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One on One with Chris Castro

One on One with Chris Castro

Chris Castro is the man behind the upcoming Pursuit TV show Next Level Fishing. As one of our YakGear Brand Ambassadors, we wanted to know what the deal is behind the big step to TV.

How did the show start? My friends and I kicked around the idea of creating a kayak fishing YouTube Channel in 2014. It was nothing serious at the time - just some good ol' Texas boys reeling and recording. The problem was that every trip seemed to get bigger and better each time we had the cameras rolling. We were releasing videos of us catching (and losing) big fish with a lead-in and a lead-out to the next episode. Two years went by and we got an invite to learn more about a television opportunity; I denied it. After three more inshore and two more offshore episodes, I got another call - same company. They talked us into it.

What is the show about? The YouTube version of the show is about traveling to nearby destinations and declaring a particular species as the goal. Even though the fish was the ultimate goal, it's always about much more than that. Our story is about kayak fishing and everything in between to get to that point. Some of our videos have ended in frustration and we don't mind telling that story because it's the reality.

When was it that you started to see a growing group of followers? Definitely within this past year. We started to really get approached a lot - grocery stores, gas stations, tackle shops, restaurants, etc. I even had someone yell out "Next Level Fishing" at the movie theater this year. We also had a chance to work a fishing and hunting expo and it was great to have folks drive all the way from the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, Austin, and a couple from Houston to say hello. I was extremely humbled by that.

What is one of your favorite moments from the show? The Mystery Fish! It's an old video of ours and to this day, I have no idea what fish I was looking at. It was big and broke off right at the yak. I still fish that spot every few months in hopes to get another crack at her.

What was one of the hardest fish to catch during the show?   This past year I caught a big spinner shark that took me on a two-hour battle. It felt like I blew out my lower back but everything checking out fine. I'm not sure why this fish fought as hard as it did, I've caught sharks just a few feet shorter with no problem - for some reason this spinner was really challenging.

How do you think making the jump from YouTube to TV will affect your show? Everything will be affected. We are now on a completely different playing field and we all understand that. Our YouTube channel will transition into becoming a byproduct of the show. If a particular fan does not have the Pursuit Channel, they will still be able to see glimpses of the show and full 8-minute fishing adventures that might not have made the cut to television. Our social media is still going to play a huge part in our success.

What are your goals for the show in 2017?   I could write a book on goals for 2017 but I know we don't have time for that. A few of them would be to build our identity this year. So NLF- TV is going to be about capturing the hidden treasures of a particular territory. Our first season is projected to air late summer 2017 and will highlight Texas kayak fishing. This show is not going to be about invading someone's honey hole. It's about showing kayak anglers where to go for that next level fishing experience. Another goal this year would be to properly represent the sport. Kayak fishing is growing faster than anticipated and, while a good thing, it can also be bad. In my area alone folks are packing up and going without proper safety checks and sadly we have lost a few in recent years. A lot of bad things are happening in this sport that you don't hear about and I intend on doing my part locally and nationally to spread some safety knowledge. It's all fun and games until you lose someone you know, which is why I'm inspired to do what it takes to help produce the proper mindset for future kayak anglers. For more on Chris or the upcoming TV show, check out the Next Level Fishing Facebook Page.

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