Catfish Profiles in Passion – Kris Flores
by Ron Presley
Doing what comes naturally and sharing it with the world.
Catfishing is definitely in his blood. He says he’s been addicted to fishing since his first fishing trip. He was just six months old.
“My passion for fishing started at a young age,” states Youtuber and catfish fanatic, Kris Flores. “My parents say that they weren’t able to tell me that we were going fishing the next day. If they did, I would be in their room waking them up hours before their alarm clock was set to go off.”
As he explains it, his passion for fishing, especially catfishing, comes from a combination of life experiences that have evolved as he chases his dreams.
“Initially, it was because of my dad taking me out to go fish with him,” recalls Flores. “I was always excited about fishing, but I was equally excited about spending quality time with dad. As I grew older and became a father myself, the roles were reversed. I love taking my kids out just to spend those couple of days talking, laughing, joking, and ultimately watching their eyes light up with excitement as they fight a big fish.”
Flores likes to target any catfish because of their size, but when the truth is known his real passion is for flatheads.
“All through my younger years of targeting catfish, the flathead was the one species that always seemed to elude me,” offered Flores. “Blues and channels were common for me to catch, but the flathead catfish was the mythical creature that I could not seem to find. It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I caught my first one. From that point forward they’ve had a special place in my heart.”
Flores actually fishes the same waters today that he fished in his youth. He spent much of his early fishing time on Elephant Butte Reservoir, Caballo Lake, and the Rio Grande River.
“It is many years later,” admitted Flores. “But I still fish the same bodies of water but with a much better understanding of them.”
His love for the whiskered flathead also impacted his conservation philosophy. Not by what others said, but his own experiences.
“I was raised to think that if you catch a fish you take it home to eat it,” offered Flores. “I had not been educated on conservation. So, when I started catching flatheads for the first time in my early twenties I would keep everyone I caught.”
“Then I had a period on my little stretch of river when I never caught a single flathead for over a year,” recalled Flores. “I was upset and puzzled. I began questioning myself. ‘Did I catch them all? Are there no more because of me?’ I was upset and disgusted with myself. I was thinking that after all those years of chasing the fish that I love, I killed off the species in my favorite fishing hole.”
With the passing of time, the flathead population slowly returned to his fishing spot. But his self-reflection and consideration of his own actions changed his conservation philosophy.
“It wasn’t YouTube, or a T.V. show, or a magazine article that taught me about conservation of the species,” said Flores. “It was my own ignorance and life experience that did. After this life lesson, I vowed never to keep another flathead. This is why you’ll see me releasing them in my YouTube videos.”
Flores has not participated in a lot of tournament fishing. Not because he is not interested, but because there are not many tournaments near him.
“My first tournament was last year (2017),” reported Flores. “It was the Possum Kingdom Catmaster’s tournament held at Possum Kingdom Lake in Texas. It was a great experience. I believe that fishing new waters is an excellent way to test your catfishing skills. I did get to meet a ton of great people and that’s a bonus. To my knowledge, there aren’t very many catfish tournaments close to me. This one was nine hours away according to Google Maps. With the boat in tow, the trip ended up being closer to 11 hours. I think that if there were tournaments closer to my area, I would fish them.”
Flores has slowly but steadily worked on his longtime goal to build a successful guide service. His outstanding success as a Youtuber has contributed to that success.
“My goal is to get my guiding service set up to the point where I can retire. Then I can do guided trips until the DMV says I am no longer able to operate a vehicle,” joked the 42-year-old Las Cruces NM resident.
“I think guiding is the perfect way to share my knowledge with my fellow fishermen,” he added. “Not to mention that every time I put someone on a fish of a lifetime I believe the happiness I feel adds days to my life. I know my kids will grow up too soon and have lives of their own. But I can continue to share catfishing experiences with people through my guide service.”
Flores’s passion to reach out and help other anglers flourished with his YouTube channel. His following has grown to more than 90,000 subscribers.
“YouTube has been a blessing to me,” acknowledges Flores. “I started it with the simple idea of sharing my fishing adventures with the world. I never imagined that it would grow into such a recognized channel. Because of YouTube, I now have friends all around the nation and even in other countries. I get to travel and meet the people who watch my videos. That is by far one of my favorite things to do. I am forever grateful to everyone who supports me and I love meeting them in person, shaking their hand, and just talking fishing with them.”
That YouTube success spilled over into the supply side of the catfish industry. Not only has he been able to instruct anglers on how to catch catfish he has been successful in supplying the products they need to catch them.
“I wanted to incorporate my catfishing passion with my business,” explained Flores. “That is why I decided to start supplying Muddy River Catfishing products. It allows me to do more fishing, help my fellow fishermen, and be a bigger part of the catfish community.
Kris enjoys close combat fishing in some of the most unsuspecting and hard to reach water around. One of those trips resulted in an adventure that Kris will never forget. It stands as a tribute to his tenacity and motivation to get the job done, whatever it takes. What might have been a horror to many is what he describes as “one of the best fishing trips I’ve ever had.”
“I was with my friend Byron,” explained Flores. “We took a couple of guys out on my little stretch of river for some flathead fishing. The river is so small that we can only use 10-foot boats and only two persons per boat. One day we set off with two boats and four people. I was leading the way with Byron and his passenger following.”
“We are moving along smoothly as I round a bend and noticed that the path was completely blocked off with debris that had floated downstream. I eased up on the throttle so that we can begin to work on clearing the path. Before I could let go of the handle, Byron comes flying around the bend and slams right into my boat. He hit the boat in such a way that the force turned the motor with my hand still on the throttle. My hand twisted the throttle to full!”
The 5 hp Coleman engine turned hard left with so much force it popped off of the back of the boat. It spun in circles about two or three times before finally dying and sinking to the bottom of the river.
“I could not believe my eyes,” exclaimed Flores. “I immediately started stripping off layers of clothing getting ready to dive in to retrieve my motor. Everyone was yelling for me to stop because it was still cold out. But in my mind, I was already planning on diving in, getting my motor, and high tailing it back to camp to sit by the campfire before I got hypothermia.”
His friend Byron chimed in and said, “Let’s try dragging the anchors before you jump in.”