Interview - Dino Cerdeira, The Pond Hopper E-mail
Monday, 14 December 2009 14:08

 

Dino with a bass kayak caught bass Dino in kayak I met Dino quite recently when I was introduced to him at Paddlesport. He is a Legacy Paddlesports endorsed guide and was helping out at the booth. We talked a bunch and I hooked up with him one day on the water when he had some clients. Dino guides freshwater in northern NJ and I posed a bunch of questions to him.

  1. When did you start fishing? I started fishing at around 10 years old. My father was working for Star Kist Tuna in Mayaquez Puerto Rico at the time. The company headquarters and fish processing plant where located on the same premises. So after the tuna boats where unloaded my father would have private access to the docks and we fished for whatever would bite. I didn’t know much back then so we used what we had. There where some pretty big fish just constantly spooling us, but it was a blast. I have never looked back since, just kept on fishing and kept on learning more about fishing.
  2. When did you first learn about kayak fishing and what made you start? I started dabbling with Kayaks about 10 years ago, and got serious about 3 years ago. When I first got married my wife and I would spend a lot of time in CT with my brother and sister in law. My brother in law and I both belonged to Bass fishing clubs and would fish several tournaments during the season.  However, on non tournament weekends we would get together and fish some of his local lakes. It was great fishing those secluded lakes around his CT home. When I would drive home it made me think that there had to be a better way, and similar spots to those must also exist here in NJ. Of course I knew my 19’ bass boat wouldn’t get me access to these spots so I kept downsizing. I kept looking for those spots that were both electric lakes only or limited access and I found the Kayak.
  3. Where do you do most of your fishing? 75% of my fishing is all on small lakes in Hunterdon, Middlesex, Sussex, and Warren counties of NJ. I also spend some time traveling to upstate New York a few times a year and the remainder of the season you’ll occasionally find me trying to fly fish local trout streams.
  4. When did you start guiding and why? Last year was my first full season guiding. I started guiding as a way of teaching others how to get into this sport. To pass on some of my knowledge and meet other fisherman, both new and experienced fisherman, who simply enjoy fishing? I also found guiding as an opportunity to spend more quality time on the water with great people doing what I love to do.
  5. What’s your favorite type of kayak fishing (methods, species, etc.)? I spend 100% of my kayak fishing time on freshwater lakes fishing for warm water species of fish. I mostly fish for largemouth and smallmouth bass, fishing tight structure around the shoreline in the spring and then moving out toward the deeper drop offs and deeper weed beds in the summer and early fall.  Depending on the wind I use a ball anchor or drift sock to slow down my drift. I rarely anchor and still fish, instead I prefer to move around and use my depth finder to find the weeds, and drop offs, along with bait fish. I usually start searching for the bass sometime around late March; depending on the severity of the winter and the water temps; and continue through the month of November. While I own numerous rods and reel combinations, my go to #1 method is a Texas rig worm with 1/8 or lighter weight. Lighter is always better, so I try to get away with as little weight as possible. There isn’t an artificial bass bait that I haven’t owned or thrown over the years, yet time after time I’ll always go to a Texas rig worm.  I’ve found out over the years that confidence catches more fish. If you have confidence in what you are throwing regardless on what type of bait it is, you will consistently catch fish.
  6. What gear do you use and why (kayaks, fishing tackle, lures, etc.)? I am a Native Watercraft endorsed guide and fish exclusively with Native watercraft. I Own a Manta Ray 14 and a Manta Ray 12. I prefer the MR14 for larger bodies of water and the MR12 for rivers and smaller protected waters. Both boats hold all my gear and perform great for my size of 6’4” and 225lbs. I also own an Ultimate 12, and recently acquire an Ultimate 16 tandem and an Ultimate 14 solo. I will probably make the ultimate 14 solo my primary boat this coming season. The ultimate model allows me to carry much more gear and makes it easily accessible because of the open cockpit design.  Because I provide all the equipment and tackle for my clients I feel the Ult 14 should be a good addition. I can carry the 6 or 8 rods I will need, a variety of lures and tackle boxes, any foul weather gear for me or my clients, and a lunch cooler. The seating in all of the natives is extremely comfortable for all day fishing, and I’ve spent as much as 10 hours a day in my boats with no back problems, pain or soreness.

For my rods I mostly use graphite 6’6” to 7’ medium heavy action with fast tip from St Croix, Fenwick and All Star. I find that these companies make a very sensitive and lightweight rod with good components. You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on a rod; it won’t make you a better fisherman.  St Croix has a new series of rods for bass fishing called Mojo Bass rods and they are priced under $100. St Croix Premier series are also good alternatives to the Mojo Bass line. Fenwick HMX or GT series rods priced $60-$90 are also good bass rods with the proper action, sensitivity and weight.  All Star has a new line of ASR graphite rods which are also priced under $100. I own several rods from each of these 3 manufactures and while I prefer the St Croix over the rest, the others are very good alternatives.  Most of my spinning reels are Abu Garcia model Soron STX20 or various Pflueger models. My bait casting reels are all low profile Abu Garcia Revo SX models. The key to your reel should be a smooth drag and something with the line capacity of 130yds of 8lb test. Anything larger is over kill, and a waste, plus you pay the price with the weight. A lot about rod selection, baits, line and other tackle related questions are usually covered in detail on all of my trips. Each fishing situation is different and might require a different rod application.

 

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