Why us? Why use our reels when plenty of other companies produce great products built to last?
I was originally fishing other reels that gave me some drag problems here and there. My goal is to fish areas and species that challenge me. The team at Mangrove Outfitters, a quality 3-TAND Dealer in Naples, FL, recommended that I give the 3-TAND reels a shot. They stood behind the products and guaranteed that these things could take any abuse and the drag was magnificently engineered. I saw the reel; it was elegant and beautifully done. The drag was smooth and it essentially had all of the qualities of a reel that I desired. It was exactly what I was looking for and I knew immediately that I could rely on the reel. It has yet to let me down and I fish all over the world for the toughest species.
How the hell do you do it? Chasing and committing to the pursuit of World Record Fish.
I like to target the most difficult fish to catch. Catching a sturgeon on the Fly was a large goal of mine that put a fire in my belly. Granted it wasn’t a massive fish, but I went in knowing nothing about the fishery, about the flies; little is known about the fish and their tendencies. The obstacles made the reward that much greater for me. When I want something, when challenge arises, I rise to the occasion and thrive in that moment. It’s why I fish, to continuously learn and evolve to meet any condition and properly fish any fishery. It is the same reason why I love chasing surgeon. It is this challenge that is on such a greater scale than myself. It’s my own world that I can manipulate and make calculated executions.
Tell me a story when you were challenged the most. What happened and where were you fishing?
It was New Caledonia. I remember the scenario like it was yesterday. I was chasing World Record bones in one of the most amazing places in the world. The fish spooled me on full drag with 275 yards of backing. There was nothing I could do. It wasn’t my fault, and it wasn’t the fault of the equipment, it was simply an un-calculated decision on the amount of backing that I would need on these bones. It was nothing I have ever witnessed and I am itching to get back and get another shot at this or a similar fish. When I go back I will be fishing 400 yards of backing. It sounds crazy but this place is no joke.
As far as conservation what is your stand? What specific projects do you support?
If there is no conservation, there will be nothing left. As a fisherman I cherish these resources more than just about anything else. I have so much love for nature. It’s a huge reason why I keep fishing and traveling the world. We see disappearing fisheries all over the world. There is a science to all this ecosystem damage and how we can help alleviate the destruction. Grassroots education is so important. Educating the local people and helping them understand concepts that may seem self-explanatory. What we forget while living in the developed world is that the biggest influence in the destruction of fisheries is due to over fishing pressure from commercial fishing methods. The locals in these remote locations simply fish to provide for their family and village. Their methods are sustainable. It’s about cutting back commercial takes when the fisheries are worn out . It’s about understanding that sometimes we have to let our exhausted fisheries replenish and to sometimes not fish at all. It’s all a balance.
Papa New Guinea and Cook Islands are my next area of focus and influence. Deep bush, ecologically stable locations where there could be negative influences in the next few years naturally. It’s funny because I have spent a lot of time in the Florida Keys and wanted to push conservation methods there. The numbers of some of the fish that the area claims as a sport fish are dwindling. It’s sad to see such a great resource, so close to my home, devastated.
What is your next pursuit?
Pelagic. I want to fish big Wahoo and tuna primarily. I especially want to put the 3-TAND T-130 and T-150 to the test. They boast a powerful 22+ lbs of drag, so I am beyond confident that I can land impressive fish on the fly.
What is your personal history with fishing and fly-fishing?
I was born and raised in Poland on a small ranch. We had a creek running through our backfield. I fished and started studying fish and the habitats at a very young age. I caught my first big fish when I was 3 years old. I was fishing a piece of string attached to a stick with a bent sharpened nail. I was too weak to hold the stick that the string was attached to so I stuck it in the mud. The carp pulled the stick out of the mud and I chased after the fish until I dragged it up on to the shore.
I have been doing this forever. No one has ever taught me anything. I went to one fly tying clinic but other than that I have learned and progressed through knowledge of the local ecosystems and the particular fishes tendencies.
When I moved to the US I was enamored with the saltwater fish species and did all that I could to improve my skills. They say learning the hard way is sometimes not a good thing, but for me I have always liked to learn my own way while doing it the way I want to do it regardless of other influences. I have never had any desire to imitate anyone and do something that is already established. For me fishing is a discovery that takes me on a journey each time I pick up my rod.
We all know that fishing is a critical part of your life and your drive. What else drives you and creates the same form of challenge?
I love to fish. And I love to evolve as fishermen. However it’s not the only thing that drives me. I play 10 musical instruments including the sitar, guitar, mandolin, and banjo just to get an idea. I also speak several languages. I am an artist. Painting and Sculpting are huge passions of mine. I can relate making art to fishing. Sometimes I will stay up several nights in a row working on a painting and then have to work all day and I never think twice about doing it any differently. When I get focused on something, and am presented with a challenge, I thrive. My wife and I love to cook which is just another passion that we share together.