Interview with Maryland’s Water Warrior Fishing – Part 1

 In life, I love two types of people more than any others. The first is people who have a passion for what they do. The second is people who have fun while they do it. I have said it before, but there are people that you can tell just from their photos on Instagram are those types of people. I first spotted David Maldonado founder of Water Warrior Fishing on Twitter and Instagram with his contagious smile holding big fish. Then when I saw his YouTube videos it was clear that David is just the type of person that I love. David was kind enough to share with us a ton about his fishing and what he is up to with Water Warrior Fishing.

You have put out a lot of videos over the last few months. What are your upcoming plans for your YouTube channel?

Indeed, I have been aiming to release a new video pretty much every week, and in some cases two per week if I can manage. As far as the future plans go for the channel, I have not sat down and meticulously planned a course of action; rather I am allowing my gut to guide my decisions as to what I should release each week.

I have been paying very close attention to the view counts on all of the videos, the timing for best viewer participation, and comments/likes. From this information I have gathered that most people enjoy the more technical videos and unboxings. This actually does not come as a surprise because it makes sense we all have a bit of consumer in us, and opening boxes full of fishing products is exciting to all of us fisherman, even watching others do so. Add that to the information I deliver in the videos and the details I strive to provide, I think they have been doing well because people are able to learn more about unfamiliar products, and/or gain another perspective on a product that they are already familiar with.

Awareness is very important in every aspect of life and to be totally aware of products, techniques, prices, availability, colors etc. is of utmost importance to any dedicated angler. That is why I strive to deliver my knowledge through these videos in a way that is not overbearing or monotonous, but that delivers quality information in a timely and entertaining manner.

With that being said, my plans for the Channel are to continue to deliver relevant and useful information to anglers of all experience levels, improve my “entertaining” skills when doing so, and diversify my presentations in order to provide variety. It’s all new to me as of yet, even with all of these videos, so I appreciate feedback and constructive criticism. As I advance and continue to release content, I am hoping that the viewership and participation level will grow with me. I started this channel as a way to INCLUDE people, and my goal is to have as much participation and conversation with my supporters as possible.

As far as monetizing and capitalizing off of the views, that is the least of my priorities. I would like to see Water Warrior grow without giving my supporters the impression that this is all for money. I do this for the passion of the sport and those who share that with me, so moving forward consistency and delivery are my main priorities with YouTube!

water-warrior-02I have to ask you about your beautiful and super fly co-captain Tina. Who is she and what makes her a great fishing partner?

Tina…where do I start!? Tina is my girlfriend of 2 years, whom I met in a Statistics class at my local community college. We started out as friends, gradually becoming best friends, and then began dating after a few months of hanging out and thoroughly enjoying each other’s company.

I had never had a woman as a “best friend” before and things just moved naturally over time. It wasn’t until this past year when I began to realize that I wanted nothing more than to make a living off of fishing. I had always had that notion growing up, but I was never fully aware of how to achieve it. YouTube popped into my mind last year after receiving a GoPro camera for Christmas, and Tina urged me to make the most out of such an awesome new piece of equipment.

So, I geared up and went half-broke in order to begin the path to my dreams. Tina played and plays a pivotal role in keeping me motivated, contributing ideas and time, and constantly supporting me mentally and even technically with some of the aspects of my website, ordering, and creation of content.

She’s a fly woman both on and off the water, and it is an absolute joy fishing with her. She is very dedicated and impresses me with her resilience! I can see the competitive spirit in her as she competes with me for the bigger fish every trip! It reminds me of how my mentor used to light up when he would teach me the ins and outs of fishing as a kid, except this is special in another way because of our close relationship. I’d say there’s a long list of what makes her a great fishing partner, but most importantly she is: Patient, Dedicated, Interested, Intelligent, and Competitive. These are all attributes of dedicated anglers, which I see growing stronger in her every outing.

A number of your videos were shot fishing Maryland lakes in the middle of summer. What are your top techniques for fishing summertime heat on these Maryland bodies of water?

Oh man, here we go! Talking FISHING is my absolute favorite; I could go on about techniques and methods for days. But I’ll keep it as brief as possible!

My journey with Water Warrior Fishing began at the end of April and beginning of May here in Central Maryland on the many clear and deep reservoirs scattered around the area. I am from Gaithersburg, Maryland and fish pretty much every body of water within 60 miles, regularly. I began fishing at the age of 8 and then was introduced to a mentor figure at the age of 10, who guided me on artificial lures and immersed me into the world of competitive bass angling.

My first tournament experience was at 13 years old! Being around the “big guys” at the time was intimidating, but it never stopped me from competing as I remained active on tournament circuits for quite a few of my teenage years. I’m 23 now. I was always the youngest around.

Learning from these seasoned veterans was invaluable, as I was able to accumulate a plethora of knowledge from them after the passing of my mentor at age 14. Without my early mentor-ship and participation in bass clubs, I would not have been able to grow into the angler I am today.

With that being said, the area I live in is super-pressured, the water is super clear/deep, and this creates a very tough bite pretty much all year round. You either need to be in tune with the fish and their movements, and/or have deep knowledge of seasonal patterns and utilize techniques and approaches that are appropriate for each situation. During the summer, my main focus on each body of water, namely the lakes and reservoirs, is main lake points, aquatic grass-lines, and structure. The best locations obviously include a combination of all three. Finding these areas and positioning myself on these locations at the RIGHT TIME is what it all boils down to.

Moving up and down the lake to each of these spots in intervals is usually the key to my success. If I cover an area that I know has fish and they aren’t biting, then I’ll leave to the next spot and repeat. At the right time, the fish are usually willing to cooperate. This approach to movement and targeting of big fish has landed me a great many quality bass this season; I’d have to say it’s been my best season yet!

My top techniques are always changing depending on the situation, but here are some setups that are pretty much ALWAYS tied on. My absolute favorite technique for catching big bass in a CRANKBAIT!! This season I have absolutely fallen in love with cranks as they consistently catch big bass and allow me to cover more water faster. In the summertime, a lot of guys, especially in clear and deep water, throw the crankbait in the bag and never take it out. I make a consistent effort to throw the crankbait at least an hour or two throughout a summer day.

Next, I always have a Texas Rig tied on. What I put on the end of the hook is different depending on the situation, but my go-to baits are craws, brush hogs, finesse/trick worms, and Senkos. These baits are always on the Texas Rig and ready to go in my arsenal.

I am also a huge jig fan, so a jig is tied on EVERY trip. Sometimes I’ll throw big and heavy jigs, other times I’ll throw light finesse jigs. It all depends on what the fish are telling me. Sometimes we chat and they’re surprisingly willing to tell me what they want. JUST KIDDING, I wish! But really, the fish will let you know if they want a larger or more finesse presentation.

I even spoke about it in my recent Tackle Warehouse Unboxing #2, clearly covering why I buy two different jig trailer sizes at a time, and what it does to enhance my chances of catching more and bigger fish. When in doubt, I JIG IT OUT!

If I went through all of the summertime techniques I’d have to write you a book, if you want to make a deal for that let me know! LOL But I would have to say that the last, and maybe the most effective, technique I employ for summertime bass is the almighty Shakey Head! You cannot go wrong with a shakey head, ever. The summertime is the best time to utilize the shakey head in deeper water as it provides a subtle finesse presentation of pretty much any soft plastic you have confidence in! The shakey head is always tied on, and I also discuss this in my recent unboxing as I compare the Spot Remover to the VMC Shakey Head.

There are a great many companies out there producing the same product, but they do have their subtle differences. Finding the product that fits your needs is very important, and in the end it all comes down to confidence. When I find what works for me, I run with it.

So to summarize, the summertime fishing in my area requires me to utilize what I have confidence in and what I know will catch me quality bass consistently. These are: Crankbaits, Texas Rig, Jigs, and Shakey Heads. I will also throw very light finesse presentations like the split-shot rig and drop shot occasionally. Not knocking the drop shot…but it’s not my cup of tea. So there you have it, my top techniques for bass in the summertime heat.

water-warrior-04How will your techniques change now that we move into the fall?

The fall is an amazing time of year, but I’d have to say I do prefer the early spring. Fall is obviously one of the most transitional periods of the year, as fish are beginning to feel the imminent weather changes and water temperature fluctuations. As the water cools, bait fish are heading to the shallows to feed, and the big bass are following to do the same. Like a bear getting ready for a long winter, these cold-blooded animals are aware that their metabolism will slow in the cooler water of the fall and winter, and they are actively feeding on baitfish, insects, crawfish, you name it.

Moving baits are going to come into play in a big way for me as the water cools down. I will be throwing a great many moving baits and that definitely means its CRANKBAIT time! Which I am greatly looking forward to.

When I approach a body of water in the fall, I start out, depending on water temperature, by power-fishing crankbaits and topwaters in the early morning hours and evening, low light conditions. If it is bright out but there is some chop on the water, I won’t hesitate to throw the spinner bait, chatter bait, crank, or even topwater.

The fish in my area are well-conditioned and seem to be unwilling to hit topwaters as they would in other parts of the country, so I just adapt by throwing the sub-surface lures mentioned above. Early Spring and Fall are both great times to use the chatter bait: it is subtle enough to not spook finicky fish, but creates enough vibration and action to catch their attention and elicit a response.

Spinnerbaits are absolutely money in the fall, and my preference is a double-blade…top blade being a willow, back blade being a Colorado. Colorado blades give out a lot of vibration and allow you to slow roll without losing action. I find this very important because the fish in my local water are almost always positioned 8-15 feet and not much shallower. The cooler water temps in the fall will have big bass up super shallow at times, but the more consistent bite is usually just out of that shallow range in relatively deeper water.

Another lure that often gets overlooked on the reservoirs is the Original Rat-L-Trap. Fall is a great time to “yo-yo” these lures on main lake flats and just adjacent to points. I have caught a few big smallmouth and largemouth alike with this technique. With a large volume of fish moving on and off of flats to feed on baitfish, Fall is the time to capitalize with the Trap and Crankbaits in these areas.

I have also noticed that the fish absolutely LOVE crankbaits that are constantly deflecting cover and bouncing off of rock. Some of my biggest fish have come off of moderate diving crankbaits just as they are deflected off of big chunk rock or cover. If you’re throwing a crank this fall make sure it has CONSTANT BOTTOM CONTACT!

Along with the moving baits, I will definitely be using the jig a lot this fall, as I do every year. As the water temps cool, the fish are going to be targeting big crawfish, which the jig imitates perfectly. If they aren’t keyed in on the moving baits, you can almost always get a few quality fish by slowing down and throwing the Texas rig and jig. Craw imitations produce big time during the fall. Overall, that will be my approach for the fall season, and each trip always dictates a different approach. Listen to the fish, and you shall receive!

I told you this guy has passion. And that’s only the first four questions. Part 2 will be coming next week. Here is one of my favorite videos from Water Warrior Fishing that shows off David’s passion and joy for fishing.

Watch more of his videos on YouTube and check him out on all of his Social Media platforms.