ACK Fishing Team Logo

Skilled, knowledgeable and open to share their experiences – these are just a few of the terms you could use to describe the anglers that make up the ACK Fishing Team. We’re proud to help support these talented anglers as they continue to promote the sport, share their passion for kayak fishing and inspire kayak anglers across the country.

Let’s get to know the six very-worthy anglers on the team:

(Be sure to follow them on Instagram to keep up with all their latest adventures!)

IG: @nextlevelfishingtv

Chris Castro - ACK Fishing Team Member

Bio: Chris Castro was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, but lived much of his early life overseas. While living in Europe, fishing was always near – and a hobby developed into an early passion. Upon returning to the United States in 1992, once again he found himself not far from the ocean. Passion for kayak fishing came on strong in 2013, and after three years of paddling he decided to buy into the action-cam craze. He truly believes that kayak fishing is next-level fishing, and so began his journey of filming fishing adventures. In 2015, Next Level Fishing TV launched on YouTube. His passion received notice in 2016, when YakAngler.com awarded him Video of the Year. Since then he has gone to win other video awards, most recent being the ‘Paddle Film Festival World Tour’ in 2019. Filming aside he is also a competitor when he has time. He is the only known kayak angler to have filmed undeniable evidence that sailfish can be caught off the Corpus Christi, TX beach. He has won multiple saltwater tournaments and is the first known Texas kayak angler to win an offshore boating tournament with his kayak. Today, Chris continues to produce his show and has gone on to contribute his adventures far beyond the camera. He has contributed to Kayak Angler Magazine, Paddling Magazine, Florida Sportsman Magazine, Saltwater Angler Magazine and Texas Fishing Magazine as he continues to share his love for the sport of kayak fishing.

Favorite Gear: NRS Chinook Fishing Life Jacket PFD

“The NRS Chinook continues to prove its solid design by always prioritizing angler needs and safety. There’s a place for all my fishing gear and then some!”

IG: @atxunited

Mitchell Atherton - ACK Fishing Team Member

Bio: Mitch’s love for fishing started in the mountains of Colorado with his grandfather, a tournament angler. Conventional tackle would come later as the fly rod was Jodie’s (Mitch’s grandfathers) preferred method of fishing, in his later years. Needless to say, not many fish were caught on that first trip. The next year, marshmallows and bobbers would facilitate the landing of Mitch’s first trout. Mitch, born a 7th generation Texan, has resided in Austin, TX. While Black Bass, AKA ditch pickles, were how Mitch cut his teeth (and thumb) he now chases species and techniques. Kayaks are mainly to blame for the obsession Mitch would find in his early 30’s. On a whim, a kayak was bought that just happened to have a fishing rod holder. After a few trips, it was evident that holder needed a rod and reel. The rest is history. Mitch’s claim to fame is the season record Lingcod for the northern coast of San Francisco (2018) and his 10lb 15oz Largemouth Bass, Harvey, both caught within a month of each other. Harvey was caught pedaling his Perception Pilot, on Town Lake, the night Hurricane Harvey was expected to hit Austin. Facing certain death, Mitch and his two best friends kissed their girls goodbye and went out on the water looking for that double-digit bass… Harvey now sits where she belongs (a replica, she was released safe and sound) on his mantel.

Favorite Gear: Feelfree Dorado 125 Kayak with Overdrive Pedal Drive

“I picked the Feelfree Dorado because I’ve always been into customizing my yaks. Lights, wiring, switches, battery storage… those are all fun to install the first time around, but to have it done professionally out of the box, was something I really wanted to experience. I fish long sessions, and this boat is super comfortable. Plus, it looks mean. Feelfree as a brand had me sold with the integrated wheel. Game changer!”

IG: @kayakbasstx

Bobby Clark - ACK Fishing Team Member

Bio: Bobby is a native of the Mississippi Delta and a graduate of MS State University. He now resides in Texas. He grew up fishing ponds/lakes in the Delta. One of his most memorable fishing experiences is catching a 6lb. bass when he was only six. When not on the water he enjoys family time and mountain biking. Bobby has proudly served in the MS Army National Guard and US Army Reserve. Bobby is also a Drake Waterfowl Field Expert, Yeti Coolers Ambassador, member of the YakAttack Team, 13Fishing Team, Onyx Outdoors Pro Staff and a Yakima Ambassador. The most important things in his life are God and Family.

Favorite Gear: Blue Sky Boatworks 360 Angler

“I chose the 360 Angler for its comfort, stability and ease to get on and off the water. It might not win any races but with the seat being height-adjustable it makes for a comfortable day on the water.”

IG: @clbirdsong

Carl Birdsong - ACK Fishing Team Member

Bio: Carl is highly passionate about kayak bass fishing. Growing the sport of kayaking and kayak fishing is something he really enjoys doing. When he’s not on the water he makes time for activities such as working out at the gym and getting exercise in at the track. Carl’s family is very important to him, as well. His wife is his biggest support system, being very supportive and encouraging his fishing. Carl does his best to share knowledge and his fishing stories on social media. Showing how awesome this sport is his goal. Most trips out he can be found in a local swamp or marsh backwaters. He tries to be in the water at least 3 to 4 days a week. It’s Carl’s goal to make the most of every single day, as he appreciates every single one.

Favorite Gear: Scotty Baitcaster Rod Holder with Gearhead & Track

“I prefer extra rod holders and track mount ones are really versatile; I can put them anywhere on the kayak that has gear track. The Scotty rod holders are really strong and well made.”

IG: @fishing_mario

Mario Perez - ACK Fishing Team Member

Bio: Mario lives in Corpus Christi and is an avid saltwater kayak fisherman and outdoor enthusiast. Pending the time of year, he is either out in the bay chasing trout and redfish or in the Gulf of Mexico trying to catch pelagics. One of Mario’s biggest accomplishments as a kayak fisherman is sharing the thrill of the sport with his kids. It can be humbling to get away from the, at times, competitive nature of the sport and see the excitement of kayaking on a child’s face that we sometimes lose sight of. Mario is looking forward to making new friends, catching more fish and making more memories in 2019.

Favorite Gear: Wilderness Systems Radar 135 I chose the Wilderness

“I love the Systems Radar 135 because of its ability to handle both small and big waters. You can paddle with ease in shallow or cover miles offshore with the helix pedal drive. Another great feature is having factory slide tracks all around the kayak, which makes it easy to customize with most accessories without having to drill or make any holes.”

IG: @claymark33

Mark Clay - ACK Fishing Team Member

Bio: Mark was born and raised in San Antonio, TX. His passion for fishing and the outdoors was sparked at a very young age when his family would vacation to Rockport and Port Aransas, TX as kids. Mark’s enthusiasm for fishing started at the Gulf Coast, chasing reds and trout and migrated to bass fishing shortly after. He is an avid kayak bass tournament angler while transitioning to saltwater kayak fishing every chance he gets. He has fished KATS for the past five years and holds several accomplishments in the series. When not spending time with his family, Mark is on the water all throughout the year. As a kayak angler, he enjoys the comradery as well as helping introduce others into the sport as others have done for him years ago. One of his favorite things is seeing new faces on the water!

Favorite Gear: YakAttack CellBlok Fish Finder Mount

” I really like how I can move it from one kayak to another without having to worry about a complicated installation. Then, when I am transporting my kayak I can store my fish finder in a safe place.”