Name: Raf Vargas
Accomplishments/Accolades/Affiliations: AFTCO/Hobie Fishing Team/Truth Reels/YakAttack/Nitta Innovations/Lowrance
Target fish: Pelagic- Mahi, Wahoo, Tunas, and Bill Fish
Best boat? Why? : Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14…I can load this boat with everything that I need for a long 10 hour offshore trip and it handles great on rough waters. Also, plenty of room to store big fish while keeping it fresh.
Essential accessories? Tips for rigging.: Camera(s)…never miss the action and never be accused of being fisherman story teller. Gaff and spear to land big fish. Tourniquet; you never know what predator can get you while you are six miles offshore. Sun protection, PFD, flashlight and a radio.
Stand-up tips? Suggestions for standing-up, staying-up, sitting down. Comfort, stability….: Always, always, pay attention and anticipate the swells before they arrive. Be relax and confident, otherwise your mind will play games against your natural balance ability. Maintain as much distance between your feet as possible based on the space available and lower your center of gravity when dealing with choppy waters. Be bold and try it, you will be surprised how easy standing up might be for you.
Sight Fishing Tips: See more fish, hook more fish, catch more fish…: I stand to stretch out and cast at schools of fish. When casting top water heavy poppers, the only way to get distance and desired action is from a stand-up position. Also, although the water here is very clear, it is not until you stand up that you can see better what lays below.
Great sight-fishing story. Share your best, funniest, most instructional or inspirational sight-fishing story.: I love to stand up when fishing for Mahi because where there is one mahi, there is more following. Just recently, I spent a few hours chasing birds and what it seemed to be a disorganized school of fish. They were moving quick and I was trolling two live bait fish on my Nitta Live Zips. No strikes, no action so I decided to stand up and look further. You see, the water here is so clear that you can see about 100 feet down. When I look below my kayak, there were 100’s of what seemed to be amberjacks moving very slowly at about 50 feet deep. I was so in shock and unprepared that by the time I snapped out of it, and rigged a jig, they were gone. My heart was beating fast and the inability to react and think quick, worked against me. During my bass fishing days, I used to stand up on my Pro Angler hatch to work my rattletraps or top water lures. Miss those days.