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January 17, 2016 Comments (0) Views: 4835 Stories

That One Time I Almost Died on a Skiff

The first time I was on a skiff… I almost die. We cut a bend in the marsh and the cooler I was sitting popped off its latches… and overboard I went.

BEFORE the dunk with my lucky DIY #GoPro hat mount.

BEFORE the dunk with my lucky DIY #GoPro hat mount.


I was in classic Texas chocolate milk marsh water, so I couldn’t see anything. After the initial panic, I stopped moving and waited for my body to float so I could get my orientation as to which way was up. I felt my head bump the bottom of the boat. At this point, all I am thinking is, “I hope I’m not near the propeller.” I used my hands to stay in place and listened. I didn’t hear the motor on anymore, so I felt safe to move and found my way from under the boat. I had my hat camera rolling, but unfortunately that camera is at the bottom of that marsh now. But, I did manage to land a fish that day.

AFTER the dunk... shirtless, hatless BUT with a fish!

AFTER the dunk, shirtless, hatless but with a fish!

I lost my DIY GoPro Hat, along with my GarminVIRB and my Costas. It was a $600 dollar dunk. I never wore a hat mount again – but that trip started the quest for a better solution for mounting an action camera on your head. POV is my favorite angle because you can aim with it while you are paddling or fighting fish. Sure I could just use a head strap, but I don’t know a single person that likes wearing a head thong. Not one person.

Funny how those near death moments stick with you forever. That was back in May of 2014. Prior to that I had DIYed, every single type of bill mounted hat. I finally settled on a fitted hat, with LIVELIVE embroidered on it. I caught my first Mahi in Hawaii with that hat on and it has traveled with me all across the USA and even over to China and Mexico. Little did I know that… that hat and that moment, would lead me to starting a business selling a floating hat mount – that was fully “rig-able” and comfortable.

This video is of my second time out on a skiff and fortunately it was a much better experience. This trip was special in many ways…

This was my first trip out on the water after moving back from Florida. It was the first trip out to test the finished ActionHat product. I wanted to get some solid POV footage… action footage people don’t normally capture because head straps look stupid, they are uncomfortable and nobody wears them.

But this trip was special because it shows the true friendships I have made though kayak fishing. You see, I met Clay maybe 3 years ago, I was in my home store – the Spring ACK (Austin Kayak Canoe) location and he was there as well. He recognized me from YouTube and we talked and geeked out over the hands-free steering, trolling motor build I did on my kayak. Later, when I sold all my GoPros – he bought them all. We kept in touch through Facebook – but never managed to coordinate a kayak fishing trip together.

Three years later, Clay’s got a skiff and he’s gone all-in on becoming a fly fishing guide, just as I have gone all-in on the ActionHat. He’ll be teaching me how to fly fish and I’ll be shooting and sharing the whole experience.

That day, Clay pushed and poled me around for 8 solid hours. He managed to get his line wet a couple of times, but his focus was on putting me on the fish. It was late in the day when he finally found them, but I enjoyed learning the feel and style of skinny water marsh fishing from a skiff.

The pace is very much the same as kayak fishing. You have access to the same skinny water, but since it’s a boat – you get the boat range. But since it’ll draft in 4 to 5 inches of water – you can find some clear shallow water where few kayaks have ever paddled and no standard bay boat could get into. I’ll be spending a lot of time on that skiff with Clay.

A guided sight fishing trip on a skiff is easily one of the most enjoyable and exciting fishing experiences you can give to someone.

With the guide manually and slowly propelling you forward, while sighting and calling out fish, you get a rare chance to experience a pure moment of just you versus that fish.  Fly or conventional tackle – you are given one shot (maybe two) to make a presentation and convince that fish to take it. I had a lot of misses that day, but that one catch really opened my eyes. So I get it now. I get it. Hashtag: #skifflife.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever get a skiff on my own. I’m too cheap when I think about the gas used to tow and operate a boat. I am also pretty terrible at backing up trailers. But I’ll hop on a homie’s skiff any day. If I’m in a new area, I’ll most likely do a guided skiff trip first to get a feel for the water landscape, habitat and the behavior and personality of the local fish.



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