A Little Background…


This isn’t some made up movie script, or a string of loophole events to claim some fancy bragging rights. Between 2017-2021 a select group of kayak anglers accomplished a historic task that we may never see again. First wind of the story was published by Kayak Angler Magazine “Why You Need To Trade In Your Boat For A Kayak”. The journey would continue under the radar leading to a 4-year streak of back-to-back wins and podiums challenging both inshore and offshore power boats on their kayaks. It all came to an end over the weekend December 4th, 2021, at 4:00 pm versus top tier professional competition against boats throughout the journey that would cost as much as a million dollars.  

The Dudes…

Chris Castro:
Corpus Christi, Texas

James Shurko: San Antonio, Texas

Poco Cedillo: Robstown, Texas

Ram Garcia: Robstown, Texas

Chris Marek: San Antonio, Texas

Dustin Nicholas: Victoria, Texas


David vs. Goliath

This classic David versus Goliath story would happen by accident during a Private Club event in Corpus Christi, Texas. An event where high stakes boaters hired guides in a local fishing tournament. Chris Castro would win his first tournament on his kayak against those boaters. One year later, the Saltwater Angler Tournament Series puts on an offshore tournament and thanks a small 3-man kayak fishing team (James Shurko, Chris Marek, Chris Castro) in contributing to the pot. They would win with a “They got lucky” label.

A year later during a cold winter, another challenge from kayak anglers (Chris Castro, Dustin Nichols, Poco Cedillo, Ram Garcia) would be mocked by the best trout anglers Texas had to offer. They would miraculously cash a 3rd place check plus the Calcutta, stunning both industries in disbelief. This streak would end the following year with the 7th largest trout and 25th heaviest stringer against 43 of the best trout guides and professionals.


Chris Castro of the ACK Fishing Team ends in this…

Challenging those $100k plus boats in kayaks and taking wins both inshore and offshore in an elite series isn’t a movie script, it has happened and yesterday after a 4-year run of back-to-back wins and podiums, Goliath finally struck down David.

Preparing for the Artificial Showdown Tournament was mentally challenging for many reasons. Our best 4 trout pre-fishing numbers exceeded the 20lb mark twice with our low end around 18lbs. For those of you who don’t understand those numbers, it means we had a chance to podium once again. The last week and a half, the environment changed our average taking a 4lb dump due to December feeling like summer all over again. Despite those challenges, a last-minute decision was made on my behalf after a 16lb estimate with many big girls still in the water. The game plan which I won’t discuss here was executed flawlessly by some of the best trout anglers I know in the kayak industry. Poco Cedillo, Ram Garcia, and I planned exactly where we knew our kicker (big trout) would be, and where to finish with our mid-range average trout.


Tournament Day…

In this tournament against this caliber of competition, every team is fluctuating similar weights, it’s just a matter if today is going to be a 20lb day like yesterday. Often the difference between an elite average and an elite champion is a mere 1.50lb avg, and not just us…the entire field. I could say we are against the odds, but between you reading this and I, we aren’t. We have cashed a check here before, and we average championship weight very often. With that being said, we take our loss with pride against incredible trout anglers who do it professionally.


This year we landed middle of the pack with a deduction penalty. Without it we would have done even better. Our biggest trout landed top 7 not including deduction. My 4-year streak comes to an end, but who am I kidding… I can’t continue to win against those odds without tasting some humble pie eventually. Cheers to everyone who has taken part of that streak with me, and never forget it, because while many will attempt to replicate it, it will never be duplicated. 

Shoutout to Billy Mcneil and Alex Guerra Gulf Coast Weighmaster Services for putting on yet another professional event. We appreciate all the hard work, see you all next year.

Austin Kayak | NRS Fishing | Old Town Canoes & Kayaks | YakGear | RAILBLAZA | Berleypro | Kayak Angler Magazine | Saltwater Angler Magazine

Chris Castro


ACK Fishing Team