Name: AJ Morton

Accolades: Feelfree kayaks, YakGear and Accent paddles.

Target Species: Northern snakehead, smallmouth and largemouth bass

Location: Lower Potomac River for snakeheads and largemouth. For smallmouth I’ll fish Upper Potomac River or Susquehanna River

Kayak: FeelFree Lure 11.5

Why: I stand up most of the time fishing heavy vegetation in search of snakeheads. So having such a stable boat helps with my hook ups and comfort on the water. Also, the gravity seat is a great part of the Lure. You can have the seat all the way up and not feel like your going to fall out of the boat. Also it’s really easy to get access to your tackle behind you while standing up.

Essential Accessories: I’m a less is more kind a of paddler. Essentials would have be my FeelFree Crate bag, I keep everything in this bag from terminal tackle, plastics and even my lunch. I would be lost with out it. When I fish heavy vegetation my so Micro Powerpole is key. Also love the Yakattack Rotogrip to keep my paddle locked in so I don’t spook the fish.

Standup Tips: As far as tips for standing in a kayak. First you need to get comfortable with your kayak. You need to know where the point of no return is. From left to right without tipping over. Once you find that then you know how far you can lean on each side without tipping.

Sight fishing tips: I would say always keep your net in front of you. When I fish heavy cover I can see open pockets when standing I couldn’t see if I was sitting. This is key for me for snakeheads, being able to see those pockets helps me land a lot of big snakeheads. Also helps if you can see the snakeheads. I would recommend a pair of polarized sunglasses if you wanna start sight fishing, your hook up rate will increase.

Great fish story: It started on a perfect day for snakeheads: cloudy with a storm brewing. I stood up in the FeelFree Lure and saw a pocket between the reeds and hydrilla.  So I cast my frog to the reeds and burn the frog back to the kayak. The frog got about halfway to the boat and I see this huge wake behind the frog, so I slow down my retrieve and the snakehead is following it but doesn’t want to commit. I didn’t want the snakehead to get to close to the kayak because they spook very easy. So I dropped the frog rod and picked up my swimbait rod and cast over the snakehead and burned it back and the snakehead crushed my swimbait. I set the hook and the snakehead launched straight out of the water towards my kayak. The fish got tangled in my frog rod, so I had both rods in my hands trying to land this snakehead.  I was able to untangle my frog rod and grab the net to land this snakehead. Its very hard to drop a rod and pick up another, I would have never caught that snakehead if I would have kept reeling my frog all the way back to the boat and cast back over. The fact that I was able to stand and see the wake of the fish, I was able to stop and switch rods to land that snakehead.  If you can remember to do this it does work 90 percent of the time and will help you boat a ton more fish.

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“Thank God my dad wasn’t a podiatrist,” jokes Ric about following in the footsteps of a famous outdoor writer. After graduating from Radford University and serving two years in Russia with the Peace Corps, Ric returned to Virginia Beach and started writing for The Fisherman magazine, where his dad was editor. When the kayak fishing scene exploded, Ric was among the first to get onboard. His 2007 book, The Complete Kayak Fisherman is one of the first tomes to introduce anglers to paddle fishing and hundreds of articles and seminars have brought countless anglers into the fold. When he’s not chasing every fish that swims, Ric teaches English at a school for at-risk teens.


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