Interview of the Month - Marty Hughes (Kayakjak) E-mail
Tuesday, 15 September 2009 14:40

I’d like to introduce our readers to Marty Hughes.  Marty runs Kayakjak’s Fishing Guide Service and Outfitters and bases out of southwestern Nebraska.  Marty is a regular contributor to our guide reports and posts on our forums.  Marty has been fishing for 37 years and from a kayak for over a decade.  He’s in America’s He artland and is part of the revolution that’s happening with kayak fishing there.  For most of its brief existence, kayak fishing has been a saltwater sport.  Sure there are anglers who fish freshwater but the sport got its start and grew because of briny waters.  Marty is part of the next and much larger wave of anglers who do most of their fishing in the fresh.  I’ve always maintained that when the sport took off in freshwater it would explode as there are many more fishermen who pursue fish there then in the salt. kayakjac1_copy



How did you get started kayak fishing and how did the decision come about?

I started kayak fishing about 12 years ago when my running career came to a halt with several knee and joint problems.  I needed to find something that was good exercise and kept me outdoors.  I purchased a small kayak and started paddling around the small lakes here.   I was already an avid fisherman so I took my pole along and started fishing from the yak.  I was hooked from day 1!   I could practically sneak up on fish and catch them.  Then I got on the internet and found others who were doing the same!  From there I progressed to the sit-on-tops which were much more comfortable for me to use. 

 What was your first kayak?

My first kayak was a cockpit style, 10-footer.  I used on the river and local pond.  My first fishing kayak was a Wilderness Systems 135 Ride.


When did you decide to start guiding?

About the end of 2004 I decided to start an outfitting business in the area.  Since I had a few kayaks I thought it would be great to share the experience with others.  Presently we bring our kayaks and promote fishing and paddling with them all across the state.  We have had an impact on hundreds of enthusiasts and hope to reach thousands more in the near future with more demo days and lake visits. 


What types of fishing do you do?

I like to do lots of different types of fishing from the kayak.  I like to fish small ponds and lakes.  I use everything from a bait caster to fly rod.  I love top water for Largemouth. We just love to catch panfish and hunt down those 10 inch+ bluegill.  Probably our favorite is to find a new pond and see what we can catch.  Most of these small ponds may only be a couple acres in size but hold some incredible sized fish.


What’s your favorite?

I would have to say fishing top water for Largemouth Bass is my favorite type of fishing from a kayak. 

In speaking with you I know that you’ve gotten quite a lot of attention out there in the heartland.  Tell our readers about the articles, radio and such.

The kayak fishing revolution has just started blossoming here in the Midwest.  The media is just crazy about it.  Just recently, I interviewed on a 30 minute kayak fishing show on the “Ultimate Outdoors” with Crash Davis at KFAB radio.  We have been on NTV’s “One Tank Trips”, and Omaha World Herald did a full page on us with kayak fishing.  We have also been featured in the Nebraskaland Magazine.  There have been other numerous articles written and one television show that is called “The Outdoors” with Ralph Wall.  It seems that wherever we go people want to know more about the kayaks, try them, and some have even offered to purchase the ones we have with us on the spot!



50 species at Age 50 is a goal I set last year before my fiftieth birthday.   I am on a mission to catch 50 species of fish from the kayak at age 50.  This is a huge challenge since we only have 33 species of game fish in Nebraska.  Currently, I am getting close to 15 different type of fish caught.  I will have to travel and welcome any offers to go after those species that are not locally attainable.  


Fill our readers in on your service. 

We offer an outfitting service that includes paddling or fishing from kayaks at very reasonable prices.  We do have our favorite lakes and ponds in the area but will travel to most other parts of the state to accommodate clients.  We can also provide a shore style meal and usually cook the food in Dutch ovens.  Some of our customer favorites are Beef Stew covered with freshly baked biscuits, and our Rib Eye steaks with veggie packets.  We rent our kayaks and provide guiding services as well.  We have hosted everyone from fly fishermen to bird watchers.  You can’t get any closer to nature then from a kayak and the wildlife is abundant here for people to view.  Our crystal clear water makes it possible for the kayakers to see lots of activity below the water as well. 


In talking with you and looking over your site, the prices you charge are, for lack of a better word, cheap.   It’s almost as if you’re giving your services away.  Why are you charging so little?

We want to provide an affordable outdoor experience that caters to any budget.  We do offer a very inexpensive service that is worth well more than what we charge.   We have had many, many happy customers!  We are also into promoting paddling and kayak fishing.  This gives people a chance to see if this activity is for them at a very reasonable price.

What are your biggest fish from a kayak?

I’ve caught a lot of sizeable fish from the kayak.  We don’t have anything like the ocean goers on the coasts as we are limited to the fish that roam the Midwest waters.  I’ve caught a nice 22 Inch Largemouth, and several Northerns over 30 inches.  Also, a few big catfish in the 20+ pound range.  I also caught a 32 inch wiper once when I first started kayak fishing and he took me for quite a ride!


What’s your most memorable day kayak fishing?

Oh, there are so many!  One in particular was fishing with Jim Sammons off La Jolla.  That was an adrenaline rush!  Seeing the dolphins come up right next to me and hooking on to a fish were just exhilarating!  I did manage a nice Barry that day and Jim showed me how to land the kayak through the surf perfectly.  Around here it was when I hooked into a huge catfish and was towed clear across the lake!  I finally landed it on the other side with many on looking spectators!

  What are your goals with your business? 
Expose kayak fishing as many people as possible and demystify the “tip over” theory.  The Midwest has an incredible amount of freshwater fishermen and what better way to catch fish than from a kayak! Eventually, I would love to represent a kayak company and travel across the country as an ambassador for the sport of kayak fishing.  Just last night while fishing near Lincoln, Nebraska you should have heard the bank fishermen talking and pointing at my kayak.  The Midwest is about to explode with interest in kayak fishing and its fun being a big part of it. 


0 #1 Guest 2010-10-03 08:44
I recently enjoyed my first kayak fishing experience with Marty . . . I am "hooked" and now the proud owner of my own kayak purchased through Kayakjak.

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