Jeff Anderson

 

Hailing from Portland, Oregon by way of California, Iowa and Wyoming, Jeff Anderson is a talented angler known for impressive catches and infectious passion.  A veteran of waters both fresh and salty, Jeff can be found pursuing a variety of species, ranging from salmon, halibut, rockfish, and bass.  Jeff is an active member of Northwest Kayak Anglers, and took the title of the group’s 2011 Angler of The Year.  Jeff is a member of the fishing teams of Hobie and Next Adventure.

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

When I was living in San Diego, I went for a walk along the south jetty of Mission Bay and met two older fishermen sitting in lawn chairs on a grassy area plunking for whatever swam through the channel.  I realized that I had fishable water all around where I lived, and after chatting with them a couple of different times, I realized I needed to get back to one of my favorite pastimes.  After trying to fish from the bank using my father-in-law’s fishing rods, I realized I was pretty limited when it came down to what water I could effectively fish.  I chatted with a younger guy working at one of the local tackle stores in Point Loma, and he told me all about how he uses a kayak to fish the bays.  From that point on, I was crazy about kayak fishing.  I bought my first kayak, a used scupper pro, off of craigslist, and my passion for the sport took off from there.

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

I think my first fish from a kayak was a barred sand bass from San Diego Bay.  It was on my first solid fishing outing in my scupper pro. I did a round trip of about ten miles – out to the tip of Point Loma from inside the bay.  I couldn’t believe how amazing that day felt.  I had just discovered a great way to get a ton of exercise, catch my own fresh fish, and enjoy all of the beautiful scenery near where I lived.

 

You have to your name the most viewed kayak angling-related video on Youtube.  The clip documents Bryce Molenkamp‘s catch of a large Pacific octopus, and, as of this writing, has seen over 15 million plays.  What were your thoughts when you first realized the potential popularity of your video?

It wasn’t until around 4 months after I posted the video that the view counts really started to take off.  We were out looking for halibut, and sure, it was a pretty big octopus, but not at all what we were hunting for that day.  When I first put the video together I didn’t think it had the potential to beat out some of my other videos that were at a few thousand views.  Wow, was I ever wrong.  Once I noticed the view counts spiking, I thought it was just another weekend where lots of people were killing time on YouTube, and that things would all go back to normal in a couple of weeks.  At its peak, it was getting about a million hits a week for at least a month.  I really couldn’t believe it; both Bryce and I were really stoked about how popular it was getting.  At one point I mentioned the video to some of my classmates and they were surprised to find out it was my video, as they had already seen it just by browsing YouTube.  The coolest part about it, though, is when I hear people say that it inspired them to get into the sport.  I have a feeling that with the momentum the sport is getting, I’m sure it will be passed by something more amazing soon enough.

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

I like eating a hearty cereal and energy bars for breakfast before heading out for the day.  I find that sort of meal tends to sit best while out on the ocean, plus I like getting out the door as quick as I can. I’ve never found the need for coffee before a day of fishing.  Even when I need to drive a couple hours before getting to the water, the thought of fighting fish on a little boat has always been enough to get my blood pumping and wake me up.  On the way to the water I’m usually listening to NPR, Ben Harper, or my favorite pump-me-up music, NOFX.

 

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

I feel it is the people who are fresh into kayak fishing that shape the future of the sport.  They drive the conversations in new directions without even knowing it.  They bring new perspectives to the sport and rekindle old ideas.  Every community needs new energy and new ideas regardless of how advanced it has become.

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

I spend a lot of time on the Willamette River, and I am always amazed at all the trash I see floating around.  Protecting our natural resources is extremely important to kayak fishing for obvious reasons.  I feel that things are getting better with each generation, but we still have a long way to go.

 

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

For my dream kayak angling trip, I think it would be amazing to go and hang out in Hawaii for a few weeks and spend time fishing with the Aquahunters – those guys really know how to do it right!  I guess the bottom line is that I really like the idea of spending a good chunk of time kayak fishing in a place where the water is nice and warm and there are plenty of pelagics to chase just off the coast.  The recent Christmas Island trip also comes to mind.  I’ve never fought an ulua before, and I feel like I’m really missing out.

Your formative years as a kayak angler were spent in Southern California, a land and coastline vastly different than those in the Northwest part of the country that you now call home.  Tell us a bit about the transition, as it applied to your pursuit of the sport, to the waters of the northern latitudes.


I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of having to wear so much immersion gear (because of how cold the water is up here).  That is one big thing I truly miss about San Diego.

To be honest, I was pretty reluctant to move up to Oregon at first.  I felt that there was no way the fishing could be better up in the Pacific Northwest than it was in SoCal.  If only I knew then what I know now!

When we moved up to Oregon in the middle of 2007, I got the feeling that no one had even heard of kayak fishing.  I couldn’t find any contact groups on the internet, but in hindsight I don’t think I looked hard enough or in the right places.  I spent a lot of time during my first year in Oregon renting books from the public library, and I did my homework on how to fish the area.  I started fishing from the bank at nearby rivers to keep my fishing bug satisfied since I didn’t really know where good kayak fishing spots were.  In 2008, I found my new favorite fishing spot:  Pacific City, Oregon.  There was a great spot to launch through the surf and within a short paddle, I was catching rockfish until my arms hurt.  It was in early 2009 that I decided to try and do more digging around the internet to see if there were people kayak fishing in the area.  In a short search, I found the Northwest Kayak Anglers’ website and felt like I was finally home.  Now I can’t believe I thought that the Northwest wouldn’t be able to keep me busy.

 

What’s in your milk crate?

My favorite on the water snack is chile spiced dried mango slices, so I usually have some out with me.  Carbs, sugar, and a little spicy kick.  I have grown to the point where I pretty much feel naked without my waterproof digital camera; it just recently snapped its 10,000th picture.  I would also feel pretty lost without my metal lip grippers.  A cheap set of pliers and a good hook sharpener always stay in my life vest.  Sharp hooks are very important.  I like keeping a compact air horn with me for a number of reasons.  It’s a great thing to have to signal other boats, and it also could come in handy in scaring away sea lions that get too close.

Tell us about your best day on the water.

When thinking of my best day on the water, a couple of particular days come to mind, but I’ll share the earlier of them.  I was not even a year into kayak fishing at this point. It was my birthday and I was heading out to fish the kelp beds off the coast of La Jolla.  I was busy trying to make bait near the Scripps Pier when one of the guys I knew called me out further.  He and another well-known member of the San Diego kayak fishing community had found squid, and were frantically trying to reel up as much as they could to stuff in their bait tanks.  I joined in with my sabiki rig, and had a blast pulling them up two, sometimes three at a time.  After we had plenty, we headed over to the kelp beds.  Overall, the day was pretty slow.  It seemed that no one was picking up yellowtail or white seabass, but I was having a ball just soaking up the day.  Around mid afternoon, I had a squid on my hook, which was down at about 80 feet and just outside of the kelp line.  Out of sheer boredom, I was catching lots of mackerel with my sabiki rig when my deep line takes off and the clicker starts singing.  I quickly start reeling in my sabiki rig, which now has three mackerel hooked up, but it was also down a little ways.  After a good ten seconds, my buddy chimes in, “You gonna get that?!”  I finally get the sabiki rig reeled in and leave the mackerel hooked just under the surface and figure I’ll deal with them in a minute.  They eventually tied themselves into a pretty impressive mess.  I picked up the rod and line was paying out pretty steadily.  After a solid hookset, which probably wasn’t necessary since it had most certainly hooked itself by now, I started reeling and pumping hard.  After about a half hour of being pulled in a straight line, I finally get my first giant black sea bass to the kayak.  I was pretty taken aback by how big it was.  My buddy and I estimated it to be 80 lbs easy, but could it very well have been more.  Just as I plucked the hook from its massive bottom lip, my buddy says, “Hang on, let me get a picture!”  “Oops!” I said, “I just let it go!”  It swam back down and we continued on our way.  The weather was amazing all day.  I must have been on the water around ten hours that day and I don’t remember bringing back a single fish, but it was one that sticks out as being my first big fish rodeo.

 

What is the kayak fishing lifestyle?

One of the things I love about kayak fishing is that the lifestyle is made up of many different walks of life. It sits somewhere in the middle of fishermen, surfers, and people who just like kayaking.  Because of this, I would say that the kayak fishing lifestyle is a pretty broad concept.  It’s the love of soaking up the beauty of nature mixed with the yearning of epic fights.  It’s the desire of tricking out your boat until it is perfect mixed with the excitement of exploring new areas.

You were once employed as a professional kayak rigger of sorts, and have a wealth of experience with the installation of add-ons ranging from bungees to fish finders.  What is the single most important piece of rigging-related advice that you can offer to the less experienced practitioners of our sport?

I think that constantly trying new rigging ideas has been one of, if not the, biggest driving forces in keeping my stoke for the sport as high as it is.  The best advice I can offer with respect to rigging is to not think of it as permanent changes being made to a kayak.  There are plenty of filled holes in the kayaks I own because it seems that every time I think I have everything laid out the way I like it, a new idea creeps into my mind and I end up moving things around to accommodate it.  I look at a brand new boat the same way that most experienced kayak fishermen do, as a blank canvas.  However, I like to think that I’m using erasable paint. People ask lots of questions and seek out advice about how others have rigged their boats before drilling those holes, and that’s a good thing.  But no two people fish the same way off of a kayak, so naturally, the layout of their kayaks will be different.  I hope to encourage people to get in touch with their inner engineer as much as possible because all of the drillin’ & cuttin’ is a big part of what makes this sport so fun.  Oh, and I  my favorite little practical tip I’ve thought of:  Save the curly crumbs that come from drilling a hole in a kayak, as they will come in handy when patching holes later.

 

Photo credit goes to Ron Sauber, Amanda Anderson, and Jeff Anderson.

7 Responses to “Jeff Anderson”

  1. Rory says:

    That’s m’boy right there!!

  2. Rory says:

    That’s m’boy right there!

  3. Bill Anderson says:

    Awesome little bro…just awesome!

  4. willbd says:

    Nice write up!

  5. Dan Anderson says:

    Yo – Great article Jeff!

    Wish I’d have known you were in the PacNW.. We were in SEA for 5 years (just moved to NY last year) and used to fish Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula rivers for salmon, rockfish and halibut. If you ever get a chance, get up to the Sol Duc or the Hoh in Forks for the fall Coho/Chinook run. You won’t regret it… ;-)

  6. Anthony says:

    Jeff was cool enough to take me out on my first trip in the salt 3 seasons ago and show me what time it was. That is a debt I’ll always owe him for, and I now try and repay it by taking other guys out for their first trips. Jeff’s confidence and skills on the water continue to inspire me. He’s a genuinely nice guy and a hell of a fisherman, his sponsors are definitely getting their money’s worth.

  7. Sharon Downes says:

    Atta boy Jeff!! Keep pursuing your passion! Someday I hope you will give me a guided fish trip, too! Seems like yesterday I was watching you float down the North Platte river in Douglas, Wyoming…Great pics!

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