Meet the Team
Growing up in North Carolina, all Aaron really wanted to do as a kid was fish. With four ponds close to his house, his mother always knew where to find him at dinner time. She would always tell him "The worse thing your dad ever done was put a fishing pole in your hand." As he got older Aaron started traveling with his dad, fishing the SKA (Southern King Fish Association) during the summer months up and down the eastern seaboard. You could say his feet have been salty from a young age.
As a young adult, Aaron chartered a bass boat, but when the time came to settle down with his wife and two kids he traded it in for a Kayak and Paddleboard shop. Here he was introduced to kayak fishing. "I noticed quickly that fishing from a kayak was a lot different due to you were not able to run from spot to spot but to pick areas and fish them slow. This I feel has made me a better fisherman and I can tell you that I have consistently caught better quality fish out of a kayak then the five boats I have owned."
Aaron now fishes the kayak circuit in fresh and saltwater as well as owning his own bait shop, Aaron's Baits. His sponsors include Boonedox, Hobie Kayaks, Rock Outdoors, American Bait Works, Net Bait, Power Pole, Ardent Reels, Halo Rods, and Savage Coffee.
Some of his top fishing accomplishments include: 2020 IFA Georgetown Top Ten, 2019 Redfish Top Ten, 2018KBF Nationals 46th of 754 (highest payout in kayak history), Three-time National Qualifier, 22 Top Ten Finishes in KBF events.
Andrew fell in love with the sport of kayak fishing to get off the beaten path and to get back to places his center console boat just couldn’t get. Since then he has been fully engulfed in the sport and there is no place he would rather be than sitting in a marsh in his little plastic boat. Andrew primarily fishes out of a Hobie Pro Angler 14 and fish inshore/offshore saltwater, but always gets several freshwater trips every year too. He is an avid tournament angler competing mostly in saltwater series up and down the east coast. He loves tournament angling because "it’s a way to test my knowledge and abilities not just to win but to prove to myself that when it counts I can hold my own." He was also lucky enough to be a 2-time winner of the North Carolina Kayak Fishing Association’s Angler of the Year title. In 2016 he began guiding kayak fishing trips to meet new people and share his obsession with the sport. Guiding has been a new challenging road and has sharpened his skills on the water. He has come to realize that coaching someone into catching a fish of a lifetime, passing on a skill, or sharing some great conversation is just as rewarding as being the one hooked up.
Captain Drew Mixon is a USCG Master Captain with qualifications to operate vessels from inshore sized boats, to ocean-going commercial craft. Not only an angler, Drew is a true outdoorsman and steward of our beautiful central Florida environment. Drew has attained the level of master birder and his knowledge of facts and trivia concerning Florida's wildlife will entertain you with interesting things you didn't know before you climbed aboard. Drew's fished Florida waters for over 40 years and developed techniques to put great fish in the boat. He’s always been a family man and introduced his boys to fishing and the great outdoors at an early age.
Drew has captained teams at the professional level on the redfish tours, pro kingfish tour, countless offshore tournaments and 2 different professional bass tours. With 7 IGFA records and trophy catch citations in 4 states to his credit, Drew uses the techniques he developed in his tournament angling to help anglers be more efficient on the water.
Drew is known far and wide as not taking himself, or things too seriously. If you enjoy a laugh and don’t want to be overly intense while putting giant fish in the boat, Drew will definitely make your day.
Ben currently resides in Middle Tennessee which is arguably the most competitive kayak scene in the country. Tennessee has over 12 kayak clubs and several of the country's big bass lakes within a two-hour drive. During 2018 Ben made it a point to branch out and try some new water. In doing so he fished with 6 different clubs and landed his personal best largemouth during a tournament with the Tennessee Valley Kayak Anglers of Chattanooga on Lake Guntersville.
Ben has been fishing out of a kayak since late 2015. A self-proclaimed "weekend warrior", he splits his time on the water between fishing and introducing newcomers to the sport. Last year Ben was offered a Regional Fishing Team Member spot with Hobie, a synergistic role that combines both kayak fishing and his enjoyment of helping others get on the water. Ben also served as a volunteer with the Heroes on the Water - Music City Chapter for two years until it dissolved in 2018.
During the colder months, you can find Ben around dams chasing walleye, striper, and hybrid. For the 2019 season he is looking to focus on fishing with one club in hopes of making the Tennessee State Championship, find a couple long weekends to chase redfish and reinvigorate his jig brand Dinkhunters.
Brian has been fishing since his Grandfather first took him to the banks of the Mississinewa in Indiana to catch catfish and snapping turtles. In 2018 Brian stayed at a resort in Michigan for a weekend and fished out of a small sit-in kayak for most of the weekend. That experience changed his perspective on fishing and he fell in love with being alone on the water, navigating various situations, and finding fish! Today, Brian is a competitive kayak angler but also works hard to promote the sport, especially from the grassroots perspective. Brian is an administrator with GRBY: Grass Roots Bass Yakin, a competitive kayak fishing series in the Midwest, largely in Indiana and Illinois. Brian is the creator and host of a weekly live Video Blog called Grubby Talk, which highlights the stories and experiences of the average angler.
Brian fishes primarily in GRBY but loves to compete in other organizations such as Indiana Kayak Anglers, KBF, and Paddle-N-Fin Trail Series. While competing is important and fun to Brian, his main passion is connecting with other anglers and bringing together content that will educate, entertain and inform. Brian is currently on several teams including Boondox, Kistler Rods and Reels, Bizz Baits, Titan Tungsten and Falcon Hooks. Brian prides himself in working with local businesses and groups in North Central Indiana to bring about positive exposure to the world of Kayak Fishing.
Brian’s full-time job is as a teen therapist. Kayak Fishing has become a respite for Brian to recharge and get plenty of self-care.
Raised on the shores of Long Island, New York, Christopher has been fishing since he was a little kid, but it wasn’t until his time in the United States Marine Corps that he began to take fishing seriously.
A fly angler for many years, an accident at work left him unable to walk correctly anymore. He thought his time fishing was over until he was introduced to Noah Heck and the Kayak-Anglers community. It was love at first cast. For the past 4 years, he has been competing in the Kayak-Anglers Western PA chapter tournaments, learning to hone his craft. He has now traveled across the country to fish in various tournaments at the National level. From the Toledo Bend Reservoir, Kentucky Lake for the KBF National Championship to Northwest Pennsylvania for the Northeast regional open on Lake Erie hosted by none other than FISHingONline. Despite his travels, his passion will always in Pennsylvania either on "the big lakes like Erie or the flowing creeks like the Kiski and famed Susquehanna River. There is no shortage of great water here." While he loves competing in tournaments his greatest times on the water are the ones he spends with his fiance Tonya fishing for fun. She is an accomplished angler in her own right, but just seeing her enjoyment makes puts a smile on Christopher's face after a long week at work. As they say, there’s no such thing as a bad day on the water.
Born and raised in Burlington, NC, Jacob learned to fish out of the back of his dad's bass boat on Lake Cammack. He started kayak fishing in 2014 and tournament fishing with Carolina Kayak Anglers in 2015.
In 2018 he married his best friend and biggest supporter, Hannah. They have a German shepherd, Sam, and a black lab mix, Kota (yes like Minn Kota). Both his wife and the dogs love the water and fishing as much as he does, although his wife prefers saltwater fishing.
Jacob is currently a member of the Nucanoe Fishing Team and Denali Rods ProStaff. He has fished in 40+ kayak tournaments with 20+ top ten finishes including a 1st place finish in the Bass division of the BooneDOX Yadkin Slam in 2018. He has qualified for the KBF National Championship in both 2018 & 2019.
Jamie Denison is from Winston Salem NC. He started fishing as a young boy with his father in both fresh and salt-water. Over the years he has fished from a multitude of different types of boats. In 2013 he switched from tournament fishing out of a bass boat to tournament fishing from a kayak. Jamie is well rounded in the type of fish he targets but his favorite has always been bass fishing.
Since switching to that kayak tournament scene he quickly found his love for the sport competing on the local, regional and national stage. It didn't take long before his love for Bass fishing, and now kayak Bass fishing turned into a much larger passion to become the best Kayak bass fisherman that he could be, even birthing the slogan "just fishing."
It didn't take long before he got his first KBF win, and that made him hungry for more. His tournament highlights include 2017 KBF Angler of the Year, 2018 KBF "The Ten" Champion, 2018 KBF Trail Series Champion, 2018 KBF Challenge Series Champion, 2019 USA Kayak Team (US Bass).
Jay Wallen grew up in Kentucky and started traveling across the country for bass fishing at an early age. His dad brought him along to fishing destinations like Kissimmee, Tennessee River, Lake Erie, Santee Cooper, and anywhere else the bass were biting. This instilled a tremendous love in him for bass fishing and experiencing diverse fisheries.
Jay has transformed his passion into success on the tournament fishing trails. He lives in Kentucky with his wife Casey and dog Hobie. Jay spent most of his life fishing from a bass boat, but about 7 years ago got a taste of kayak fishing, fell in love with it, and never looked back. Jay has fished hundreds of tournaments with plenty of wins and 2 AOY titles under his belt. Find him on the water or on social media @JayWallenFishing!
Joe Komyati lives in Raleigh, NC, and has been fishing from a very young age. He started off fly fishing with his father in the rivers of northern New Jersey for freshwater trout. Joe took up kayak fishing just 9 years ago along Florida's beautiful west coast where he targeted redfish, trout, and snook. Now Joe is a seasoned kayak tournament angler who competes in the Inshore Fishing Association (IFA), KBF Series, Hobie Bass Open Series, and is a member of the Hobie Fishing Team. Joe attended the Hobie Fishing Worlds #6 in Leeville, LA, and also qualified for the Hobie Fishing Worlds #8 in Queensland, Australia.
When not on the water you can find Joe in his shop building his custom fishing rods or working on new Bass Jig designs! His current sponsors include Hobie, Stryker Jigs, Dyeing2Fish, Boonedox, Great Outdoor Provisions, Powerpole, Dyesafe, and Hobie Polarized.
Originally from Mt. Juliet, TN, Josh has been fishing his entire life. In high school, some of his close friends introduced him to bass tournament fishing and he spent the next 25 years competing. In 2015 he moved to Florida with his family and on a whim he bought a kayak. Since then he has become engrossed in kayak fishing. "I absolutely love it!" He exclaims.
Josh mainly fishes freshwater and competes in Kayak Bass Fishing tournaments, but he also enjoys chasing redfish inshore whenever he gets a chance. When not fishing competitively he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children fishing, hunting, camping, gardening, going to the beach, and just spending time together. He makes his living as a bridge construction inspector during the week.
Mark Patterson has been involved in kayak fishing for over 25 years, so he has seen a lot of changes in the sport. Eleven years ago he founded the NCKFA (North Carolina Kayak Fishing Association) to promote kayak fishing both by having "meet & greets" as well as on the water events. The Oak Island Classic is the largest of these events with over 175 anglers coming to the coastal town of Oak Island NC to fish in both the Ocean and Inshore Divisions.
As much as Mark enjoys educating kayak anglers on the ins and outs of the sport through seminars, he still loves to compete when he can. Mark believes kayak fishing is the best and most challenging way to pursue his passion, whether it is a small lake, a mountain river, or the ocean. He does all he can to stay in shape so he can continue doing what he loves.
Based out of Northern California, Marvin currently fishes for Headwaters Fishing Team. He is chasing two kayak bass tournament trails for 2019: the KBF West and the YAK-A-BASS Trails. His current fishing vessel is a custom 2019 Native Titan 12. He vlogs the NorCal kayaking lifestyle on his youtube channel: MOBBIN outdoors
"Moving around such a heavy load from my truck to the launch would not be possible without the BooneDOX Landing gear. You cannot live without one if you are moving your highly modified rig around in the tourney scene. BooneDOX made a simple design that has been imitated, but the quality is never duplicated!"
Mel Russell Ashe grew up in the Carolinas fishing farm ponds with his Dad, Melvin, and his grandfather, Russell. After working many years around the US he landed in Kansas City, Missouri. Missouri has so many wonderful ponds and lakes, and Mel has been on many with his friend Matt Clark and his canoe. Matt is the one that said ” You gotta see this guy fish out of a kayak” on “Knot Right Fishing”. That was 2012. In 2013 he was in a kayak fishing on Santee Cooper in the KBF Open. He was hooked - line & sinker. Mel travels all over the Midwest, South & East (still haven’t gone West, maybe in 2020) fishing KBF events and Midwest Kayak Bass Fishing Series events as well as his local club NEKKA.
When not on the water, he loves spending time with his wife, Toni, and his three amazing rescue pit bulls-Remington, Dixie, and Zima. Saturdays during football season, if he isn’t fishing, you will definitely find him on the couch watching his beloved Clemson Tigers.
Nathan lives in Thomasville, North Carolina with his wife of 27 years, has two children and three grandsons. Nathan started tournament fishing when he was around 16 years old in his dad's boat, mainly fishing local tournaments such as the Redman, Fishers of Men, and other small tournaments. Now he mainly fishes out of a kayak and is an avid tournament angler who fishes in the CKA (Carolina Kayak Angers) and KBF events.
While fishing the KBF National Championship on Kentucky Lake he finished in the top 50's out of 400 anglers. Nathan doesn't limit his fishing to only bass, he also loves to fish for other species in freshwater and saltwater.
Ryan Nihill grew up fresh water fishing chasing bass and crappie. He attributes much of what he knows today to his grandfather and dad taking him out fishing as soon as he could walk. It wasn't until the age of 19 when he moved to South Carolina for college did his passion for saltwater fishing begin.
Ryan spent most of his early days fishing out of power boats. It wasn't until 4 years ago when his father-in-law put him in a kayak that he found his love for another form of fishing. There's just something about being so close to the water and having a big bull red pull your kayak around. His favorite fish to target are speckled sea trout on topwater. You can catch him all along the East Coast in his Native Slayer. Ryan fishes competively in both salt and freshwater. He is a member of Lowcountry Kayak anglers fishing their local circuit and also davels in any tournament that he can find time to make it to from the Hobie Bass Open to KBF.
When Ryan isn't on the water he is either in the hospital where he is an O.R. Coordinator, out in the woods hunting, or spending time with his son, daughter and wife. Ryan is a family man at heart and what truly matters most to him. He hopes to raise his children with a love for the great outdoors like he has.
Ryan has been kayak fishing for 5 years in the Carolinas and has fished several tournaments in both freshwater and saltwater. He started fishing with CKA (Carolina Kayak Anglers) and NCKFA (North Carolina Kayak Fishing Association) and then started fishing with QCKBF (Queen City Kayak Bass Fishing). Every group has great people in it and he enjoys the friendly atmosphere of each.
Ryan has logged a couple of top-five finishes in the CKA events and has won the SLAM division at the BooneDOX Yadkin Slam 2 years in a row. While he likes the tournament scent he really enjoys fishing charity tournaments more than anything. Ryan is also on the PinkFishing Team which is a big part of why he fishes tournaments, as it enables him to help spread the word about Breast Cancer awareness. He recently has relocated to the gulf coast of Florida in the Clearwater area.
Ron Champion is a seasoned tournament angler who grew up fishing creeks, ponds, and reservoirs in middle Tennessee but now he and his family live in the Coastal Waters of Southeast Georgia. He started fishing when he was about 5 years old with his dad. Coming over from the Bass Boat side of fishing it didn't take long for Ron to make an impact in the Kayak world. Although Bass fishing is his passion, his most memorable trips are catching Crappie, Bluegill & Catfish with his kids. Ron is a family man and has a 12-year-old son Branton and an 8-year-old daughter Makayla. He has been with his wife Chrissy since 2005. Both kids love to fish and he takes them every chance he gets.
With over 200 Kayak Tournaments to his name and over half those being Top 10 finishes you can guarantee that when Ron shows up to an event he is there for one thing and that is to WIN! Ron is a proud Christian and not afraid to share his faith. If you get a chance to meet him, don't be afraid to say "Hello".
Stacey Marin lives in L.A. (lower Alabama) near Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. He is proficient at both freshwater and inshore saltwater fishing. Stacey finds himself fishing from both powerboats and kayaks throughout the year, fishing as many as 31 tournaments in a year. While he does use powerboats occasionally, his love and passion are for kayak fishing. His fishing brings him through almost every state in the southeast in a yearly.
Asking him what his favorite method or what his favorite to fish for is akin to asking a parent who their favorite child is. Stacey has a very broad tackle box and adapts to change happily with his toolbox full of tricks.
Stacey also does a lot of presentations at boat shows, fishing clubs, and local school groups. When he isn't fishing you can find him in the woods hunting, going to the shooting range with his wife, or reloading ammo for his next trip to the range. He has a true love for the great outdoors - which you'll know as soon as you meet him.
Steve is a lifelong fisherman who started kayak fishing 5 years ago. Steve calls Tennessee home and enjoys crappie fishing as well as tournament bass fishing. Steve is a member of the Native Watercraft, Picasso Lures, HOOK1 Outfitters, Denali Rods, Line Out Custom Tackle, and PowerTeam Lures teams. He is a director of the Tennessee Valley Kayak Anglers of Chattanooga (TVKA) and hosts Kayak Bass Fishing Trail events as well. He has qualified for the Tennessee State Kayak and KBF National Championship 3 times. In 2018 Steve placed 5th in the Tennessee State Championship and won the 10th Annual YakAttack Tournament. He was the 1st angler to win both the Big Bass Prize as well as the overall Bass Division. This season he will be fishing the Hobie Bass Open Series, KBF Southeast Trail, and for a spot in the Tennessee State Kayak Championship.
Ty was raised in Makaha, Hawaii, a small rural beach community, and has been an avid life-long waterman. He grew up with great respect for the sea and was taught to fish, surf, and free dive from an early age.
For most of Ty's life, surfing was his foremost passion, but in 2010 Ty moved to the eastern side of the big island of Hawaii (where surfing conditions are not ideal) and he gradually started to learn more about shore fishing. His love for fishing was awakened, so in 2015 when Ty moved back to Oahu, he naturally wanted to continue fishing. Ty wanted to take on a new adventure sport so he tried ocean kayak fishing and was hooked! His many years of ocean sports helped him to quickly progress and start to excel. His new goal is to help grow the sport of kayak fishing in Hawaii. He loves to get to know and help new people who are interested in the sport. He currently resides in Mililani, Oahu with his daughter and son.
Tyler is 40 years old and father to two amazing girls. Tyler fishes and is the tournament director for the Iowa Kayak Anglers and also competes in the KBF series. Growing up running the banks of his local river, Tyler has a life long passion for fishing and has honed his skills to be a competitive kayak angler.