#TBT – Jim Sammons Anchors the Werner Team | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
Old boat, old gear, the same Werner Paddle and the now famous hat. Old boat, old gear, the same Werner Paddle and the now famous hat.

A look into the past, at the start of modern kayak fishing.

For Volume 3 of Werner Paddle's "Throwback Thursday" series, they looked back to 2004-2005, a full decade, to their first official kayak fishing team paddler: Jim Sammons. Read the full story of good times and big fish below:

For those that may not be in the know, Jim Sammons is a San Diego native and certified fish and game and IGFA licensed guide where he runs La Jolla Kayak Fishing Adventures. Some may choose to open a discussion on his exact place in the history of the sport, but it is without a doubt he needs to be, and is in most circles, mentioned as one the pioneers of the modern sport of kayak fishing.

With 20 years experience under his belt and an infectious positive attuitude his popularity has found himself pulled away from the shores of California more and more and off traveling for his TV series, the Kayak Fishing Show, with Jim Sammons.  That aside he remains just a fun guy to be around always looking to happily and energetically share some stories, even if with some odd ball SUP racers and white water boaters from Werner Paddles during a recent video shoot.

Jim Sammons body 11

In 2012, Jim partnerned with Jackson Kayaks. One of his initial plans was to help them round out their kayak fishing line with an ocean going, fast paddling boat that suited his, and many anglers, styles. His design interaction landed us the Kraken.


When we approached him about this piece he sais he had a funny story to share about the first fishing paddle he had gotten from us to try out, just prior to joining the team as our first official kayak team paddler.

"Ok, so here’s my 'Gimme back my Werner,' story," Sammons said. "Before I began with Werner Paddles I was using a pretty high end Ultra light paddle from a custom paddle maker. It was a great paddle and just sooooo lightweight.

The first paddle I used from Werner was the Kaliste and just fell in love with it.   But I could never really put my finger on what it was that made me like it so much more.  It was not as light as my current paddle, I mean it was light, but there was something to it that made it paddle much better.

Jim Sammons body 22

So one day I was out on the water with a good friend of mine, Paul Lebowitz, editor of Kayak Fish magazine. He had not had a chance to use a Werner yet, so when he asked to give it a go I happily tossed it over and took his.  He just happened to have a paddle exactly like my old one.

When I made the switch, it all came together.  The buoyant blades of the Kalliste had such a light and lively feeling.  The smooth back face was quieter. Paul’s paddle was still light, but the blades were not the same, they just felt dead in my hands as they stroked the water. 

I made him give me back my Kaliste immediately. Today, after many happy years with Werner I have some nice spare paddles. So now when friends ask to try out my Werner I toss them my extra Kaliste so that I don't have to give up mine."

Thanks to Jim for his years of support and above all friendship. It is an honor to have him stand up and speak so highly of our paddles. As he brought us more into the mix a decade ago, we made more contacts. Cory "Ruthless" Ruth from, Virginia Beach, next joined the team and with an east coast and west coast voice, the great paddling paddles Werner had built for years were now making their way into hands of smart anglers everywhere.

To catch more fish, you need to use less energy and paddle more. Today we have an amazing pro-staff around the USA and with the launch of the Hooked line in 2013 we are bringing our mission, "A great fishing paddle is a great paddling paddle," to more and more anglers.

Jim Sammons body 33

Although Jim may have been our first modern day kayak fishing team paddler, this photo from 1975 shows that we have been fishing from kayaks for a LONG time. Here, Werner Jr. trolls for salmon during a family camping trip in 1975.

Learn more history as we celebrate 50 years of handcrafting paddles, still here in Sultan, Wa USA, on our website.

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