Christopher Mautino

Nomadic guide, Chris Mautino, is the founder of Liquid Adventures, an outfitting business located in Seward, Alaska.  Always in search of new challenges and adventures, Chris further divides his time between California and Baja, with the later locale being claimed as his favorite spot on earth.  When not traveling or guiding, Chris can be found leading instructional classes and seminars and being filmed for various promotional and print media outlets.  Chris has many Pro Staff titles to his name, including his new role as an ambassador for Greenfish.

What first drew you to this style of angling?  When was that?

In the early nineties, I was working as a kayak guide for a company based in San Diego. I led trips on rivers and in the salt, and four or five times a year I would take a group of sea kayakers down to Baja.  We would spend the first part of the trip at Arbolitos, playing in the rock gardens and kayak surfing, and then we would go further south to Bahia de Los Angeles to paddle around the near shore islands. Every afternoon before dinner, I would  paddle out in front of camp and grab a few fish for appetizers, or make a big batch of Ceviche. The guests loved it, and it really helped bolster the tips. I had no idea where it would eventually take me.

Do you remember the first fish that you caught from a kayak?

I do, it was actually a smallmouth bass that I caught from the seat of a whitewater boat on the lower Colorado River. My buddies and I would carry three piece fly rods on downriver kayak trips and when we were in a non-technical part of the river, or in a big eddy, we would make a few casts to break up the day.

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Your career has enabled you to fish in all corners of the globe. With regard to the culture and lifestyle associate with the sport of kayak angling, what are some of the common themes that you've witnessed?

I’ve been fortunate to work as an Outdoor Professional for over two decades, and one theme I find common in the lifestyles of many outdoor guides is a passion for adventure travel and an appetite to explore new places. Add to that, aspirations to pull on exotic and not-so-exotic species and a connection with others who like to spend time on the water.

What food and/or music fuel your drive to the put-in?

I don’t drink coffee, so it’s usually a fresh smoothie made with Almond milk, frozen fruit, whey protein powder, a scoop of some kind of green super-food supplement and a little flax. On the water it’s Lara Bars, raw Almonds, dark chocolate and usually a PB&J, or avocado/hummus sandwich.

Who, specifically, is shaping the future of kayak angling?

There are a lot of guys and gals out there pushing the limits of the sport, as well as some great ambassadors and also cutting edge companies that help fuel, shape and grow the industry. It would be a very long list and I would hate to miss someone.

In today's glossy surf and paddle focused media, the term "waterman" gets used in a hyper-frequent manner, and often belittles the historical roots of the definition.  That aside, given your close ties to the ocean, and your extensive resume, one could easily label you as a true and genuine modern day representative of this elite club. What does this title mean to you?

I’d agree that the term “Waterman” has definitely become overworked. It’s the new “Extreme” and I feel like the surf industry uses the word to sell stuff. All of us that grew up at the ocean know a few watermen. They generally possess a mastery of all oceanic endeavors, which may include surfing, body surfing, outrigger, fishing, spear fishing, and stand up paddling. They can interpret weather and ocean conditions, and often times they have exhibited the ability to save the odd drowning man, etc., etc. In addition, they are generally a humble lot. Personally, I have always been drawn by a love of all things “ocean”.  It’s where I find balance, gain endurance, build strength, and honor tradition.

With regard to kayak angling, what issues are important to you? What, if anything, can be done about them?

I think the greatest challenge for most fishermen, including the kayak fishing community, is educating anglers and non-anglers alike about the resource that we so love and enjoy. Our access and fish stocks are currently being regulated and controlled with unjust legislation and bogus science. We all need to get a little mad and voice our concerns at the local and national level. Do your part to promote a sustainable fishing lifestyle.

Barring money or logistics, what is your dream kayak angling trip?

Another long list…I’d like to visit the amazing fishing destinations around Ecuador like San Christobal, Galapagos or Manta. Cuba would certainly make the list, and how about Christmas Island or ANY of the reef passes of the South Pacific with a sick right-hand wave nearby.

What's in your milk crate?

Besides tackle for the target species, I ALWAYS pack a lot of good Juju.

You once paddled the length of the Sea of Cortez.  Tell us about your motivations to take on such an adventure.

Baja is one of my most favorite places on the planet, so the trip was a no-brainer. I really didn’t need any motivation. I had the gear, the time, and good local knowledge of the peninsula from previous trips. It just sounded like another cool trip to do.  I also liked the personal challenge of doing the trip sans a partner or group. Solo paddling lends a lot of time to clear your head. I knew that it would be an amazing trip with incredible experiences. And it was.  However, I did that trip with a much younger body than I currently reside in, and now I don’t think it would be all that much fun.

Tell us about your best day on the water.

I could say that my “best day” on the water would start in the early morning with a group of close friends. We would paddle out together sharing stories in the silent peacefulness of a new day, watching the sunrise and maybe a dolphin or two, laughing and gazing about like something out of a Hallmark card, but that would be a lie. Besides, that’s what I do when I’m guiding.  A great “personal day” on the water is when I grab some gear, put together a good pattern and head out solo in really snotty weather. I don’t have to paddle very far and then I whack ‘em with no one around.  Hehe...


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