Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Q&A with Cortland Pro Staffer Andrew Ragas

Andrew Ragas
Cortland Pro Staff
Fishing Headquarters and Ragas Fishing
Phone: 708-256-2201
E-mail: andrew@fishing-headquarters.com

Andrew, tell me a little about what you're fishing for most of the time? What's you favorite species to target?

I fish for most freshwater species I have access to. But most of the time I am fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, and muskies - these are undoubtedly my favorites and my specialties. I tend to dedicate the bulk of my spring and summer months to bass while early summer through late fall go to muskies.

I fish for other species as well which includes walleyes, northern pike, panfish, river redhorse and other cool looking assorted sucker species. To best describe my angling mentality, I am a multi-species angler and couldn't imagine it any other way. Occasionally I will dabble with coldwater fishes such as trout and salmon throughout the Great Lakes region whether it's on the lakes or their feeder tributaries.

With three websites, you must have to spend a lot of time out on the water to get enough content - does fishing ever feel like a job to you?

When there isn't any ice on the lakes, I spend a lot of time on the water, probably more than I normally should. May through October I put in close to 70-80 days on the water primarily in Northern Wisconsin where I fish most often. If not up north, another 20 to 40 days are added throughout the Great Lakes and rivers of the Northern Illinois region.

The two websites I have are Fishing-Headquarters.com and Ragasfishing.com. Fishing-Headquarters started out as my personal homepage in 2005 that quickly drew a large following with fan base. We've since grown into an online fishing publication (bi-monthly/seasonal magazine) that caters to multi-species fishing. I do web and graphic design to make a living therefore I am allowed to combine my talents and skills which then translates into my passion for fishing. We typically run 5 to 6 issues per calendar year. Besides the magazine, we have a web format site with videos, articles, product reviews, blogs, angling promotions and other informational content. Luckily this site isn't a one-man show as I have a great group of friends who help and contribute content to the cause.

Meanwhile, my personal site Ragasfishing.com is used to showcase myself, my accomplishments, and what I do within the industry. I use it as an influential platform to highlight and promote my sponsors and supporters, write about products I use, and archive my published articles, photos, and other fishing related media.

Nowadays, fishing and everything I do within it feels like a secondary day job. Some nights I'm up late writing articles, trying to meet publisher and personal deadlines. Then I have to fit in time on the water to field test products and hopefully catch fish for my own personal enjoyment. Even though fishing doesn't fully pay the bills yet, I'd say fishing is more of a personal responsibility rather than a job. Luckily my real day job of being a designer helps support my fishing addiction, and gives me the luxury of being able to travel to wherever and fish almost whenever I want.

I'm sure you've experienced some crazy things out on the water...what is the craziest thing that has happened to you while fishing?

The craziest things I encounter is while slinging musky baits. Throughout Wisconsin I frequently have Loons follow my baits back to boatside, and literally follow me around the lake. Those birds are annoying opportunistic feeders for sure, and unafraid. Their aggression has, on occasion, driven me off the lake and forced me to fish elsewhere.

When did you start using Cortland Products? What is the Cortland product that you use the most?

I began using Cortland products in 2009. As I grew more into musky fishing, Spectron was the primary line I started to use. I loved it. Since then I've expanded to Masterbraid. I love it even more.

Now a days I primarily use Masterbraid for my muskies and pike. For my bass fishing, I use Camo most often and for walleyes and panfish, I fish with Endurance.

Of all my rods and reels (I have too many to count), about half are spooled with Masterbraid while most of the others are with Camo.

How do you feel about Cortland's new direction and trying to reestablish themselves as a top line manufacturer?

As a website and graphic designer, I think it's fantastic the company is trying to build a stronger presence on the web through social media and the pending new website. These tools will increase sales, help promote product and bring traffic into the company. I am excited for the new website and cannot wait to see it. However, don't be surprised to hear some designer critiques from me!

When the ownership group changed during summer 2012, I thought that was a great positive step towards the future and success of the company. Being a part of the Cortland family and this transition towards the future, I hope to contribute significantly through my media, communication, and fishing skills. 

Thanks, Andrew. Cortland loves having you on board as one of the Pro Staff members. Is there anything else you'd like to add? Thanks!

For the future, I would like to see Cortland expand its line of monofilaments and copolymers like certain other companies are with their introduction of hybrid lines, sun lines, and specialty tech. advanced lines.... P-Line is one such example, as is Seaguar and Berkley.

Another thing would be the introduction of Cortland Fluorocarbon. Fluoro is extremely important for all things fishing, and is a huge player nowadays for walleyes and bass. Spools of quality fluorocarbon in varying test strengths would benefit all freshwater fishermen and be useful tools for people using braid, fishing fluoro as-is, or using it for leader materials and live bait snells. 

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