Meet Cindy Nguyen, Professional Angler, is the latest addition to the Columbia PFG Team and the first woman to join the group. We caught up with her in her home in Texas, where she was gearing up for another great redfish season.
When did you learn how to fish and who taught you?
I have fished since I was a child with my dad and siblings. I spent my childhood summers on Galveston beaches, piers, and jetties. I will never forget standing in front of the spooling counter at Academy Sports & Outdoors waiting for my first reel set up. It was a Penn Silver 100 Series and an Ugly Stick from my Uncle Thanh—I think this was my 10th birthday.
SEE ALSO: Fishing and cooking with Cindy Nguyen
Are you a specialist in terms of species and technique?
I wouldn’t say I am a specialist, but my passion is redfish. They are abundant in the southeastern United States, make excellent table fare, can be caught year round, and always fight hard. I find redfish to be one of the most versatile species to fish for. You can target them deep in the bay, along the surf, and—my favorite—the ones tailing and pushing inches deep in the marsh. Nothing gets my adrenaline pumping like waiting in the path of a pod of hungry redfish.
What is the basic gear set-up or rig you recommend for someone getting started?
For inshore lure fishing, a seven-foot medium-action spinning rod with a 2000- to 3000-series reel spooled with 10 to 15 pounds of braided line will work for about 80% of inshore species out there. I typically will begin with a search bait, which is a soft plastic on a jighead or weighted shrimp lure. If I am in an area that has a reefy bottom or grass, I will rig my lure weedless or switch to a topwater. As an inshore angler, seeing a fish track and ambush your lure is insanely gratifying!
Do you have a formula or system in place to locate fish when you head out to an unfamiliar body of water?
I feel it is always best to ask a local guide before fishing unfamiliar waters. If that is not possible, I look for clean, moving water where birds and bait are usually abundant. Wind direction is a critical factor to consider as it allows me to identify areas protected from the elements. Of course tips from local fisherman never hurt. Since the advent of social media, this kind of networking has proven invaluable.
Are you competing on a tour circuit this year?
No I am not, but I can certainly entertain the idea.
What are you looking forward to most about joining the Columbia team?
Being a part of a team that has represented the outdoor lifestyle for as long as I can remember. The opportunity to put wear and tear on the latest innovations in fishing apparel and provide insight to those like-minded is exciting. Lastly, traveling to new fishing areas to learn and share the experience. After all, the only thing we truly have at the end of the day are life experiences.
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