The Feelfree US family of brands has over 60 Team Members throughout the nation. You've probably seen us feature their pictures on social media, had a question answered on one of the group pages or perhaps crossed paths at a local tournament. In this series we ask a collection of questions to help you get to know them a little better.
Featured Team Member: Kodi Bowers
Location: Cheney, Washington
Public Profile: Instagram & Facebook
Photos by: Resident Photographer, Colby Sexton
Tell us a bit about yourself...I’m a 36 year old father of 2 (11 year old girl and 9 year old boy). I served in the United States Marine Corps as an infantryman and did a tour in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. During my time in the Marines, I was injured in combat and received a Purple Heart. After my exit from service I decided to go back to school and I now hold 2 degrees, one in Biology and the other in Wildlife & Fisheries.
I have been fishing since I was a kid and remember fondly going to the pond and creek on my family’s farm and catching bass with my grandmother. Needless to say, fishing has always been a big passion and part of my life. When I’m not fishing you can find me doing something else outdoors, whether it be hiking, camping, hunting or working on my wildlife photography.
I first got started in kayak fishing after I got out of the Marines when I decided to take up fly fishing and I was a participant with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, from there, I heard about the non-profit Heroes On the Water (HOW). Eventually I would go on to start my own chapter of HOW in my area with a childhood friend and USMC veteran where I served as Assistant Chapter Coordinator for many years. Today I continue to help and serve veterans within my profession as a Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist for the State of Maryland.
What Feelfree Kayak(s) do you own and why did you choose those models?
Currently I own a FeelFree Lure 11.5, Moken v2 12.5, FeelFree Lure tandem, FeelFree Dorado, and a 3 Waters Big Fish 105 (my daughter’s). My main kayaks are the Lure 11.5 and Moken. These are interchangeable depending on the type of water I choose to fish. If I go to the river I will take the Lure for the extra stability, and if I hit a lake or need to cover ground quickly, I will take the Moken.
Because I have multiple boats, I like accessories that I can quickly interchange between them. All of my accessories and mounts utilize the Feelfree UNI- Track system to ease this process. However, I do have a Torqueedo 1103 mounted on the Moken. My son enjoys riding the tandem and fishing while I control the kayak and navigate the waterways.
What do you enjoy most about kayak fishing?
What I enjoy most about kayak fishing is the ability to fish water that was previously unfishable. You can go where boats can’t. I cannot tell you how many times I have been fishing within 20 yards of a bass boat and been pulling out fish after fish because the boat simply could not get to where I was. I also enjoy the serenity and solitude that it can bring. In a world where it is all about the noise and hustle and bustle, there is something calming about being in a kayak and not hearing a sound.
What kind of fishing do you prefer and describe some of your most fished waters
Typically my type of fishing consists of targeting Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass as well as Northern Snakeheads. The snakeheads have spoiled me in a way and if that's what I am targeting, I spend 75% minimum using topwater lures. There is something special to be said about seeing a 10lb+ Northern Snakehead chasing your hollow body frog within feet of the kayak and exploding on it with such a surge of power. The Potomac River is typically where you can find me when targeting LMB and Snakehead or if I want to target SMB I will choose the Susquehanna River. Within the past 2 years however, I have really tried to expand and have begun targeting species in the Chesapeake Bay to include Sea Trout and Reds.
What’s in your kayak fishing gear box (lures, rods, reels, safety, tools, snacks, good luck charms, etc.)?
This varies depending on what I am targeting but I am always over-packing. I will always have a box dedicated to topwater no matter what, but also bring everything from jigs to swim baits and paddle tails, to chatterbaits, cranks, finesse baits, etc. Really, the more I can fit in my box the better. I like to be prepared for any situation. As far as rod and reel selection, that will be dependent on the species I am targeting and the type of water I am fishing. However one of my go-to rods is typically my custom build from Calusa Custom Rods paired with my Shimano SLX. And of course I always have my PFD (Astral Sturgeon) with me as well as a whistle and knife.
Any tips or advice you can offer those getting into kayak fishing?
I think the best advice I can offer to someone who is looking to get into kayak fishing is to decide what type of fishing you want to do before anything else. The water you fish and the species you target will determine everything from kayak selection to gear selection. Get comfortable doing that, then branch off and expand.
Tell us about your kayak fishing tournament roster if you have one (big wins, etc.).
Years ago I was heavily involved in the kayak fishing tournament scene and have placed in the top 3 as well as won a few during my time, but have not seriously competed in quite some time. I will still compete in the occasional tournament such as the annual YakAttack tournament, but the majority of my time is spent taking my kids fishing and really enjoying this time with them while they are still little.
We’ve heard you also like to duck hunt from your kayak. Why don’t you tell us a little more about that?
When my passion for fishing ends, my passion for waterfowl hunting begins. During the cold winter months I will hang up the rods and bring out the decoys. Most of the time you can find me on the Potomac or Susquehanna Rivers, targeting ducks and geese. I do all of this from my kayak and use the YakGear kayak blind, dressed out with raffia grass and have had tremendous success. Not only do you have to be conscious of your decoy spread, but you have to maintain a level of cover, while adding in calling and on top of that being mindful of the current on the river. The first time you see a group of ducks or geese in the distance and they fully commit to you there is a euphoria that comes over you and a sense of accomplishment like no other. Be on the lookout for an upcoming blog about waterfowl hunting from my Moken soon.
Written by Kodi Bowers, Feelfree US Pro Staff Team Member
Edited by Bobby Ulrich, Feelfree US Pro Staff Team Member