The old saying says a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work, but what would result if you could somehow combine a day on the water with a day in the office?
Three avid Lafayette kayakers decided to give it a try when they filmed their most recent fishing video dressed in formal business attire (including suits, ties, vests and hats purchased from Goodwill) as they pursued redfish in the marsh near Fourchon.
“I think I spent $17 for the three-piece suit,” said Brent Domingue, one-third of Team Hooked onYak along with friends Shane Curole and Trevor Braun. “I looked like Don Draper. They asked me if I was selling insurance at the launch.”
Whatever the subject of the video is, the goal is always the same - to promote their love of the sport through filming unique and creative fishing trips.
“We’re just a group of close friends who had been fishing together for quite some time before we got kayaks, then we bought kayaks and just fell head over heels for the sport and what it symbolizes,” Domingue said. “Being out there one with nature and being in a boat that runs off of gas station crackers and Gatorade.
“All we’re ever doing is trying to make people aware of what a great sport we’re involved in, what little up front investment it takes, and how much fun you can have doing it. From enjoying being out on the water to having very intense, up close and personal fights with redfish and trout.”
Domingue, a petroleum land man who negotiates oil and gas contracts, said the idea to fish in suits came from Braun’s daily attire as a district manager for Physicians Mutual Insurance.
“I’m a Polo and jeans guy, and Trevor pretty much has to wear a suit every single day for work,” he said. “And the idea was we should go fishing in those suits, and make it a joke to where if only work was this much fun.”
The video was filmed over two trips in March and May near Fourchon, and Domingue said the looks they got from other anglers while shooting made it even more fun.
“The best was some guys went and checked on Trevor. They thought he was lost at sea. They were worried about him,” he said with a chuckle. “They said, ‘You look a little out of place. We didn’t know if you needed to be rescued or brought back somewhere.’ He was like, ‘No. I’m good - just fishing.’”
Domingue, who edits most of the footage the trio shoots on nine GoPro Hero3 Black Edition cameras, also gives free seminars at Pack & Paddle in Lafayette on putting together entertaining fishing videos.
Team Hooked on Yak tries to pack in as many action shots as absolutely possible, and Domingue said that usually means less time featuring just reeling in fish.
“Unfortunately, the angler doesn’t understand the viewer doesn’t share the same passion as they did when they were fighting that fish,” he said. “Our goal was to make action-packed fishing videos. Fishing videos that we wanted to watch, including lots of topwater blowups, lots of ‘in-your-face’ footage and just stuff that we hadn’t seen in past videos we had looked up.”
Since the group started posting videos a couple of years ago, they’ve managed to strike up working relationships with K2 coolers, H&H lures, Outdoor Performance Apparel, Acadiana Outfitters, Duce rods, GoPro and Pack & Paddle.
“That’s our big main goal: To promote kayak fishing locally and to promote local companies,” Domingue said. “We’re really passionate about what we do.”
And now that means more than just making fun fishing videos, even though they received the GoPro Viewer's Choice Award for a video they submitted at last year's Ride the Bull kayak tournament in Grand Isle.
With Curole’s help, Team Hooked on Yak sponsored the first annual Fish the Bayou tournament in Larose last October to benefit the Dusty Richardel Memorial Foundation, a non-profit organization the group set up to create scholarship opportunities for high school graduates in Grand Isle and Lafourche parish who are pursuing vocational work.
“It was the weekend they had a hurricane and called for a full evacuation of Grand Isle,” he said. “We were still able to raise $20,000 in scholarship funds.”
Students apply, and those selected receive scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,000, he said.
This year’s tournament is slated for Saturday, Oct. 4.
“It’s designed for the kid who maybe doesn’t want to go to college, but doesn’t have funds to start up his dream of being a diesel mechanic or a carpenter,” Domingue said. “That’s where we step in and pay for it.”
Fishing-wise, Domingue estimates more than 90 percent of the redfish and trout Team Hooked on Yak catches on all their videos were caught walking the dog with Rapala Skitter Walk topwater lures in gold mullet.
And even though the suits from their last video were a little warm, even earlier this spring, they didn’t smell like sweat and redfish for long.
“We took the suits, had them professionally laundered and re-donated them back to Goodwill,” he said.