In 1980 JAY WATKINS took his first client fishing. Little did he know that from that day forward the morning spent on Copano Bay, just north of Rockport, Texas would change his direction in line forever. It's true that Jay had a love for fishing that was instilled in him by his Father and Grandfather, but to actually make a career from fishing; it never entered his mind. In the early 80's the GCCA (Gulf Coast Conservation Association) was just getting started. With their focus on protecting Game Fish species Jay's timing could not have been orchestrated any better. Jay makes his home in the small but fast growing coastal town of Rockport, Texas. Have you ever spoken with anyone familiar with Texas fishing and waterfowl hunting that was not familiar with Rockport. Jay has lived in Rockport his entire life. Jay enjoys his two boys Jay Ray and Ryan both of which are accomplished anglers in their own rights. "It's just breath taking to be out there watching them enjoy and love the things I do," Jay has been quoted as saying. If you have ever seen them on the Texas Trout Masters or Red Fish Cup Events you would know that they are 3 peas in a pod.
Jay has enjoyed many successes in his career, none more dear to him than watching his boys follow in his footsteps. While Jay Ray stays close and works as a guide in Rockport, Ryan has headed off to Stephen F. Austin, pursuing a degree in kinesiology. Along the way Ryan started competing in the Colliegiate Bass Fishing Tournament Circuit. Ryan is the 2008/2009 President of the schools bass fishing club. Ryan has won 3 Bass tournaments already and continues to keep his eyes set on a BASS MASTERS CLASSIC win someday. In 2010 Ryan and partner Andrew Upshaw won the B.A.S.S COLLEGE NATIONAL TITLE, the second in SFA SCHOOL HISTORY. I watched the final days weigh-in on TV and cannot begin to express how proud I am of him. Ryan has since graduated, married and has his first child, a daughter named Raylee Jay. Life is coming full circle. Jay is a leader in the sport fishing industry. Jay is a student of the game; his FISH SMART FISHING SEMINARS are some of the best saltwater seminars on the market today and have been for the past 15 years. Jay has toured every major city in Texas promoting fishing through his seminars and as a guest speaker for an endless list of conservation associations, tackle dealers and private corporations. Jay has even been hired on numerous occasions as an inspirational speaker at local High Schools and businesses. Jay is revered as one of the BEST teachers in the industry today.
Jay is also the owner of jaywatkins.com, a WEB SITE that offers weekly Game Plans for anglers wishing to visit the Rockport area. A Game Plan is seven days of Jay's fishing, with detailed advice on WHERE, WHY, WHEN and HOW to find and catch fish in and around Rockport. Jay just might be the ONLY guide on the entire Gulf Coast willing to tell everyone exactly where he is fishing each and every day. Jay is also the owner of the JAY WATKINS FISHING CLUB. This exclusive FISHING CLUB is available to members only at a cost of 895.00 per year, sounds expensive, Jay sold his limited club memberships out in less than 36 hours the first year and has had sell outs for the entire 12 years that the club has been in existence. This is a testimony to Jay's reputation as a guide and a person.
In 2007 Jay started producing his own VIDEOS with the help of good friend and webmaster Ken Vestal. Note, without Ken NONE of the items you see on the website would be possible. Jay has stated many times that his business would not have grown like it has the past 6 years without Ken's help and dedication. Jay currently has 18 videos on-line and in Tackle stores in Rockport and Aransas Pass for sale at this time. The videos are an ongoing project, as times change fishing patterns change. Jay takes you with him through these changes from year to year. The videos are a must if you're serious about becoming a better angler.
Jay is the author of the ASK THE PRO articles in the no. 1 selling Texas Saltwater Magazine. Jay has published over 312 articles in his career so far. The magazine is for sell in Academy, Cabela's, Bass Pro, Walmart and just about any other location you can think of in Texas.
On the tournament scene Jay's accomplishments run deep. To list a few, Jay has won three Trout Master events, the only Texas Pro to win back-to-back victories in a single season. He has also won the prestigious Trout Masters Classic Event. This is the Top 100 anglers of the season event. Jay has won two CCA Mid-Coast Guide Cup Championships, two Saltwater Angler Guide Cups, again back-to back victories. Two Baffin Bay Big Trout Bash victories, again back-to-back. In Jay's FIRST Baffin Bay Bash he set an all-time record for the heaviest stringer weighed in ALIVE. In two days he weighed in trout weighing, 9 lbs. 10 oz., 9lbs. 2 oz., 8lbs 14 oz and 7lbs 14 oz. All of these fish are still alive today in a research hatchery in Corpus Christi, Texas. Jay and his son and partner in tournaments recently won the 2004 AMERICAN ROD SMITHS TROTU MASTER and the Port Aransas I.F.A. RED FISH TOUR EVENT. Jay finished 2nd over-all in the I.F.A. TEXAS DRAW EVENTS in 2004, which qualified them for the I.F.A. CLASSIC. Jay along with partner Jim Franklin finished 32nd over-all in the ESPN RED FISH CUP SERIES in 2004. A blown engine in the final event of the year cost them a birth in the CLASSIC. Jay has won many other local tournaments throughout his career.
Jay will be starting his 35th season as a Full Time saltwater fishing guide in the year 2014. Plans are to still fish 250, he fished 290 in 2013 plus days as well as return to the Texas Tournament trail for a few red fish series events. Might even jump into a few of the trout tournaments if time allows. These events are in the winter which is my biggest trout season so my calendar is typically completely full.
Jay's sponsors include, HAYNIE CUSTOM BOATS, CHRIS'S MARINE in Aransas Pass, Texas, MERCURY OUTBOARD MOTORS and APPAREL, HENRI CUSTOM RODS, QUANTUM FISHING REELS, BASS ASSASSIN LURE MANUFACTORS, L&S BAIT COMPANY, CUSTOM CORKY, MUSTAD HOOKS, MAINSTREAM MARKETING, FOREVER LAST HUNTING AND FISHING PRODUCTS, POWER PRO BRAIDED FISHING LINES, SIMMS OUTDOOR PRODUCTS, COSTA DEL MAR SUNGLASSES, TERRY'S SEA WORTHYMARINE, MOTOR GUIDE TROLLING MOTORS, GARMIN DEPTH FINDER and GPS, COASTAL TRAILERS , POWER POLE and BAGLEY SPOONS.
Jay's list of accomplishments is long and includes 27 1st place wins another 29 top 5 finishes. Jay has finished in the TOP 10 on 27 other occasions in his career as well.
- 1984- Larry's Tackle Town Tournament CHAMPION
- 1987- Dallas Night Club Tournament CHAMPION
- 1987- Tackle Town Red Fish Division CHAMPION
- 1988- 2nd Annual Bobbies Bait and Tackle Big Trout Tournament CHAMPION
- 1990- MID-Coast Guide Cup CHAMPION
- 1990- Port O Connor Big Trout Tournament CHAMPION
- 1993- Mid Coast Guide Cup CHAMPION
- 1997- Saltwater Angler Guide Cup CHAMPION
- 1997- Texas Women's Red Fish Rodeo 4TH Place
- 1998- Saltwater Angler GUIDE CUP CHAMPION
- 1998- Gulf Coast Trout Master Classic CHAMPION
- 1999- Port O Connor Trout Masters 3rd Place
- 1999- Galveston Trout Master 5th Place
- 2000- Matagorda Trout Master 4th Place
- 2000- Rockport Trout Master 2nd Place
- 2000- Sabine Pass Trout Masters 2nd Place
- 2000- Port O Connor Trout Masters 4th Place
- 2001- Rockport Trout Masters 4th Place
- 2001- Port Mansfield Trout Master Shimano Open CHAMPION
- 2001- Port O Connor Trout Masters Cut-rate Open CHAMPION
- 2001- Galveston Trout Masters Summit Steel Open 5th Place
- 2003- Baffin Bay Big Trout Bash CHAMPION
- 2003- Baffin Bay Big Trout Bash Largest Trout Day One 9lb 10oz.CHAMPION
- 2003- Baffin Bay Big Trout Bash Largest Trout Day Two 9lb.2oz. CHAMPION
- 2004- Baffin Bay Big Trout Bash CHAMPOIN
- 2004- Rockport American Rod Smiths Trout Masters CHAMPION
- 2004- I.F.A. Red Fish Tour Port Aransas Texas Draw CHAMPION
- 2004- I.F.A. Over-All Texas Draw 2nd Place
- 2004- I.F.A. Classic Qualifier
- 2004- ESPN Oh Boy Oberto Red Fish Cup Series Kemah, Texas Event 14th
- 2004- ESPN Oh Boy Oberto Red Fish Cup Series Over- all Finish 32nd
- 2005- F.L.W. Walmart Red Fish Tour Series Over - all Finish 24th
- 2005- F.L.W. Classic Qualifier
- 2005- Cystic Fibrosis Cast For A Cure Tournament- GRAND CHAMPION Lure Division
- 2006- F.L.W. Walmart Red Fish Tour Series- 5th Place Finish
- 2006- Babes on the Bay GUIDED, LURES ONLY -CHAMPION
- 2006- Babes on the Bay OVER-ALL - GRAND CHAMPION (largest women's tournament in the world)
- 2007- Texas Saltwater Trout Series P.O.C. 2nd Place
- 2007- Texas Saltwater Trout Series Championship 2nd Place
- 2007- Texas I.F.A Ranger Cup Port Aransas, Texas 3rd Place
- 2007- Texas Saltwater Series Red Fish Series Port Aransas, Texas 3rd Place
- 2007- Walmart F.L.W Red Fish Tour Port Aransas, Texas 7th place
- 2007- Walmart F.L.W. Red Fish Tour Rockport, Texas 5th place
- 2007- Texas Saltwater Series Red Fish Series Port O Connor, Texas 2nd Place
- 2007- Walmart F.L.W. Red Fish Tour Rockport, Texas 5th Place
- 2008- Texas Trout Series/Cabela's Outdoors Baffin Bay Tournament 5th Place
- 2008- Speedy Stop Bash Baffin Bay Tournament 2nd Place
- 2008- Texas Red Fish Series/Cabela's Outdoors Bluff's Landing Tournament Champion
- 2008- Texas Red Fish Series/Cabela's Outdoors Port Lavaca Tournament Champion
- 2008- Texas Red Fish Series/ Cabela's Outdoors Rockport Tournament 2nd Place
- 2008- I.F.A.Red Fish Tour Series Corpus Christi Tournament 4th Place
- 2009- I.F.A. Red Fish Tour Series Rockport Tournament Champion
- 2009- Texas Trout Series/Cabela's Outdoors Corpus Christi Tournament 4th Place
- 2009 Texas Trout Series/Cabela's Outdoors Port Aransas Tournament 2nd Place
- 2009 Texas Babes on the Bay Guided Artificial Champion (largest women's tournament in the world)
- 2010 Texas Red fish Series/ Cabela's Port Aransas Tournament 5th Place
- 2010 Texas Babes on the Bay Guided Artificial Champion (1250 plus women anglers, world record at this time)
- 2010 HT Series Red fish Cup/Corpus Christi Tournament 5th Place
- 2010 HT Series Red fish Cup/ Port Lavaca Tournament 2nd Place
- 2010 HT Series Red fish Cup/ Rockport Tournament 6th Place
- 2011 Texas Babes on the Bay Guided Artificial Champion (1300 women anglers, NEW record)
- 2012 Texas Deer Breeders Association Tournament/Corpus Christi 2nd Place Over-all (100 plus 4 man team event)
- 2014 I.F.A. Cabela's Red Fish Series/ Port Aransas, Texas Tournament 3rd Place
- 2014 Rudy's Redfish Series/Aransas Pass, Texas Tournament 8th Place
- 2014 I.F.A. Cabela's Red Fish Series/ Aransas Pass, Texas 8th Place
- 2015 Rudy's Red Fish Series/Corpus Christi, Texas 7th Place
- 2015 I.F.A. Cabela's Red Fish Series/ Corpus Christi, Texas 3RD Place
A personal note from Jay
In 2014, after a year lay-off from the tournament scene my son Ryan and I finished in the TOP 10 in every event that we fished. Not where we would like to be but still cashing checks and making the Championships qualifications. I am on pace to fish close to 290 days once again this year counting the tournaments so still extremely busy. I still believe I am one of the busiest full time saltwater guides in the country and at age 56 that feels pretty good to me. On a side note, Jay Ray and Jeff Steckler just won the TEAM OF THE YEAR award in the Rudy's Red Fish series out of Sabine, Texas. Great accomplishment for Jay Ray and Jeff and proof that the Watkins Fishing Team is alive and well.
I have had 7 clients as well as local guides purchase boats from Chris's Marine again this season so boat sales are still very good for us. I actually have two guides in the process of ordering boats as we get ready to send in our 2015 sponsorship applications.
Jay wishes to thank his family, friends and sponsors for their support over the years.
May Your Fishing Always Be Catching,
Guide Jay Watkins