Posts Tagged With: hook spit

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

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One of the crazy things about fishing is how making a minor change on the water can have such a huge impact on the amount of fish you catch. Last month I made a rare afternoon trip to an area that I had fished once before, but had wanted to explore a little more thoroughly for some time now. I had put in some time on Google earth and found a few shallow patches of shell near the south shoreline of this small lake which made me think it had some potential. I had a decent south wind on this particular evening so I decided to seek shelter and take advantage of the protection that the south shoreline would offer.

I paddle straight into the wind to reach my destination and spent the next several hours casting around the edges of the shallow shell with a She Dog and a soft plastic, neither of which produced a single blowup or bite. I found it hard to believe that I hadn’t caught a single redfish, especially considering the areas I was fishing and the amount of casts I had made. I had an average depth that was between one and two feet deep, a soft mud bottom, small patches of shell, and plenty of bait in the water. And yet I didn’t have a single fish to show for my efforts.

I had been at it for a while now and started running a little low on daylight. I decided to head back towards the launch a little earlier than I had originally planned in order to keep from having to paddle back in the dark. The wind had finally let up a bit so I made a decision to give the wind blown shoreline a try before leaving.  I also switched over to a popping cork with gulp shrimp to see if I could create a little noise and bring the fish to me. The north side of the lake lacked structure so I had not planned on giving it a try. However, since it had been receiving a constant barrage of wind and waves, it only made since to give it a shot.

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I made my first cast and hadn’t made more than a few pops of the Cork, when it suddenly disappeared. I reeled in my line to find a nice little 18-inch marsh trout. Not exactly what I was looking for but it got the skunk off my back. After tossing him back, I made a few more cast and the cork disappeared once again. This time I a nice lower slot red was on the end of my line.

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For the next hour the action was nonstop.  I ended the trip with 10 reds and one trout before running out of daylight and being forced to head in. On my paddle back to the truck I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the change in location, the change in my set up, or a combination of the two that made the big difference on this trip.  I still haven’t figured that one out, but it was nice to be reminded just how much of a difference a small adjustment can make while on the water.

Conditions:

Wind: 15 mph from the south early on and 5 mph from the south at the end of the day

Weather: Sunny skies with temps around 80 degrees

Tides: Outgoing

Bottom: Mud with small patches of shell

Depth: 1-2 feet deep in most areas

Lures: Bomber Paradise Popper with Mantis Shrimp on a 1/16 oz. jighead

Rod and Reel: Daiwa Ballistic EX 2500 on a 7′ 2″ Hook Spit Zephyr Elite

Kayak: Jackson Cuda LT

Paddle: 250 cm Werner Cyrpus: Hooked

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Hook Spit Lone Star Kayak Series 2015 Event #4

October 2015 LSKS

For the first time since last spring, I actually considered putting on a jacket to start the morning. The temps were in the mid 60s with a cool breeze blowing through the air, which was a nice change from the heat we’ve had this summer. Johnathan Meadows and I were fishing the last event of the 2015 Lone Star Kayak Series on this morning and were patiently waiting for the clock to show 6 am so that we could begin our day.

6th Place

 

We were the only two people at our launch, which in my opinion is always a small advantage on tournament day. We wouldn’t have to worry about dodging other anglers that were fishing the tournament or miss out on fishing certain areas because someone else arrived first. I’ve spent 99% of my kayak trips sitting in the seat of a Jackson Cuda 14, but on this particular morning I decided to go with the Cuda LT instead. The marsh we were fishing consists of several dozen small lakes that go on for as far as the eye can see. With the Cuda LT weighing in around 20lbs. lighter and a little over a foot shorter than my Cuda 14, I decided to go with the kayak that had the ability to make sharp turns without needing a lot of space.

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We pushed off into the dark at 6 am and made the short paddle to the first lake we planned to fish. Johnathan started off throwing a topwater while I went with a popping cork and gulp. The plan was to throw different set ups to see what the fish were wanting and then both go with the lure that was producing more fish. It didn’t take long before I had my first bite on the cork which turned out to be a solid 26 ½” redfish. A few minutes later I had my second bite of the day, a chunky 25” red which gave me two fish on the stringer before the sun had a chance to peak over the horizon. Anyone that has ever fished a tournament knows how good I feels to have 12+ lbs. on the stringer within the first hour. It was obvious that it was going to be a popping cork kind of day with the higher than normal tides, so Johnathan put down the topwater and grab his rod with the cork on it. Anyone that’s in the market for a good popping cork rod that won’t break the bank should check out the Hook Spit Zephyr Elite.  At 7′ 2″ you can make those long casts and pop a cork the way its meant to be popped wit the extra fast tip.  It’s a great popping cork rod priced at $159.

Another one for Clint

Another one for Clint

 

It didn’t take long before we figured out the pattern for the day and both had fish two fish on the stringer. With a decent NE wind blowing through the marsh, we used it to our advantage by focusing on all points and small coves on the windblown shoreline. It seemed like every point held at least one fish, along with any small cove that was located on the SE shoreline. The reds would wait on the wind protected side of the points and ambush the bait as the current forced it by or they would focus on the bait that was unwillingly being pushed up against the shoreline by the wind.

At one point we thought we had doubled up on two solid reds, but come to find out, Johnathan had a 27 ¾” red while I had a two foot alligator. It didn’t take long for the gator to realize what was going on and make a mad dash for the protection of the tall grass on the shoreline. He hit the bank and never looked back, eventually slicing through my leader and letting me keep my cork.

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Shortly after the gator broke me off I was able to sightcast a 30” red by standing up in the LT and letting the wind push me towards the tailing fish. I could tell this fish would be out of the slot, but who can resist sightcasting a 30” red in a foot of water. Johnathan was able to catch an oversized red a few hours later as it and a couple of other fish were barreling down the shoreline destroying any bait in their sight.

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We ended the day each catching more 6 lb. reds than we could count, our two oversized fish, and a few larger ones that stayed in the slot and made the trip to the weighin. In the end, Johnathan took home 1st place out of 96 anglers with 15.56 lbs. while I finished 6th with 13.15 lbs. Congratulations goes out to Jason Blackwell who took home Angler of the year honors once again, giving him his third AOY trophy in as many years.

1st and 6th Walking to the table

1st and 6th Walking to the table

 

We had a great day on the water with a couple of nice stringers to end the tournament season. We took full advantage of the benefits that comes with fishing with a friend on tournament day, which I believe helped both us catch more fish than we would have alone

I’d like to give a huge thanks to Werner Paddles, Hook Spit Performance Rods, Buggs Fishing Lures, and Jackson Kayak at this time.  These companies provide me with quality products that have helped me become a better angler over the last several years.  I am truly blessed with the opportunity to represent them and look forward to doing the same when the 2016 tournament season kicks off.

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On a side note, the Lone Star Kayak Series will be back again next year, but the tournament owner and director will change. Dustin Koreba has decided to step down and hand it over to Cameron Barghi and Justin Rich. Cameron and Justin already run the Saltwater Survival Series and have been a part of the LSKS team since it began 4 years ago. We can expect a new beer sponsor and a few new lures, but overall, the things that make this tournament so special will remain the same. Now we all have to fish against Dustin instead of accepting prizes from him.

Conditions:

Wind: 10 mph from the NE

Weather: Sunny skies with temps between 65 and 75 degrees

Tides: Outgoing

Bottom: Mud with occasional patches of grass

Depth: 1-2 feet deep in most areas

Lures:

Bomber Paradise Popper with a Gulp Pogy or Mantis Shrimp on a 1/16 oz. jighead

TTF Killer Flats Minnow on a 1/8 oz. jighead

Rod and Reel:

Popping Cork setup – Daiwa Ballistic EX 2500 on a 7′ 2″ Hook Spit Zephyr Elite

Soft Plastic setup – Shimano Citica on a 6′ 10″ Hook Spit T-N-T

Kayak: Jackson Cuda LT

Paddle: 250 cm Werner Cyrpus: Hooked

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Hook Spit Lone Star Kayak Series

If you live in the state of Texas and have been thinking about participating in a kayak fishing tournament, then look no further. With three successful seasons under its belt, the Hook Spit Lone Star Kayak Series will kick off the 2015 season on April 18th. This kayak only redfish tournament gives anglers across the lone star state a chance to compete against one another in a tournament that is competitive, fun, and friendly.

Based out of Galveston, TX, the LSKS brings anglers from all over the state together to compete against one another four times a year. sponsorsReasonably priced at $65 per event with no captains meeting, anglers simply register online and launch their kayaks at 6:00 am from any publicly accessible launch site between the Sabine and Colorado River the morning of the tournament. Cash payout goes to the top 25% of the field meaning one in four anglers will be going home with cash and prizes from great sponsors like Hook Spit Performance Rods, Werner Paddles, Bass Assassin Lures, and Yak Gear just to name a few. The weigh-in takes place at Louis Bait Camp in Hitchcock, TX where anglers weigh their fish, enjoy free beer supplied by Southern Star Brewery (another sponsor), and share their fish stories about the one that got away. Anglers earn points at each of the four events throughout the season to crown an angler of the year at the final event in October. The 2015 angler of the year will be taking home a new kayak donated by Viking Kayaks along with other great cash and prizes.

Since its inaugural season back in 2012, the LSKS has become one of the top kayak fishing tournaments in the state. Last April, ninety-one anglers registered for the first event of the season leaving no doubt that hitting triple digits at some point this year is not farfetched. The average number of participants per event has continued to climb over the past three years progressing from 57 to 74 to 78.5 anglers this past season. Although still more than three months away from the first event of 2015, recent chatter around local fishing forums and other social media channels is showing an increase in interest from anglers that are new to tournament fishing. For a variety of reasons, the LSKS is a great event for anglers to make their tournament debut.

When I first started fishing the event, I was new to kayak fishing and only knew of one location where I could consistently catch a couple redfish. Werner Paddle Donation to HOWEven though they were mostly lower slot, I was content with the fish I was catching and never felt it necessary to try new spots. It didn’t take long for me to realize that if I wanted to be an actual competitor in the series that I would have to gain more knowledge and explore new areas in search of larger fish. Over the next couple events everything seemed to fall into place. I had discovered several new areas to fish and started noticing and learning more about a redfish’s behavior based on location and structure in an area. Over the next several months, the length, weight, and number of fish I caught began to increase. By the end of the first season I had improved from 7.43 lbs. at the first event, to 12.00 lbs. at the last event, ending my season with a 5th place finish. The following year I took home a first place trophy brining in 14.78 lbs. to the 2nd event of the season. The desire to improve and become a better tournament angler was a driving force in making me leave the comfort of the first marsh I had discovered and search for newer ones with a better quality of fish.

Web Page Logo

The LSKS is also responsible for introducing me to 90% of the people I fish with and consider good friends. The weigh-in basically becomes a three hour meet and greet with more than fifty anglers from across the state sharing stories, putting names with faces, and planning future trips together. Off the top of my head, I can name more than 20 anglers that I have fished with over the last three years that I had never met before the tournament began. Kayak fishing is fun, but it’s even more fun when good friends are involved.

As the sport of kayak fishing continues to grow in popularity, more and more anglers are discovering that gaining knowledge and experience in a tournament setting can be both fun and rewarding. With the added sponsors and increase in prizes and participants, the 2015 season of the Lone Star Kayak Series is looking like it will be the biggest and best so far. To register or see a full list of rules, pictures, or past results visit http://www.lonestarkayakseries.com


Lone Star Kayak Series Fun Facts


  • Out of the 12 events so far, 10 different anglers have won an event
  • $1 per registered angler is donated to Heroes on the Water
  • The April 2012 event was won by a first time tournament angler
  • A ½ lb. bonus is awarded to anglers for bringing in at least one live fish
  • We have anglers that drive in from all over the state including Dallas, Austin, Corpus Christi, etc.
  • Free beer at the weigh-in!
  • 25% of the field wins cash and prizes
  • 1st – 3rd take home trophies
  • LSKS is active on social media
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West Houston Kayak Club-TKF Speaking

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If you live in the Houston area and would like to hear me talk about catching redfish, I’ll be speaking to the West Houston Kayak Club on February 10th. The meeting will take place at Midway BBQ in Kay, TX in the large meeting room from 6:30 to 8:00. The topic will be “Redfish Lures: When and Where to Throw Them”. I’ll be focusing on my favorite lures for redfish and explaining certain situations where I like to use each of them along with the reasons why. I have a 32 page PowerPoint presnetation full of pictures, videos, and helpful information from my experiences on the water over the years. Grab a friend, come enjoy some good BBQ, and talk fishing with me for an hour.

 

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Willie Wimmer Slam Jam

This past weekend I competed in the Willie Wimmer Slam Jam Tournament out of San Leon, TX to help raise money for a local Galveston fishing guide who sustained injuries from a gun shot wound to the back.  Wade Bullard, the owner of the Hook Spit Fishing Store in League City, TX was hosting the tournament which included a boat and kayak division.  Aaron and I had already registered and with a little bit of coaxing, we convinced David to sign up on the final day.

We chose our location a week before the tournament based on past experiences and reports from friends that had fished the area recently.  For those who do not know, a slam tournament allows you to weigh in one slot redfish, one speckled trout, and one flounder with their combined total weight making up your stringer.  We knew the redfish would come easy since that’s what we spend the majority of our time chasing but were a little unsure about the flounder and trout.  I have a friend that has been killing the flounder in the area we were heading to that supplied me with some great flounder fishing tips including how to tie the same tandem rig he uses, what soft plastics and colors to throw, and a map where he had been having success.  Another friend told me a few areas that the trout had been hanging around the last couple of weeks as well, so we felt pretty confident that we would each get our three fish.

Tandem

When we woke up Saturday morning the winds were under 10 mph from the north and the temperature was holding steady around 50 degrees but would quickly climb to 70 as the day went on.  We arrived 30 minutes before the 6 am launch time, unloaded our gear, and moved one truck a little further down the road to a second launch point so we would have the option of making the shortest paddle back to a vehicle depending on where we were when it was time to head in.  At exactly 6 am we shoved off and made the 2 mile paddle to our first spot.  We were going to try and pick up our redfish first since they had been schooled up early in the mornings during previous trips.  About halfway to the spot David broke away and said he was going to fish a small drain that he’s had luck at in the past.  Aaron and I continued on our way and finally reached the lake we had been heading to.  We didn’t see much action so we decided to split up to try and locate some fish.  I paddled another 1/2 mile across the lake to the opposite shoreline while he worked the near side.  Aaron found a few schools and caught 3 or 4 reds with his largest being 26″.  My side of the lake was pretty slow with no schools in sight.  I decided to work the shoreline with a popping cork and gulp in hopes of finding a good sized single that might be roaming the area.  Ten minutes passed and I hadn’t had a nibble.  After a while I started looking across the lake for any signs of fish nearby and saw one tiny shrimp go airborne to my left about 30 yards off the shoreline.  Without taking my eye off of where it landed, I reeled in my cork and fired a cast in it’s direction.  A few seconds later my cork went under and what felt like a lower slot fish turned out to be a nice 26″ red that went into the fish bag.

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In the video below you can barely see the ripple made by the one little shrimp and will notice that I do not take my eyes away from the area until my cork lands.  By not glancing away, I was able to put the cork exactly where the bait had spooked.

I met back up with Aaron and we were both satisfied with the 26″ reds for the time being.  We decided to head over to the flounder hole Johnathan had told us about to see if we could get our flat fish out of the way.  We were fishing a small channel that turned out to be around 5 feet deep in the middle but closer to 1 foot near the edges.  There was a scattered shell bottom with a small reef near the bend.  Johnathan had told us to work the grasslines along the shallower water as slow as possible.  I had tandem rigged one of my rods the night before with two 1/8th oz jig heads that were about 6 inches apart.  I went with a bone colored killer flats minnow on the top and a Berkley 4″ Gulp Shrimp on the bottom.  I parked my kayak and fished from the bank making casts that were parallel to the grass while working my tandem rig slower than I’ve ever worked any lure.  I would basically give my rod tiny twitches and reel in the slack and repeat.  My twitches resmebled the way you might move your rod if you were trying to scare a dragonfly off of the tip.  The technique and rig paid off as my first flounder was caught less than 10 minutes after arriving.  At 16″ I was glad to have a keeper in the bag but at the same time, was worried about my chance to upgrade.  November flounder limits in Texas drop from 5 to 2 and you’re not allowed to cull them.  With only one chance to upgrade available I was worried I would catch a 17″ flounder next and be faced with the choice of releasing it in hopes of catching a bigger one or keeping it and being done.

I continued working the area looking for an upgrade and picked up a 20″ red before catching a surprise 19″ trout.  This was a decent trout which allowed me to complete my slam by 8:12 am.  Aaron was working the same area trying to catch his flounder but kept catching undersized reds and trout.  After bagging my trout I decided my best chance to upgrade my weight would be to continue working the area for a flounder and it finally paid off when I brought in a solid 19″ flattie.  All of my fish up until this point came on the Gulp Shrimp.

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As soon as I bagged that fish I left Aaron and decided to meet up with David and head out in search of a bigger trout.  When I found David he had a fat football shaped red that was right at 24″ and a 19″ flounder like me.

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We made the short paddle to a nearby area in search of a trout but had trouble locating them.  We moved around to a few different spot but the trout didn’t seem to be around or at least weren’t feeding.  We decided to head to our last trout spot that was near David’s truck determined to camp out on this area and continually work it until we found the trout or ran out of time.

After five minutes at this area we started hearing the distinct sound made by feeding reds in a nearby lake.  I had my slam and was happy with my fish so I told David I was going to chase some reds while he worked for his trout.  Before I could get past him he decided to join me.  He said the thought of those reds feeding like that was to much to resist.

We spent the next hour or so sight casting lower to mid slot reds in shallow water with tons of shell.  I was having a little trouble keeping my soft plastic out of the shell and decided to switch over to a Strike Pro Hunchback.  Not only did this keep me out of the shell, but wakers are a blast to throw at shallow water reds.  I would cast in front of the  small wakes they were pushing and start reeling the lure in.  As soon as they spotted the hunchback they would dart from behind it and explode on the lure which was fun to watch.  After picking up about 4 reds each we decided to head back to the truck.  We arrived at the same time Arron did and found out that he had found a 17″ trout and a 16″ flounder to complete his slam as well.

We arrived at the weighin and visited with friends for a while before the weighin finally opened.  When it was all said and done, David had finished 3rd with 8.84 lbs, Aaron was 2nd with 10.10 lbs, and I had come out on top with 11.19 lbs.  We had a great time on the water fishing with one another, plus its always nice when the plans you make come together as well as they did.

 

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Hook Spit Performance Rods

 

At the beginning of this week I picked up a couple of  Hook Spit Performance Rods from the Hook Spit store located in League City, TX.  I’ve heard great things about these rods from a friend that uses them and of course, from Captain Mickey Eastman from the 610 Outdoor Show that most of us in the Houston area listen to each weekend on our way to the coast.  I had checked out their inventory of rods online before heading to the store for the first time and had my eyes set on the T-N-T Rod.  At 6′ 10″ with extra fast action, this rod seemed perfect for throwing soft plastics and Buggs, and on occasion, my topwaters.  While there, I discovered another rod they had at the store that was not listed online.  The Pitch Fork is a 6′ 9″ rod that is built similar to the T-N-T but with moderate action which will be perfect for launching topwaters long distances for big redfish and speckled trout.  Besides rods, the store also has a wide range of lures, reels, clothing, and other fishing supplies that I was not aware of.  I picked up a few shirts, hats, and buffs that I will be trying out on my next trip along with the two rods.

As a kayak angler, I like for all of my rods to be around the 7′ range.  The extra length helps with casting distance while in the sitting position and the longer length comes in handy when you have a fish swim under your kayak and you need to extend the tip of the rod out past the front of your boat.

The T-N-T with its extra fast action, is going to be great as far as sensitivity goes.  I should have no problem feeling the smallest bite while having plenty of power for a strong hook set and the ability to pull redfish from the shell I fish around so often.  Because of the action in this rod, it will only flex in the upper 20% leaving plenty of backbone for leverage against those upper slot reds.

The moderate action of the Pitch Fork is going to be great for making those long distance casts with heavy topwaters while helping to improve my hookup ratio since it will be flexing in the upper 40% of the rod.  By doing so, this gives the fish a little extra time to really engulf the lure before getting into the backbone of the rod where pressure will be applied on the hook set.

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An exposed blank on the back of the reel seat has become a “must” for me when purchasing a new rod.  The ability to have my fingers in direct contact with the rod blank is great for detecting when my lure gets bumped by a fish or comes in contact with some sort of structure in the water.  As you can see in the picture below, the Hook Spit Rods allows multiple fingers to be in contact with the blank at all times while your lure is being retrieved.  It also comes with a split grip cork handle (which I prefer) that will save a little overall weight on the rods and hook keeper for attaching lures.

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The guides used on both the T-N-T and Pitch Fork rods are the REC Recoil Guides which have several benefits compared to standard guides that contain ceramic rings and iron.  For starters, they are nearly indestructible to both saltwater and deformation.  They are created from a shape-memory alloy using a mix of nickel and titanium which will never rust because of saltwater use.  If bent, they automatically return to their original shape and are anywhere from 25 to 300% lighter than other guides. They will also enhance the sensitivity of your rod due to the direct strike translation that will run through the guides, and right into the blank.  The bottom line is that these guides are made to last and will for a very very long time.

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The T-N-T and Pitch Fork are definitely two of the more elite rods that Hook Spit offers, but they are not the only ones available.  At $279 I understand that not every angler will be able or want to spend that much money on a rod, however, they do have several other rods available. The Wader LT ($279), The ATR ($199) ,  Zephyr  ($159) The Croaker Cannon ($159), The Guide Series ($159), and The Classic Series ($149) are a few of the more affordable rods offered.  A quick look at each rod can be seen here along with some of the specs on each of them.

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Something else worth checking out is the Hook Spit Spots and Specs Tourney.  This tournament which began on June 1, 2014 awards the biggest trout weighed in each month with a $200 gift card to the store.  Second place receives a $100 gift card, while 3rd place receives a $50 gift card.  Also, the redfish with the most spots each month will receive a $150 gift card to the store.  The tournament starts over at the beginning of each month which allows several anglers each year to collect a prize.  Hook Spit will also be awarding $2,000 cash to the angler that weighs in the largest trout of the year.  The leaders for each month can be viewed here along with the official rules and details.  The best thing about this tournament is that it is free and the only thing you have to do to enter is show up at the store with your fish.

I am looking forward to getting on the water with these rods and putting them through the abuse that kayak fishing requires.  I hope to have a full review within the next month or two along with some video footage of them in action and pictures of big fish.

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