Pro Staffer at WindRider

Get to Know WindRider's Pro Staff: Brandon Freeman

Check out our latest interview with a member of our Pro Staff team Brandon Freeman.

My name is Brandon Freeman, but most people know me as Gator. I am a licensed USCG captain with a master's license, which authorizes me to navigate both fresh and saltwater, including offshore and nearshore areas, as well as to operate ships and tugs. My journey into the world of fishing began at an early age. A pivotal moment was when, at 8 years old, I caught a 2 lb black crappie in a local pond. My father entered the fish into a Walmart-sponsored tournament, which I won. The victory was not just about the prize; the fish was mounted and displayed in the local Walmart, marking the start of my lifelong passion for fishing.

By my late teens, I had delved deep into the world of crappie fishing, participating in tournaments and overcoming challenges with my modest gear. My dedication led me to obtain my captain's license around the year 2000, propelling me into a full-time guiding career that quickly became sought-after for crappie, shellcracker, catfishing, and striper fishing. Over time, I honed my expertise in flatfish, crappie, bream, and shell crackers, carving out a niche that has been thriving ever since. Remarkably, 90% of my clientele consists of repeat customers, a testament to the memorable experiences I provide.

My career took a significant turn when I began traveling across the United States, from North Dakota to Texas, sharing my passion and expertise in crappie fishing. Although I initiated a few tournaments, I realized my true calling was guiding, which allowed me to make personal connections and create lasting memories with my clients. This realization led me to prioritize guiding over competing, a decision that has enriched both my life and those of the people I guide.

In 2018, I embraced the digital world by starting a YouTube channel, driven by encouragement from friends and clients. This platform allowed me to reach a wider audience, offering assistance and booking trips in lakes across the country, further expanding my impact on the fishing community. Among my notable achievements, I've caught several record-breaking crappies: a 2.57 lb fish in Florida, a 3 lb 26 oz fish in Grenada Lake, Mississippi, and a monumental 4 lb crappie in Lake Marion, SC. These are feats that many anglers only dream of, highlighting the extraordinary opportunities I've been blessed with in my career.

My journey has also been marked by continuous growth and outreach. In 2023, I felt confident in my ability to deliver value to sponsors, thanks to my established presence in guiding, social media, and appearances on TV shows across various channels. My pursuit of excellence led me to discover WindRider rain gear at a memorial tournament in December 2024, transforming my experience with cold and wet conditions and reinforcing my commitment to my craft.

As I navigate through life, halfway to a century, I am living my dream, fueled by a deep love for fishing and a commitment to sharing this passion with others. My mantra, "You can sleep when you're dead," encapsulates my dedication to making the most of every moment, both on and off the water.

What is your favorite type of water?
Where do you mostly fish?
South Carolina North Carolina Mississippi Florida Georgia 
What is your favorite fishing technique?
Single Pole Jigging trees and Grass 
What is your biggest catch?
4 lbs 4 ounces Blk Crappie 
What is the best fishing tip you ever received? 
The best fishing tip I can offer, which encapsulates years of experience and observation, is to understand and respect the environment you're fishing in. This advice breaks down into several key components:
Know Your Target Species: Understand the habits, preferred habitats, and diet of the fish you're aiming to catch. Each species has its unique preferences for water temperature, time of day, and types of bait.
Learn to Read the Water: Pay attention to the water conditions and how they affect fish behavior. This includes understanding how weather, temperature, and season affect where fish might be located. For instance, fish often feed more aggressively before a storm due to the drop in barometric pressure.
Patience and Persistence: Fishing is as much about patience as it is about skill. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t catch anything right away. Sometimes, it’s just about waiting for the right moment or finding the perfect spot.
Practice Catch and Release: When possible, practice catch and release. This helps maintain the fish population in the area, ensuring good fishing for future generations. Learn the proper way to catch and release to minimize harm to the fish.
Always Be Prepared: Ensure your gear is suitable for the type of fishing you're doing. This means not just having the right rod, reel, and bait, but also wearing appropriate clothing for the weather conditions, bringing sunscreen, and having enough water and food.
Learn From Every Trip: Whether you catch fish or not, each trip is an opportunity to learn something new. Observe what worked and what didn’t, and don’t be afraid to try new techniques or gear.
Respect the Environment: Leave no trace behind. Ensure that you keep the waterways clean by picking up after yourself and others. Respecting the environment also means adhering to local fishing regulations and understanding the importance of conservation efforts.

Fishing is not just about catching fish; it's about connecting with nature, learning from your surroundings, and enjoying the peace and challenge it offers. By following these guidelines, you’ll not only become a better angler but also contribute to the sustainable enjoyment of this pastime for everyone.

What do you do when you're not fishing? 
When I'm not out on the water fishing, I'm often still thinking about fishing—it's not just a hobby for me; it's a way of life! However, I'm equally passionate about spending quality time with my family. Given the nature of my work, which involves a lot of traveling, fishing, creating videos, and networking, I'm away from home quite a bit. So, every moment I get to spend with my family is precious.


During these times, we engage in various activities that allow us to bond and create lasting memories. Whether it's exploring the outdoors, playing games, or simply enjoying a quiet evening together, these moments are invaluable. It's a time for me to recharge, connect on a deeper level with my loved ones, and share stories of my adventures while also hearing about their experiences. This balance between my professional pursuits and personal life is crucial, providing me with the motivation and grounding I need to continue doing what I love while also being there for the people who matter most.

In essence, while fishing occupies a significant part of my thoughts and time, the moments spent with my family are equally cherished. They remind me of why I work so hard and serve as a reminder of the beautiful life we're building together, filled with love, adventure, and countless stories to tell.

What inspired you to become a WindRider Pro Staffer?
My journey to becoming a WindRider Pro Staffer began on a particularly challenging day out on the water. There I was, outfitted in what I believed to be one of the most expensive and supposedly top-of-the-line rain suits. Despite its cost and promises, I found myself uncomfortably wet and freezing. That's when I noticed another angler, completely dry and visibly comfortable, despite the same harsh conditions. Curiosity got the best of me, and I approached him to inquire about his gear. He was wearing the Hayward suit by WindRider.

What truly caught my attention wasn't just the suit's obvious quality and effectiveness but also the enthusiasm with which he spoke about WindRider's customer service, the lifetime warranty, and the extensive range of other apparel they offered. His satisfaction with the product and the company made it clear to me that I needed to learn more. So, right there, amidst the biting cold and relentless rain, I made up my mind to reach out to WindRider.

Deciding to become part of the WindRider family has been one of the best decisions of my professional career. With the Hayward rain and float suit now a staple of my fishing gear, the dread of cold, rainy mornings and unexpected summer storms has completely vanished. The suit has not only improved my comfort but has also significantly enhanced my fishing game. The difference was so profound that I knew there was no going back; I couldn't imagine wearing anything else.

Becoming a WindRider Pro Staffer was driven by a genuine belief in the product, inspired by firsthand experience and the compelling testimony of a fellow angler. It's a testament to how a single moment of insight, paired with the right gear, can dramatically transform one's experience for the better. Now, as part of the WindRider team, I'm excited to share this transformation with others, ensuring they too can face any weather condition with confidence.

What is your favorite WindRider product? 
Choosing a single favorite WindRider product feels nearly impossible because each piece of gear brings its unique set of benefits and experiences. However, if I had to highlight my top choices, the Hayward 3 Season Float Suit would undoubtedly be at the forefront. This Rain/Ice Gear has been a game-changer for me, providing unparalleled comfort and protection across a wide range of weather conditions. Its versatility and reliability make it an indispensable part of my fishing apparel, ensuring I'm prepared for whatever the day may hold.

Equally important to me is the Atoll Hooded Shirt with Gaiter. This piece combines functionality with comfort, offering protection from the sun without sacrificing breathability or mobility. It's a testament to WindRider's commitment to innovative design, catering to the needs of outdoor enthusiasts like myself who demand both performance and comfort.

Beyond the exceptional quality of individual products, what truly sets WindRider apart for me is their inclusive approach to gear. Knowing that I can get high-quality, reliable gear for my entire family is a significant factor in my continued loyalty to the brand. The ability to outfit my wife and kids with WindRider products means that we can all enjoy our time outdoors together, without compromise. This family-oriented approach to outdoor gear is what makes WindRider a win-win for me.

In essence, while I have my personal favorites, it's the comprehensive excellence and family inclusivity of WindRider's product line that truly resonates with me. Whether it's ensuring my comfort and safety with the Hayward suit or protecting my family with gear designed for them, WindRider consistently enhances our outdoor experiences, making them a cherished part of our adventures.

 Follow Brandon Freeman on social!



Back to blog

Suggested Products