PRO ANGLER & TOURNAMENT CHAMP SHARES HIS FISHING SUCCESS SECRETS

Craig won a fishing derby recently. Here he is with a lemon shark, sitting in his Sea Eagle 285fpb, the boat he uses in fishing competitions and tournaments.
Craig won a fishing derby recently. Here he is with a leopard shark, sitting in his Sea Eagle® 285fpb, the boat he uses in fishing competitions and tournaments.

Craig Adkinson was stationed in Iraq as a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corp. After leaving the military, he started working as a Mechanical Assembly Lead for a major oil company. But on the weekends, he says, “I’m just a fisherman!”

But Craig’s being modest. He’s a tournament fisherman; a Pro Staff Fisherman and Pro Angler who’s sponsored by many well known fishing equipment companies. He caught the largest trout in California last year. He just won a Float Fishing Derby. Craig gives fishing seminars and his fishing experiences have been written up in California Sportsman magazine, Western Outdoors News, and on the Big Fishes of the World website.

So when Craig said, “This Sea Eagle® 285fpb is the best boat I’ve ever had,” this was one guy we had to talk to. Here’s his story.

“Fishing is my passion. I love it. The first time I went fishing, I was three years old and in diapers. I go fishing every chance I get. If I get in a boat without a fishing pole, there’s something wrong. I fish all over California — Irvine Lake, Corona Lake, up into the Sierras, all over. Anywhere I can take a boat, I go fishing.

“I used a dropper loop setup with a straight 30 single hook and stinger hook.”

Craig pimped-out his 285 for tournaments with a crate in the bow. He uses it for extra gear he uses in competitions.
Craig pimped-out his 285fpb for tournaments with a crate in the bow. He uses it for the extra gear he uses in competitions.

I recently participated in the Float Tube Derby in Dana Point Harbor in Dana Point, California. I caught the biggest fish of the day — a 53” leopard shark – and won first prize.

Fishing for lemon shark, you hope you get lucky and just hang on! I used a 20 to 30 lb. test setup and a conventional rod and reel with what you’d call a dropper loop setup. From there, I ran a straight 30 single hook with a stinger hook. For bait, I used live sardines and mackerel.

When I go up against other fishermen in competitions, I need every advantage to win. I have a couple boats but for tournaments I use my Sea Eagle® 285fpb Frameless Pontoon Fishing Boat. I chose it for the fishing advantages it gives me. It works with many different fishing techniques like drop shot, using mini jigs, bass fishing, looking for spawning fish, and more. I can stand up in my 285fpb and that’s a big advantage: I can spot fish in the water using UV sunglasses. And it also gives me the option of using it seated, as a float tube boat.

“The 285’s a great fishing setup – best I’ve had.”

Here's another look at Craig's 285. He's ready to win with rod holders, swivel seat, net, California "license plate," trolling motor, and oars "just in case."
Here’s another look at Craig’s 285fpb. He’s ready to win with rod holders, swivel seat, net, California “license plate,” trolling motor, and oars “just in case.”


The Sea Eagle® 285fpb is a great fishing setup. The rod holders are easily accessible. It’s easy to use for bait fishing and lure fishing. Sometimes I do both. I put one rod for bait fishing in a rod holder, then I’ll throw out a lure on another rod. I keep an eye on my bait rod while I stand up to cast lures. In California, you need to pay for a rod stamp license for each rod you’re using.

I customized my Sea Eagle® 285fpb Frameless Pontoon Fishing Boat for tournaments. I built a deck out of plywood, covered it with AstroTurf™, and mounted an egg crate on top. I attached rod holders to the crate. I use the crate to hold my fishing backpack, tackle box, my gaff, net, and more.

“I’m out fishing while others are still waiting at the launch ramp.”

I like Sea Eagle® inflatable boats because they’re easy to transport and you don’t have to deal with the headache of a boat launch ramp. There’ll be 15 or 20 guys waiting to launch their boats off their trailers. I can just drive to the free parking lot and free launch area and pull my 285fpb out of the back of my truck. I throw my trolling motor on it and start fishing while the others are still waiting to launch. It’s a quick and easy way to get out on the water and have great day fishing.

I’ve tried a lot of boats and this is the best I’ve ever had. Quality? On a scale of one to 10, I’d give the 285fpb a 9.5. It’s quality boat at a good price. The gear that comes with the setup can’t be beat. The tube material is thick and high quality; you don’t have to worry if you bump into a rock or whatever. It holds its own. I like that you can stand up in it; I feel safer in it than in other boats. From a safety point of view, it’s 100%. I feel a lot safer in this boat than in some of the others on the market.

“Thinking about getting one? Just do it.”

Craig's not just fooling around. Here is is with a 20.3 lb. trout he pulled from the Santa Anna River.
Craig’s not just fooling around. Here is is with a 20.3 lb. trout he pulled from the Santa Anna River.

If you’re thinking about getting this boat, just do it. It’s less expensive than others but if you need to save up for it, do it. It’s worth the money. It’s the best fishing boat I’ve used and it’s worth it to buy the right one the first time. I have friends who have other brands. They’ve seen what I can do with this boat and now they want to sell theirs to get one like mine.”

— Craig Adkinson,Pro Angler, Sea Eagle® 285fpb owner

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