Jeff Angers is a resident of south Louisiana and a dedicated inshore angler. He is also president of the Center for Coastal Conservation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting good stewardship of America’s marine resources. Angers mixes fishing and politics as CEO of the Center’s affiliated political action committee, Center PAC.
Among other activities, the Center works to elect conservation-minded members to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Angers serves on the board of directors of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and is active with the American Sportfishing Association, serving on its Governmental Affairs Committee.
Over the last 25 years, Angers has managed congressional campaigns, lobbied legislative bodies and written conservation policy. Prior to his role as founding president of the Center, he served 15 years as CEO of the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana. An LSU graduate, he led successful battles to outlaw indiscriminate fishing gear and to protect redfish with game fish status. When he’s not fighting for the future of fishing, he enjoys time with his wife Kim and three children: Reagan, Wesley and Graham.
GHM: You’re based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. What kind of fishing do you pursue most?
JA: Speckled trout and redfish. My favorite spot is Venice, where the Mississippi meets the Gulf. To me, it’s the paradise of the “Sportsman’s Paradise.” Fall fishing is my favorite, when the water is skinny and clear. But we have good fishing year round.
GHM: Who introduced you to the sport, or has had the greatest influence on your fishing habits?
JA: My Dad did. Although he passed away 25 years ago, I still treasure every fishing memory with him. He taught me to love the sport and laid the foundation for basic techniques to use. My five-year-old almost reeled an alligator gar into the boat last summer; she was almost as shocked as I was some 40 years ago doing the exact same thing. I’d also have to say that while my Dad instilled in me a real passion for the sport, I’ve also been influenced by my long-time affiliation with the Coastal Conservation Association. Working in and with this organization for the last 20 years has really educated me and made me a better steward of the resource.
GHM: What’s your favorite or most successful technique for your game fish of choice?
JA: I really like the simplicity of working soft plastics on a ¼-ounce jig head for specks and reds. Varying the presentation, working the bait and waiting for the hit has become addicting. We fish both shallow flats and deeper holes as conditions change through the year.
GHM: What mistake have you made that’s cost you a great fish?
JA: If you can think of the mistake, I have made it! Thanks to patience and prayer, I continue to learn from my mistakes. Perhaps the most basic is finding the balance between patience and aggression with a big fish. In the past, I’ve worked too hard and snapped the line on light tackle. Fishing a little heaver line helps, of course, and keeps the fish fresher for a good release, but there’s a balance.
GHM: What fishing or boating technology would you like to see developed in the future?
JA: A mono fishing line that does not twist! As much as I love fishing and even tinkering with gear, I hate losing valuable fishing time to dealing with twisted and knotted lines.
GHM: You recently returned from your first salmon fishing trip to Alaska. What did you take away from that experience?
JA: Alaskans are passionate about their fishery. The Kenai River Sportfishing Association is the active steward in their region fighting for the fish, and they were great hosts to me and our group. Compared to the Lower 48, Alaska is often thought of as remote and wild, yet even this area needs to be well-managed. Of course, the breathtaking scenery is almost as heartwarming as the down-home hospitality. If you haven’t fished Alaska, you haven’t fished.
GHM: What’s the one thing you think other fishermen should know or do?
JA: Without a doubt, every angler should join and actively participate in a group that advocates for angler access and sound conservation near their favorite fishing hole. With nearly 25 million saltwater anglers banded together in America, we can move mountains. With the challenges ahead of us, we will need to.
GHM: What species or fishing destination do you dream about?
JA: My fishing dream for the future is very simple—all three of our kids are going to catch more fish in their lifetimes than I have in mine.