Posts Tagged With: Grind Terminal Tackle

Long Time, No See

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It’s been about 3 months since the last time my kayak touched water. Work, my kids, and other obligations kept me off the water during the really cold months, so I was badly needing a little saltwater therapy.

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David and I met up at Bucee’s for breakfast before making it to the launch around 6:45. We unloaded quickly and made the short paddle to the spot we planned to fish. With the warmer weather and low tides, we had high hopes of spending the day sight casting our fish. The problem was, 99% of the fish we came across were laid up and not moving. The only way we knew they were around, was by the insane amount of mud boils that kept popping up in front of us. We took our time, fan casting the area near all the mud boils and caught a handful of fish. We only seemed to get bites when we made a lucky cast, that happened to land on the fishes head, causing a reaction strike out of fear.

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After a while, we decided to cover some water, to see if we could find a few fish that were more active, since these were being stubborn. Later in the day, we ended up finding a few fish that were actively feeding along the shoreline, but the action didn’t last too long.

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Soft mud and partially exposed patches of shell were the key to locating fish. The only lures we caught them on were the Buggs 1/4 oz. Beastie Bugg (New Penny) and Buggs 1/4 oz. Curl Tail (Black Gold). Later that evening, while cleaning fish, I found a few 1″ mud minnows in their stomachs, which explained why the Buggs worked so well, when the cork, topwater, spinner bait, and soft plastic didn’t.

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Although I haven’t fished much over the last several months, I have stayed busy with fishing related activities.

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I spent one night speaking to the Houston chapter of the Saltwater Boys Kayak Fishing Club at the new Sugarland Fishing Tackle Unlimited. My speech was titled “Blind Casting the Marsh with 20/20 Vision”, which is an article that I have been working on for some time now. A few days later I had the opportunity to speak at the Hook Spit Junior Anglers Association Seminar in Seabrook about the joys of kayak fishing. We had great turnouts for both events and as always, I had a lot of fun.

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Last but not least, I am excited to join up with good friends Cameron Barghi and Justin Rich, as a member of the Lone Star Beer Fishing Team. Now that Spring is coming back around, I’m hoping to stay more active on the water and my blog. Here’s to a fun 2016.

 

 

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Five Christmas Gifts Every Kayak Angler Can Use

If you’ve ever tried shopping for your wife then you know how difficult it can be to choose the right gift.  There are certain items you know to stay away from because regardless of how well you know her, there are some things she would much rather pick out for herself.  For us guys, fishing gear is no different.  As far as lures go, we have certain brands, colors, and sizes we know will catch fish, and gear that we can trust to perform properly and last for a long time.  Christmas is a little more than a week away which means there’s a small chance someone you know is still searching for a gift or two for you.  If so, the five items listed below are less than $50 each and just about every angler I know could benefit from them. So if someone out there is still asking you what you would like for Christmas, send them a link to this article and sit back and relax knowing that on Christmas morning you’ll be well taken care of.


Grind Terminal Tackle Stringer with Spike Sheath

 

Whether your in a boat, kayak, or wading, every good fisherman needs a solid stringer.  The folks over at Grind Terminal Tackle offer a few different models of their stringer in 8, 12, and 16 feet lengths.  They are constructed using a 60 lb. Kevlar thread that is covered with an extruded polyurethane blend that won’t stretch or allow fish to twist because the stringer has no memory.  IMG_4646Each stringer comes with a 6″ brass spike allowing you to easily penetrate the mouth of your fish before effortlessly sliding them to the float at the opposite end.  You also have the option to purchase a spike sheath that will allow you to quickly and easily remove your spike, string your fish, and replace it in the sheath in a matter of seconds using just one hand. The sheath comes with a safety clip that can be attached to your wade belt or kayak that will automatically release if a shark pulls with enough force. I own several of these stringers since I only put one redfish on a stringer while tournament fishing and they have held up well against the saltwater over the years.  The stringer/sheath combo can be purchased from $31 to $46 depending on the length you choose and whether you decide to go with the fixed or quick release float.  Visit their website below to make a purchase.


https://grindtt.com/



Tailin Toads Face Shields and Fingerless Gloves

 
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If you’re anything like me, you’re always forgetting to reapply sun screen while fishing.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come home to look in the mirror and see that my face had turned a bright shade of red. IMG_4664 It would always drive my wife crazy and rightfully so since harmful UV rays can lead to skin cancer.  Enter Tailin’ Toads, a small company started by former Texan Manny Altman who now lives in Jacksonville, Florida.  Not only can you purchase face shields that will provide SPF 50+ UV protection from the sun, you can also get a matching pair of fingerless gloves to protect the tops of your hands.  All face shields and gloves are sewn by Manny herself using quality materials that are quick drying, breathable, and odor resistant giving you great quality combined with stylish patterns.  A pair of fingerless gloves costs $24 while face shield come out at $22.  A set can be purchased for $46 allowing you to purchase a great protective gift for just under $50. Visit her site below to see the patterns and place an order.


http://www.tailintoads.com/



Fish-N-Hunt Pro Floating Net

 

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If you’ve ever lost a nice fish at the kayak, you understand how valuable a good net can be.  I’ve been using the Fish-N-Hunt Pro Floating Net over the last couple of years and it is by far the best kayak net I have owned.  The rubber coated nylon netting is great for preventing your hooks from getting tangled in your net after landing each fish. This means you get to spend more time fishing and less time fighting with your net.  A float is attached to the top making it impossible to lose if it were to fall off of your kayak and it works great for landing flounder and trout but still has plenty of depth to handle over slot reds.  If you enjoy wade fishing, the net has a retractable clip that will easily attach to your wade belt and float behind you which keeps it within reach at all times.  At $19.99 this net is a bargain for any angler. You can visit the link below or purchase the net at most local sporting good stores.


http://www.fishandhunt.com/fishing/nets/floating-net-blue



Dexter Russell Fillet Knife

 

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One of the many things I enjoy about kayak fishing is the opportunity to bring home fresh fish that I catch myself.  There are few seafood meals that can compare to the one you catch and cook yourself after a long day on the water. IMG_4658 But catching fish is only part of the deal.  Once you arrive back at the launch, a good sharp fillet knife is needed to properly clean your catch.  Dexter Russell has a wide variety of fillet knives allowing you to choose a knife with the proper blade length and width for the style of fish you catch.  The blades are manufactured using high carbon steel with a textured polypropylene handle giving it a nice slip resistant finish. When cleaning redfish I like to use the Dexter Russell 8″ Wide Fillet Knife.  It has the proper length and width to cut through the large scales and bones on a redfish that smaller and thinner knives can’t handle.  My other knife is the Dexter Russell 7″ Fillet Knife.  The shorter and narrower blade is easier to control when cleaning fish with smaller bones and scales like flounder and trout.  The cost of most Dexter Russell fillet knives will run you between $25 and $55 dollars allowing you to purchase a quality knife at a great price. See their website below for a detailed list of what they have to offer.


http://knives.dexter1818.com



Insulated Fish Bag

 

An insulated fish bag has quickly become my favorite way to store fish while on the kayak.  During past trips when I planned on keeping fish I would place them on my stringer and drag them behind me for several hours throughout the day.IMG_4670  Pulling fish behind your kayak makes paddling more difficult do to the drag they create and also makes them an easy meal for nearby sharks.  Insulated fish bags are a cheap and reliable way to eliminate drag and protect your catch.  I keep mine behind my seat making it easy to reach when a fish is caught.  I simply turn around, unzip the bag, and place the fish inside where it will sit on top of a few pounds of ice and keep them nice and cool until I get back to my truck.   I didn’t list a certain brand here because these bags can range from as little as $15 all the way up to $300 if you were to choose a brand like the Yeti Hopper.  Check your local grocery stores like Sam’s Club, HEB, or Bucee’s for affordable bags that will get the job done.  The one pictured on the left is from Sam’s club and can handle three upper slot reds with room to spare.


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Lone Star Kayak Series 2014 Event #2

2014 LSKS Event 2

Photo Credit: Jeff Herman

Yesterday was the 2nd event of the 2014 Lone Star Kayak series in Galveston, TX. One of my friends (Jared) and I decided to fish together since we had both planned on going to the same general area. I’ve fished this spot many times in the past and have always had good luck when the conditions are right. After checking tide charts, weather, and wind direction/speed all week long I had come to the conclusion that our little marsh we were heading to should hold some decent fish. Tides have been running about a foot higher than predicted for more than a week now which meant I would be choosing an area with really shallow shell and mud. This cut my list in half on places I had been considering. While some areas produce well on really low tides, this spot is without a doubt a high tide marsh. The small lakes we would be fishing consist of soft knee deep mud and a ton of shell. When tides are running as predicted the shell will sit 3-5 inches below the surface on a high tide and will be completely exposed on a low tide. On this particular day we were fishing during the peek of the high tide which was running about 8 inches higher than predicted. This put the shell a foot or more below the surface of the water allowing us to float over it along with giving the redfish access to cruise the top of it looking for food. Because of the depth and amount of shell our lure options were limited. I rigged my rods the night before with a popping cork, topwater, and soft plastic. I figured the popping cork would be used for the majority of the day with an occasional toss of the topwater. The soft plastic was available incase a pod or tailing red was spotted and something to sight cast with was needed. Other than that it would not be used for fear of hanging up on the shell.

My alarm went off at 3 am and I was one the road by 330. Jared and I met up at McDonalds and after grabbing a quick bite to eat we headed for the launch. We arrived around 5:30, unloaded the kayaks, and sat around for the next 20 minutes waiting for 6 am to arrive per tourney rules. At 6 am on the dot we pushed off and headed straight for the first lake I wanted to fish. The majority of the fish I’ve pulled from this spot have been 25+ inche fish so I was hoping they would be around today. photo 1-3After a 15 minute paddle we were in the first lake and started casting. Jared threw his popping cork around the drain leading into the lake and picked up a 19″ red within the first 5 minutes. I spotted a red crawling around a small island and reached for my rod with the Chicken Boy Shrimp (Red Shad). While trying to get within casting distance my kayak scraped some shell and sent that fish running. I threw my Midcoast Popping Cork (Evolution) around the area where I had seen the fish but didn’t seem to have any luck. I decided to move away from the drain and fish the shell covered lake I had come for. The water wasn’t quiet as high as I’d hoped and as a result my popping cork would hang up on mounds of shell that sat higher in the water column. After hanging up 5 times in 10 casts with no fish to show for my trouble I decided go with the topwater. I knew this would keep me from hanging up and would be a great way to cover some water. I started off throwing a MirrOlure She Pup in the woodpecker color (red head, white back, chrome belly). On my 3rd cast I had a nice little blow up that didn’t connect. Five casts later I had another that did connect and the fight was on. However, the fight was short and resulted in me reeling in my line without the lure. When getting ready the night before, the thought never crossed my mind that I should tie on a leader connecting my lure to my braid. This was mistake number one of the day and costs me what might have been a good fish. The break off occurred 5 seconds after hooking up so I never really got a good feel for the fish. My other mistake was not getting my rod tip high enough to help keep the line out of the shell. To make matters worse I think the fish swims by my kayak to laugh at me. You’ll see the big wake at the end of the short video below.

I was disappointed in my mistakes but quickly tied on another she pup (black back, chrome body, orange belly), this time using about a foot of fluorocarbon leader to help deal with the shell. I began fan casting the small lake once again working the lure very quickly since thats what they wanted and after a few missed blowups I had my second hookup of the day. I made sure to keep my rod tip high and even stood up in the kayak when I had the chance. I wanted to make sure this one had no chance at cutting me off. After a short fight I landed my first fish of the day that weighed in at 5.56 lbs measuring 24 1/4″.In the video below you’ll see the fish bite on the pause as I move the rod from right to left.

I had a fish on my Grind Terminal Tackle stringer early which is always a good feeling on tourney day. I continued to work the area the same as before but the fight with the previous fish must have spooked the others. After a while we decided to move on to the next lake.
This lake was similar to the first one which meant it was very small, full of shell, and had enough water covering it to allow us to barely move over the top without scraping. As we neared the lake traveling down a small channel I began seeing mud boils in front of my kayak. This was a definite sign we were spooking reds that had just been sitting in front of us. I drifted over to a small island and started fan casting the edge of the lake while Jared took a separate channelBroken Hooks 15 yards away that led into the same lake. On my first cast I had a good blowup that missed, 2nd cast produced the same thing, so did the 3rd and 4th casts which had me thinking smaller reds must be hitting my lure. On the 5th cast that theory was proven wrong. A nice upper slot red clobbered my lure and took off with it peeling off 15 yards of line before turning sideways. While it was running I was able to get out of my kayak and stand on the island I had been sitting next to in order to give me a higher platform to keep my line as far above the shell as possible. For the next 45 seconds the fish ran away from me pulling drag or moved side to side never allowing me to gain any line back. Jared watched from about 20 yards away as I was telling him how solid this fish was when all of a sudden my line goes limp. I reel in my lure and soon as it comes out of the water I see that two of the hooks on my front treble are missing.

After a few minutes of non stop cursing my lure I realized I was partially to blame. I switch out the majority of my hooks with VMC hooks for the added strength but had failed to do so on this lure. That was mistake number 3 on tournament day. I tied on my third topwater of the day sticking with the She Pup, this time going with hot pink with a chrome body. I seemed to be getting more blowups then Jared who was throwing a Rapala Skitterwalk so I didn’t want to change what was working. As I was tying on this lure Jared hooked up with a nice fish. He landed it as quickly as he could in hopes that he wouldn’t spook the other fish in the lake. His fish went close to 26″ which meant neither of us would show up to the weighin empty-handed. I finally retied my lure and five casts after the broken hook incident I started getting blowups again. I had three that didn’t connect so I decided to slow down my retrieve just a little and that was the ticket. I had just said to Jared, “I’m going to try a medium retrieve” and the fish hit as soon as the last word came out of my mouth. It ran straight towards me and I could barely reel in fast enough to keep up with it. When it got within five feet of my kayak it turned to run away but the fight was over by then. I landed the fish within a few seconds watching my lure fly out of its mouth just as I slid the net under it. That fish went 22 1/4 inch weighing in at 4.40 lbs. Neither fish was great but I had two for the weighin which takes a lot of pressure off anyone on tournament day. We worked the lake for another 30 minutes but the fish had left the area. We were finding good amounts of fish but the size of the lakes made it difficult to stay on them since a couple of hook ups would spook the rest. We decided to head to the first lake we had fished to see if they had returned after a short break. We covered the lake well but had no blowups or luck so we moved on to the third lake.

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Photo Credit: Jared Esley

This lake, which was the largest of the three and had the same features as the first two so we were hoping for similar results. We each chose a shoreline and started crab walking our kayaks parallel with the shoreline staying about 10 yards away from it. We had multiple blow ups while covering the area with no hookups.  Finally Jared caught his 2nd fish of the day which went 20 1/2 inches and gave him two fish for the weighin. We continued working the shoreline with more blow ups that just wouldn’t connect. I eventually hooked up with another red that again, cut me off on the shell after a 5 second fight. I was still using my fluorocarbon leader but somehow the fish was able to slide the braid part of my line across the shell and cut it above the leader. After a few minutes I spotted my lure which the fish shook free and paddled over to get it. I had already tied on my forth top water of the day so in the milk crate it went. The wind had kicked up a little by now so I went with the She Dog instead of the pup for a little more noise and splash. I missed another fish as I sat my rod down to secure my paddle which was about to fall off my kayak into the water. I had just made a cast and twitched the lure about 6 times when I sat down my rod to grab my paddle. Two seconds later I hear a huge splash and look up to see my lure missing and my rod being pulled over the side. I dropped my paddle and grabbed my rod and start reeling in only to find out he had already spit the lure. I connected on a another fish 15 minutes later that I never saw. Something had blown up on my lure and disappear under the water. I set the hook and began pulling the fish towards me. I could feel the tension of the fish on the end of the line but it never made any hard runs. As it neared my kayak it turned away and slowly peeled off 5-10 yards of line and began moving sideways again at a slow speed. It finally took off peeling another 10 yards of line from my reel before the hook came flying back at me. I was completely dumbfounded and all I could do was look at Jared and laugh because it was just one of those days. He suggested that it was probably a big flounder and after thinking about it he was probably right. I would have loved to have gotten a look at it because it was going to be a nice flounder if thats truly what it had been. We decided to head back to the truck and make it to the weighin early. It was hot, we had two fish, and it would be nice to arrive early and visit with everyone. We also wanted to make sure we got our fish there alive for two reasons. You get a 1/2 lb bonus for a live weighin, plus a raffle ticket for each fish released alive for a drawing later in the day for a Werner Paddle.

We headed for the weighin and arrived around 1:45 which put us there 15 minutes before the scales opened up. We talked with a few others that had just arrived and collected our captains bag full of some free gear from sponsors such as Yak Gear and Bass Assassin. We were 4th in line to weighin our fish with the eventual champion Joshua Majorka weighing his in 1st. Jared weighed his fish in before me and had 9.55 lbs including his 1/2 lb bonus. I weighed my fish next and to my surprise had 10.46 lbs with my 1/2 bonus. I didn’t expect to be in double digits with a 22 and 24 inch fish but both were decently plump. We spent the next two and half hours eating a Louis Bait Camp Burger and visiting with old and new friends. Before announcing the winners we always have several dozen drawings for all kinds of goodies provided by the growing list of sponsors. I had my number called at one point and received a nice little prize package that included a Dexter Knife, Plano Tackle Tray, MirrOlure She Dog, and Saltwater Assassin soft plastics and popping corks. My good luck at the weighin didn’t stop there. Aside from awarding the anglers with the heaviest stringers, the LSKS also gives away a prize package for the closets fish to 21″ without going over (Blackjack) and for the fish with the most spots. My 24″ fish had 9 spots so I won that prize package which included a one year membership to Saltwater Boys Kayak Fishing Club, a koozie, T-shirt, and a Grind Terminal Tackle Stringer. I have been meaning to register with the Saltwater Boys Kayak Club for a while but never got around to it. They are a fishing club located in the Beaumont area and have lots of gatherings and members only tournaments about once a month. The koozie and T-shirt come with your $25 membership fee. If you are interested in joining up you can find more information on their Facebook Page.

I was 2 for 2 on prizes and didn’t think I could get any luckier. It turns out my luck hadn’t quiet run out just yet. The drawing for the Werner Paddle took place after the blackjack and spots prizes were awarded and it was for a really nice paddle. I don’t know how Jeff did it, but he brought out a Werner Paddles Bent Shaft Kalliste. This is one of Werner’s top low angle paddles that they produce. The bent shaft Kalliste weighs in at 27 oz, has full carbon blades, and retails for $475. As a Werner Paddles Pro Staffer, I have never even had the opportunity to use this paddle.

Kalliste

Jeff walked on stage and asked a young boy from the crowd to come up and draw a ticket from the box. As the young man read off the numbers I was shocked to hear him read off my number as the winner. Earlier in the day when Jeff had handed me the ticket I had already told him I wouldn’t even keep it if I won. I told him I would just give it to my friend Travis who runs the Corpus Christi Chapter of Heroes on the Water. I was pretty excited as I walked towards the stage because I was about to have the opportunity to donate an awesome paddle to a great organization. When I reached the stage I told Travis to come up and take the paddle from me because I knew he would be able to put it to good use.

If you don’t know, Heroes on the Water is a non profit organization that takes current soldiers and veterans from all branches of the military kayak fishing as a way to relax and help relieve stress. Its an amazing organization that I’ve had the opportunity to help with on occasion and hope to become more involved with in the future.  The video below is a short explanation about what they do.

I had already won three different prizes and knew I would be receiving another. It seemed like most anglers had a tough day of fishing because not that many fish were weighed in. As Dustin came to the stage to announce the winners I waited patiently to hear my name called. Jared placed 14th and I took 9th out of 79 anglers. My 9th place prize package included $110 along with a few other prizes. It was a really fun way to start off my summer which will consists of 72 days in a row of not working and lots of fishing. The next event is not until August which gives me plenty of time to pre fish. For some reason, the August event has been my toughest one over the last two years. I’m hoping to change that this year.

Photo Credit: Jeff Herman

Photo Credit: Jeff Herman

 

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Photo Credit: Jared Esley

 

Photo Credit: Jared Esley

Photo Credit: Jared Esley

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Pierce Marsh (5-7-13)

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I made an evening trip to Pierce Marsh in Hitchcock yesterday after work to try and pick up 3 quick reds. My wife wants to do a fish fry for her 30th birthday and we have no fish in the freezer right now which means I’ll need to make multiple trips over the next week and a half to bring in some meat. I haven’t fished Pierce this year but wanted to go somewhere close so that I could get there and back as quickly as possible. I launched around 4:00 and started making my way to the marsh. The tides are still running a little low from the last front we had so I figured spotting fish would be easy but quickly realized that getting to them would be difficult when I saw this.

Low Tide

With the tides as low as they were I knew of a few spots where the fish should be stacked up. I was able to paddle for a while but had to get out and walk about 300 yards through shin deep mud to get to one of the deeper channels before I could paddle again. From there I made my way to one of the deeper holes where a few drains empty into one spot and immediately saw fish feeding. I started off throwing a Gulp Pogy (Color: Cigar Minnow) on a 1/16th ounce jighead under a Midcoast Popping Cork Inticer with about a foot of fluorocarbon and that seemed to be what they wanted. On my third cast I was looking around at the grass lines for any other signs of fish when my rod was nearly pulled out of my hand. I quickly brought that fish in and it went 23”. Stayed for another 10 minutes but the fish seemed to have scattered after the fight so I moved to another drain close by to let things settle down. I found the same scenario at the second drain as I did the first. Paddled up to see redfish feeding where the drains emptied and on about the third cast I picked up a solid 25 ½” red. The fish seemed like they scattered again so I made the short paddle back to the first spot and the fish were back. Made about five casts and picked up a 27 ½” red and called it a day since I had my limit. On the paddle back in I saw about a dozen crawlers hanging around every piece of wind protected shoreline. I tried casting at about a half a dozen of them but they weren’t interested in anything I was throwing. I threw KFM, Buggs, Chicken Boys, and gulp in their path and they would either blowout as it hit the water or just look at it and swim around it. I had a long paddle back and knew I would have to walk through the mud again so I decided to keeping paddling instead of stopping and messing with them.

This was my first time using the Inticer Popping Cork and while I felt that I could cast it a lot further due to the cork being out front I didn’t feel that I got as good a chug as when I use the Evolution.  I also had the opportuniy to use my Grind Terminal Tackle Stringer today with the Stringer Spike Sheath and it’s pretty awesome.  I attached the spike sheath to my seat and it made getting the fish on stringer quick and easy.

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stringer

Pierce Tide 5-7-13

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