sharks from a fixed point on land and everything in between,” says Team Member Dane. “I like the quality for the price of KastKing® fishing tackle products, and the fact that I can spend less knowing they are going to perform under pressure. I don’t have to be worried if I grab the wrong combo that I’ve lost a trip. The gear preforms great and that makes me feel like I’m not wasting money.”
Dane is a husband and father whose family loves to be included in his fishing trips. “I enjoy relaxing on a river fly fishing or kayaking a 20 pound bait out to sea to test myself and gear against pelagic species that wander close to shore. I grew up in Florida pond hopping and coastal fishing and I’m now doing the same years later in Texas. I’m having just as much fun as ever. I enjoy helping people learn about fishing and passing along the knowledge I have gained from others. This year I am gearing myself up to begin chasing sharks at tournaments; not just for fun and tagging, but with the hopes of furthering my knowledge and abilities.”
Mike Lamoureux hosts three tournaments in his local waters every year: one in May for pike and walleye, a youth bass derby in July, and a Fall Bass Smash-Off in September. These events have been a big success and continue to grow every year. Mike also competes in the local ice derbies in Casselman, Embrun and Rockland, Ontario Canada. He had 2 second place finishes last year in pike division, losing one derby by a ¼ inch.
Mike started fishing at the age of 4 by worm fishing on the shores of Graham Lake in Brockville Ontario, Canada at his grandparent’s camp. He competed there in his first derby and won second place with a 4 lb largemouth bass at age 5. His passion for fishing grew from there. He moved from Ottawa to Casselman, Ontario at age 10 and discovered the shores of Nation River, furthering his passion by catching catfish, carp, mooneye, and smallmouth bass.
Mike, who is fluent in English and Canadian French, runs a successful social media group called Local Bassholes, which spans his native Canada and the US. It allows him to reach out to people and teach fishing to those who ask. ”I fish in -40c to +40c weather and nothing can hold me back from fishing. I live and breathe fishing day in day out. It is my passion and I love everything to do with this great sport. I give back to my community by hosting three local tournaments every year during the summer season and collecting food for our local food bank at these events,” says Mike.
Ashleigh Kordewick says, “I'm a passionate angler who thrives on the water.
“When I initially started fishing, I was just killing time with a good friend of mine. I had no idea that it would eventually become a life-long passion. You see, the fishing bug doesn't just nip you immediately, it happens very gradually. All I know is that one day I came home and looked at my multiple tackle boxes and various fishing reels and rods, which led me to realize it was my calling. It was like I had blacked out for five months and suddenly awoken. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I love fishing and it's filled voids I never knew I had. Fishing calms my soul and I love it so much.”
Ashleigh fishes salt and fresh water in her home state of Texas. “I’m a passionate advocate for the American Pit Bull Terrier breed of dogs. I'm a graduate student at University of Houston. I'm an avid outdoors woman who spends every free moment in the sun,” says Ashleigh.
Visit Ashleigh’s Facebook page, The Fisherwoman Chronicles: https://www.facebook.com/thefisherwomanchronicles
Capt. Hallie J. Burnett
Capt. Hallie Burnett is one of a select few female boat captains on Florida’s Emerald Coast. As a licensed boat captain she is the only female captain competing in the Emerald Coast Redfish Pro Series. Captain Hallie is also the Captain of the only all women’s team to ever compete in the Series. The Series, which spans from Apalachicola, FL to Delacroix, LA is a widely recognized and respected series among inshore anglers along the Emerald Coast.
In addition to the Series, Capt. Hallie has also been the tournaments director for multiple women’s fishing tournaments along the Emerald Coast. She is highly respected among her peers, male and female, as one of the most professional female anglers in the region.
Capt. Hallie says, “KastKing®s slogan “KastKing® Keeps Fishing Fun” resonates with me, and I appreciate that there is a company out there trying to keep this incredible sport affordable without the “pink it and shrink it” mentality. Since KastKing® products are developed through feedback from the fishing community directly to the manufacturing floor -- “Designed by anglers for anglers” as a consumer you feel like you’re part of the process.”
Captain Hallie also established the non-profit, public charity, Friends In Survival and Hope, Inc. (F.I.S.H., Inc.), which she raises donations for through her fishing efforts to aid individuals that have been diagnosed with terminal illness.
Prior to embarking on her career of philanthropy through women’s fishing she attended Kansas State University and spent 15 years as an accountant, and more recently as the Practice Manager for her husband’s veterinary hospital.
Capt. Steve Daniel
Capt. Steve Daniel Is known as "The Teacher of Bass Fishing” and is among the most talented in the fishing industry. Steve is a three time winner on the FLW tour, two of them on Lake Okeechobee, Florida. He was the first FLW Forrest Cup Champion, and a Bassmaster Elite Classic Qualifier. Steve has guided fisherman of all skill levels, from the most experienced to the novice for 30 years 0n Lake Okeechobee.
Based in Clewiston on Lake Okeechobee, Captain Steve is the host of the “Hooked Up With Steve & Deb” radio show, which is heard throughout the country. In between fishing trips Captain Steve always takes some time to talk fishing with all the top pro anglers and covers various topics on his radio show. He discusses fishing stories, and share tips, techniques, and provides answers to many questions that ultimately help anglers catch more fish.
“I impact thousands on and off the water. Clients that are in my boat using my fishing tackle and my radio show audience listening to the more than 15 hours per week on 6 plus stations around the world, value my opinions and advice as a veteran Pro Angler, teacher and Captain of 30 + years,” says Capt. Steve.
When asked what he likes the most about Eposeidon, he says, “The quality and affordable price of KastKing® products and the way Eposeidon respects the sport of fishing.” www.okeechobeeprostevedaniel.com/