This week, we got a chance to catch up with Joe Okada, professional walleye fisherman, father, and Smooth Moves fan. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, he’s been tournament fishing professionally for 15 years and fished in the MWC, AIM, and NWT walleye circuits. He currently competes on the H2H Pro Walleye Series. We asked Joe his thoughts on fishing and why he loves Smooth Moves Seats.
Smooth Moves: Joe, I’m curious: what does a day out on the water look like for you?
Joe: Long! I try to maximize as much time as I can. Typically, I’m averaging 8-12 hours a day on the water, unless my daughter is with me. Otherwise, I’m out there as long as possible.
Smooth Moves: Have you always been comfortable on the water?
Joe: Since day one, I’ve been fascinated by water. Whether I’m near a small creek or in the middle of one of the Great Lakes, I love being around water.
When I was a kid, my mom, dad, and grandpa really allowed my fascination with water and fishing to develop. They saw I had latched on it, and supported my desire to be out there. They’ve always encouraged me to pursue fishing, in whatever capacity I wanted to.
Smooth Moves: That’s so incredible.
Joe: You know, some people have that ingrained in them from a young age — something makes them want to be on the water all the time. And everybody has a different reason: some people find it gratifying to increase their knowledge base. For others, it’s a meditation, how they maintain sanity. But the pull to the water can be very strong.
Smooth Moves: What is your favorite type of fish to go for?
Joe: Walleye. Absolutely. I love the diversity of tactics used to catch them. They have such an unpredictable nature. They’re tricky and I like the challenge. With walleye, you can’t count on how you caught them yesterday to catch them today.
Smooth Moves: You’ve been a Smooth Moves fan for awhile! What do you love about our seats?
Joe: I love Smooth Moves Seats. Out on big water, if your timing isn’t perfect or a big set of waves sneaks up on you, they’re a blessing. Impacts will wear a body down over time. And we travel thousands of miles on the water every year, thousands of wave impacts, it’s so important to give your body a cushion. It definitely prolongs your time out there.
Smooth Moves: Which seat do you have: the Air or the Ultra?
Joe: I have two Airs. I love the ability to customize the cushion setting with the push of a button.
Smooth Moves: What’s one of your favorite tidbits for fishers?
Joe: I really enjoy casting swimbaits for walleyes. The way walleyes eat them is different from how they eat other baits and it’s really gratifying to catch them like that. It’s vulnerable and real, really a distinct bite. Swimbaits are one of the most versatile baits on the market — it’s fun to figure out how a walleye will want to eat it.
Smooth Moves: What’s an activity you love outside of fishing?
Joe: Preparing and visualizing for my next fishing trip! I anticipate what the trip will be like and research where I’m going to, the different scenarios I might encounter. Every time is different because fish are never the same. It’s like looking into a crystal ball – I try to make an educated guess so I’m prepared once I’m out there.
Smooth Moves: Anything exciting coming up?
Joe: Next, I’m heading out to Nebraska to Lake McConaughy. I’ve never been out there, so I’m spending my evenings researching the lake, how I might fish, and getting everything prepared. Sometimes prepping for the trip is just as much, or more fun than the trip itself!
Smooth Moves: What’s one thing you’ve enjoyed over the past year?
Joe: This year, I’ve fished a lot in new water. That’s one thing that keeps me going — looking at new water for the first time. It’s such a fun challenge to be somewhere that you’ve never been and to try and establish a solid pattern for that place.
And I have loved my Smooth Moves Seats. Comfort and confidence that you can maximize your time on the water is huge. If at the end of the day you’re fatigued and hurting, then your experience isn’t as fun. And we all want to have fun out on the water!
You can follow Joe’s adventures on the Head2Head Fishing Pro Walleye Series!
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