Z-MAN: Hanging with the Big Boy
Feb 12th, 2021 by Keith Worrall
Modified Feb 12th, 2021 at 12:22 PM
Photo by Jason Arnold
ElaZtech® Baits, Epic Fishing TV Show Unite
Z-Man® jumps aboard with ‘Big Boy’ Carter Andrews
Ladson, SC (February 12, 2020) – Big props to the angler who unapologetically pitches a bobber and worm because that’s what puts fish in the net, period. Extra style points and street cred when that same fisherman hits up a Western trout stream, waving a fly rod and weighted nymph—and then, a week later finds himself stalking tuna with jigs and soft plastics. Zero apologies to purists necessary.
Big Boy Carter Andrews is thy name. Catching badass sportfish is my game. Or, more aptly, my obsession. Now into the eighth season of the popular TV show, The Obsession of Carter Andrews, the world-travelled angler has teamed up with his likeminded buddies at Z-Man Fishing. So, what happens when you combine mythical angling skill with game-winning baits? How about a fishing show that’s off-the-charts? Sometimes, literally.
Actually, the story of how the two angling powerhouses met makes for an interesting episode all its own. “During travels to different ports around the globe, I was hearing bits and pieces about Z-Man ElaZtech baits and all the amazing ways they differed from and perhaps were superior to traditional soft plastics,” recalls the larger-than-life Andrews, an ex-fly-fishing guide with home bases in Wyoming and Florida.
Big Boy Carter Andrews values the versatility of Z-Man ElaZtech baits.
“Had to find out. So, two years ago, I started messing around with Z-Man baits and quickly realized they actually exceeded my expectations,” he says. “Just remarkably resilient, durable. But somehow ultra-soft, buoyant and lively on the hook, at the same time. For a softbait, that’s an almost inconceivable combination.
“On one trip, I caught thirteen cobia on a single DieZel MinowZ™. Crazy, right? Months later, after posting a ton of big fish photos caught on Z-Man baits, their folks called to find out what the heck I was up to,” he laughs.
Then, during an annual Shimano meeting—whose offices coincidentally lie on the other side of a crosswalk from Z-Man’s—Andrews decided to sneak over and say hello. “I sat down, started talking fishing with their crew and could tell right away by the vibe and flow of the conversation I was in the right place; the kind of fish-centric people and environment I like to be involved with. Like, these folks really ‘got it.’”
To hear Z-Man tell it, Andrews and his impressive reputation had been on their radar all along. “I’ve followed Carter’s career all the way back to the days he was a fixture and featured captain on Jose Wejebe’s Spanish Fly show,” notes Z-Man promotions manager Joey Prochazka. “From day one, you knew Carter had a really bright future ahead of him. His integrity and exceptional reputation among fellow guides speaks for itself—a pro’s pro at all times, and truly, a really great dude. Someone who’s cool just sitting and talking fishing with anyone.”
Andrews, who grew up stalking bass and other fish on rural Tennessee waters, harbored early dreams of becoming a bigtime tournament pro. Shortly after a friend put a fly rod in his hand, however, Andrews found himself moving West. He settled in Wyoming, where he made a name for himself as an elite Rocky Mountain fly fishing guide. He’d go on to win the prestigious Jackson Hole One Fly contest three times and earn a keystone spot on the U.S.A. Fly Fishing Team. But it took a trip to the Bahamas to open Andrews’ eyes to the allure of destination saltwater fishing. For the next decade, he’d help build fishing lodges, train guides and lead exploratory fishing adventurers all across the globe, touching 15 different countries. Along the way, he appeared on the cover of numerous fishing magazines and as a favorite guest on fishing shows.
Today, accompanied by wife Heidi and daughters Payton and Haley—ambitious anglers, all— Andrews splits the year between Vero Beach, Florida, and his Wyoming ranch; he still logs enough time on the water to make most anglers green with envy. Like the legendary Wejebe’s Spanish Fly, The Obsession of Carter Andrews goes beyond mere grip-n-grin style TV. Each episode tells stories of intriguing places, people, food and fish, with compelling conversations about fishing ethics, education and conservation. “Fishing,” as Andrews explains, “is just the backstory.”
Of course, like all well-traveled anglers, Andrews also appreciates the merits of versatility and lures that simply catch fish. “I assign the greatest value to multidimensional baits,” he says. “A single ElaZtech softbait can be fished in so many different ways. I can rig a Z-Man DieZel MinnowZ on a 1-ounce jighead and work it down to 50 feet for tuna. And when fish go topside, I can take that same bait and burn it across the surface. That’s the definition of versatile, multidimensional.”
The Z-Man StreakZ XL has been on a roll for bull redfish.
Matching the wildly varied travel schedule of the globetrotting angler, Andrews’ ElaZtech bags contain baits that match a broad spectrum of scenarios. Four-hundred feet down, off the coast of Chile’s Robinson Crusoe Island (ask him about Crazy Chilean Rudy), a meaty 8-inch StreakZ™ XL has produced bounties of yellowtail kingfish. Andrews has also been known to swim a jig and DieZel MinnowZ for bruiser redfish, bonita and blackfin tuna. And for smallmouth and striped bass as well as that saw-toothed Amazonian ogre, he often wields a Scented Jerk ShadZ™ on a ChinlockZ™ weedless weighted hook.
“Beyond all their remarkable fish-catching advantages, Z-Man simply makes a ton of ElaZtech baits in every shape and size I need,” adds Andrews. “When your fishing calendar takes you all over the planet, you can’t have gaps in your tackle bag. For me, working with Z-Man and their baits feels like it was meant to be all along.”
“During his career, Carter has only surrounded himself with elite fishing brands,” notes Prochazka. “Z-Man is proud to call him a friend, now, too. Certainly, we couldn’t be more excited and honored to work with Carter Andrews and look forward to tapping his considerable knowledge and experience to the benefit of Z-Man products.”