Posts Tagged With: jackson kayaks

Werner’s New Redfish HD Graphic Paddle

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If you’ve ever visited my blog, one thing that’s obvious is my obsession with redfish.  They are hands down my favorite fish to target whether I’m fishing for fun or competing in a tournament.  With that in mind, I’m really excited about the new Redfish HD graphic paddle from Werner Paddles. Keep an eye out for it at your local retail store beginning September 1st in both the Shuna (high angle) and Camano (low angle).

Redfish Paddle

Not only does this new graphic look great, the paddle is constructed with materials that will provide you with the perfect balance between quality, durability, and affordability.  The combination of fiberglass blades and a carbon blend shaft has the Shuna weighing in at 27.75 oz, while the Camano comes in at a mere 27.5 oz.  Not only does this paddle allow you to paddle further with less fatigue, it will last several years, even for the angler that is rough on his gear.  On top of that, Werner Paddles are handmade right here in the USA, with an attention to detail that is unmatched.  For more information, check out both the Shuna and Camano in all the available designs at http://www.wernerpaddles.com

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Double Limits of Reds in the Wind

One of the perks of being a teacher are the long breaks we get throughout the year.  Thanksgiving is first, followed by Christmas, and then spring break before the long summer break comes back around.  After hanging around the house on Saturday and Sunday with my daughter I called up David to see if he wanted to make a Monday morning trip in search of a few fish.  We checked the weather and of course, the winds were predicted to be blowing 20+ mph from the north.  With the winds blowing more than 20 mph we decided to leave the trout and flounder alone and seek shelter in the marsh looking for redfish.

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We started off working a small drain where David picked up a few rat reds while I landed a lower slot red and a 12″ flounder.  The action was slow here so we decided to push a little deeper into the marsh focusing on the grass lines while looking for nervous bait, wakes, or even mud boils that might give away a few fish.  We didn’t want to commit too much time to blind casting the area until we knew the fish were around.  It didn’t take long to discover that the fish weren’t hanging around the shallow areas so we started moving towards a deeper drain a mile or so from our current location.

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We pulled the kayaks onto a small island near a narrow channel that connected two lakes to one another and been fan casting the area.  The edges of the channel were only 1-2 feet deep but quickly dropped off to about 6 feet deep near the middle.  The wind was pushing water through the channel creating a strong wind driven current that we decided to concentrate on.  I started off throwing a Bass Assassin 5″ Die Dapper (Chicken on a Chain) on a 1/4 oz jig head while David went with a 4″ Sea Shad in the same color on a 1/8th oz jig head.  With the strong current the heavier jig head was necessary in order to get the plastic down to the bottom so once I had picked up a couple of fish David made the switch to a heavier jig head and a Die Dapper as well.  We would make a long cast up the current and let our plastics reached the bottom before slowly bumping them along the scattered shell until a fish would pick it up.  The bites were relatively soft and you wouldn’t even realize you had a fish on until you tried giving your rod it’s next twitch.  After a while we started running low on Die Dappers and made the switch to the Texas Tackle Factory’s Killer Flats Minnow XL (Pumpkin/Chartreuse/White).  The color didn’t seem to be a big deal but the bigger fish were going after the larger baits so we decided to stick with something within the same size range.

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Around noon we decided to make our way back towards the truck with a limit of reds each.  On our way back to the truck we started seeing plenty of mud boils around the shallow areas.  The sun had been up for a while now heating up the shallow shell and mud making it a perfect area for the fish to absorb a little heat.  Despite having to battle the wind, it was a nice day on the water.  Sitting in one area while working it thoroughly for several hours is not my normal style of fishing but it was nice to change it up a bit.

Conditions:

Wind: 20 mph with Gusts to 30 mph

Weather: Morning temperature was in the low 50s but quickly rose to the mid 60s with sunny skies.

Tides: Slightly higher than normal and falling throughout the day

Bottom: Mud & Shell

Depth: 1-2 feet deep in most areas with deeper drains up to 6 feet in depth

Lures: Bass Assassin 5″ Die Dapper (Chicken on a Chain) and Texas Tackle Factory Killer Flats Minnow XL (Pumpkin/White/Chartreuse) on a 1/4 oz jig head.

Rod: 6′ 10″ Hook Spit T-N-T

Reel: Shimano Curado 200 series

Kayak: Jackson Cuda 14

Paddle: 250 cm Werner Cyrpus: Hooked

MeandCalbert

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Lone Star Kayak Series 2014 Event #4

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The 2014 Lone Star Kayak Series came to an end this past weekend with the final event of the season being held on October 4th. I have been mostly absent from the water since the last event back in August with only one trip made between the two events. Work, family, and other events have occupied my time over the past month and a half making it difficult to get on the water. I had no clue where I would go but got an invite from Jared to join him. He had been on some pretty good fish the past couple of weeks, plus fishing with friends is more enjoyable than fishing alone.

My morning didn’t start off quiet like I had planned. My alarm went off and I was up brushing my teeth without even needing to hit snooze. While brushing my teeth I recieved a text from David telling me that he was going to be late. He was up late as the administrator on duty at a football game the night before which caused him to get home late and wake up late. I didn’t really understand why he would be late considering we live about the same distance from our launch. A few minutes later my phone rang and it was another friend that I had planned on meeting at Bucee’s for breakfast. I asked him what he was up to as I answered the phone and he told me that he had just pulled into Bucee’s but didn’t see me around. At that point I looked at my clock and realized I had set my alarm for 4:40 instead of 3:40. I had an hour and twenty minutes to get to the launch, unload, and be ready to push off at 6:00 with a long drive ahead of me. I hung up the phone with Aaron, rushed downstairs, threw my kayak in the truck, and was on the road by 4:50. The launch is a good hour and fifteen minutes from my house while driving around or slightly below the speed limit. I drove a few miles over the posted limits and decided not to stop for breakfast. I knew that if I hurried I would be able to launch on time or just shortly after. I arrived at the launch at 5:50 and with a little help from Jared I was unloaded and ready to go by 5:57. So I actually got an extra hour of sleep but had to skip breakfast which I wasn’t a fan of. I knew I would be covering close to 10 miles on this day in high winds so not having any fuel had me a little worried.

We launched right at 6 am and started to make the 2 mile paddle to the spot we planned to fish. Winds were predicted to be 20-25 miles per hour but could not have been more calm on our paddle out. We made our way through the dark, checking the phone GPS on occasion to make sure we were headed in the right direction. We reached our spot as soon as first light appeared and started looking for fish. We fished a small channel that connects two large lakes while waiting for the sun to rise a little. The channel is 6-8 feet deep in the middle but only 2-3 feet deep on the edges with lots of shell.

I started off throwing a she dog while my popping cork with gulp drifted 20 feet behind me. This is a great way to increase the chances of catching a fish if you’re fishing a tournament where two rods in the water at the same time is allowed. As you drift and cast in front of you, the popping cork with gulp floats behind you making it an easy meal for a redfish that happens to be passing by at the right time.

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I picked up my first red on the she dog after about 15 minutes of casting parallel with the shoreline bringing the lure along the edge of the grass. The fish was a little over 20″ but I strung it anyway. A few cast later and another fish takes my topwater, this time it was just a small trout. I continued my drift and met up with Jared who was about 50 yards ahead of me to find out that he had landed a solid 26″ red on his popping cork. We kept moving without much luck and decided to move into the larger lake and work the grass line with the corks. Just before turning into the lake Jared decided to work his cork off the point of a small island with scattered shell and it payed off. He landed a solid 27″ red to give him 13+ lbs. on the day. We set up our drift and worked the grass line in the big lake without much luck until I came across a small pod of 8-10 reds coming towards me. I already had my popping cork in hand so I made a cast 10 feet in front of their path and waited a few seconds for them to cross paths with the gulp. Sure enough, the cork disappeared and I had a fish on. This one went 23″ so on the stringer it went. This fish was not exactly what I was looking for but the winds were picking up to their originally predicted speeds and I wanted to make sure that I at least came in with two fish, regardless of size.

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We continued our drift and came across another small pod of reds 5 minutes later. I pulled my rod with a soft plastic into my lap and prepared for a double hook up. The plan was to cast the cork 15 feet in front of the pods path and place it in the rod holder. Once it was secure I was going to use my soft plastic rod and make a cast into the pod when they were a few feet from my gulp. The plan never worked because the fish made a hard left turn 5 feet before reaching my cork and started heading towards the middle of the lake. I fired a cast into the middle of them before they hit the deeper water and caught another 23″ red so the 20″ red I had caught first was released.

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At this point the wind had really kicked it up a notch so we decided to head back to our little channel and work it over. The quarter mile paddle back was tough but we arrived and started corking the channel along with David, who had arrived shortly before us. We weren’t having any luck near the channel so I decided to drift with the wind while working a slightly protected shoreline. I didn’t think two 23″ fish would do me much good so this was a risk I needed to take, even if it meant paddling back directly into the wind for several miles. I worked the shallow shoreline with scattered shell for several miles picking up 3 more reds along the way with the popping cork and gulp. Unfortunately, they were all 23″ like my others so I wasn’t able to upgrade.

I had reached the end of my drift and had the horrible task of making the 4 mile paddle back to the truck directly into the 25-30 mph wind while dragging two fish. I started my paddle at 11:00 and paddled nonstop for 2 hours and 45 minutes arriving back at the launch at 1:45. I was completely exhausted, especially since I didn’t get to eat breakfast that morning, but was glad to be back on dry land. The Werner Cyprus: Hooked I am fortunate enough to paddle with was a lifesaver on this day. It was a good reminder on why a quality paddle is a must have for kayak anglers. David and Jared had headed back to the trucks as I started my long drift and had already arrived at the weighin. David caught two fish near 23″ and another friend fishing the area reported catching 6 fish, but all were 23″ as well. Between the four of us, we caught 20 fish, with Jared’s two largest fish being the only ones that weren’t in the 23″ range.

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After a short drive I arrived at Louis and weighed in my fish. I wasn’t expecting to be in the money with my two small fish but squeaked into the last money spot with an 18th place finish out of 74 anglers. That’s one of the great things about the LSKS, they pay out to the top 25% of the field which always gives you a decent shot at winning your entry fee back. Congrats to Chih Tien who took first place for the event while Jared held on to claim 3rd place giving him a nice cash payout and a trophy of the house.

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With this being the final event of the year, an Angler of the Year would be crowned once the prizes and trophies for this event were handed out. There was no surprise this year as Jason Blackwell dominated the overall points with 2nd, 4th, 1st, and 2nd place finishes during the four events this year. This makes him the back to back champion since he won AOY last year as well.

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I finished 5th overall for Angler of the Year which matched my best finish from two years ago and Jared moved up to 6th place overall. I’m looking forward to next seasons events with the fact that we are growing every year in both sponsors and participants. A big thanks goes out to Werner Paddles for supplying my paddles and Hook Spit Performance Rods for my rods and clothing.  If anyone is interested in the LSKS, you can read more about it by visiting the link below.

 

http://www.lonestarkayakseries.com

 

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An Evening Trip With The New Hydra Buggs

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Yesterday evening Jared, Heath, Clint, his son, and I took an evening trip to the marsh.  Conditions were near perfect with an outgoing tide, a major bite from 5:00 to 7:00, and low temps because of the recent rain.  We launched around 4:00 pm to catch the tail end of an outing tide and made the short paddle to the area we’ve been catching our fish lately.  Heath and I set up for a long drift towards a deeper channel, Jared made his way straight to the channel, and Clint and his son caught some bait with the cast net and fished some of the deeper areas to start with.  Heath and I made a long drift without a blow up or bump before spotting a small pod of reds nearby.  We chased them down only to see them separate as we arrive.  We blind casted the area to try and pick up a fish but had no luck.  I spotted another pod near the channel we were heading for and chased them down to pick up my first red of the day that went 25″.

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Jared was a short distance away and informed me that he already had his limit and had caught them all on topwater.  I was pretty sure he was joking with me until he pulled up his stringer with 3 mid slot reds.

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Heath joined up with us and we started fishing the channel where Jared had staked out and he picked up his first red of the day on a Curl Tail Bugg what measured 25″.

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Clint joined up with all of us around the channel and informed us that they had come across a pod of reds that was about 20 x 20 yards.  Him and his son had pulled a couple of reds from the pod before meeting up with us.  On the way back to the truck they stopped and fish a deeper area and picked up a few trout and a nice 24″ flounder.

Heath and I decided to push further back into the marsh to look for some reds in skinnier water.  We picked up a few more fish while blind casting an area where we had both spooked several fish.  I did have the opportunity to sight cast a 27 1/4″ red in a few inches of water that put up a great fight.

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We spotted a few more crawlers but were unable to get within casting distance due to the extremely low tides.  It was getting dark and we had over a mile paddle to reach the truck so we decided to head back in.  We met back up with Jared and were about to exit the marsh when I realized my stringer had come untied from my kayak.  I paddled a half mile back in the dark to the area we had been fishing thinking there was slim to no chance I would find it.  I had just given up and started heading back to my truck when I spotted what I thought was my stringer.  As I made my way towards it the fish started thrashing and I knew I had gotten very lucky.  I retied the fish and headed back to the truck where Heath and Jared were waiting for me.

All of my fish were caught using the new Hydra Bugg which will be released in a few weeks.  I’ll eventually writeup a full review over this Bugg once I’ve made several trips with it but for now here’s a quick look at it.

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It was a great day on the water with everyone taking home plenty of fish.  My best fish went 27 1/4″, Heath’s was 27″, and Jared’s was a little over 25″.

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Leaving The Shell For A Little Mud (6-12-14)

 

 

My last couple of posts have been pretty long so I’ll keep this one kind of short.  I’ll give the details on how we found the fish and let the video do the rest.

After more than a week of tides running over a foot higher than predicted we had a small storm move in on Tuesday bringing with it some crazy wind.  Not only was it blowing around 20 mph, but it came out of the West for the majority of the day before switching over to the northwest for a little while.  This shift in wind leveled out the actual tides with the predicted tides so I decided to get away from the heavy shell and fish a little mud on a really low tide.  The shell had not been kind to me over the past couple of trips with three fish breaking me off so my topwaters were probably a little relieved to know that they wouldn’t be needed for this trip.  The goal was to be in the marsh before first light in order to maximize our fishing time.  During the summer I try to start my trips early and end them early due to the 95+ degree heat we get here in Texas.  Fishing from 6:00 to 11:00 gives me 5 good hours of fishing before things really heat up and the fishing slows down.

I met up with two friends at 5:15 and we launched right at 5:30.  We were in the marsh around 5:50 as first light began to show.  We had just enough water to float over the soft mud below our kayaks but still managed to hit a few low spots that required some poling or walking.  We had a strong incoming tide and the wind was blowing out of the south at about 15 mph pushing all of the water towards the back corner of the marsh.  We decided to follow the water because thats where the bait would be blown as well.  We knew if we found the bait we would find the reds and our prediction was right on the money.  The fish were stacked up at the very back of the marsh hanging out near the small islands as the water and bait were being funneled through them.  Most fish were not very active this morning but we convinced a few to eat.  The majority of the fish were just crawling through the shallow water against the wind protected shorelines or sitting in the deeper guts near the small islands.  All fish were caught on Chicken Boy Lures.  I started off throwing a Psycho Shad (Morning Glory) since the water was so dirty and picked up a few fish before switching over to the 4″ shrimp (White/Chartreuse) to see if a different color would work any better and picked up a few more.

The kayak will get a little rest this weekend since I’ll be meeting up with my Dad and Uncle tonight to start fishing a company tournament with them in the powerboat.  Tournament rules allow contestants to start fishing at midnight so we’re going to get an early start to try and pick up our reds over night before moving on to look for our trout at first light.  There are lots of categories in this tournament and we can choose to turn in a team stringer or individuals in order to maximize the prizes we can win.  There are also prizes for the biggest red, trout, and flounder so we’re looking to win all we can.

 

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Quality Over Quantity (6-10-14)

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Summer is here so fishing most Tuesdays and Thursdays will be the norm for the next two and half months for me. The first Tuesday of my summer break was almost canceled due to heavy rain in the early morning. Jared and I arrived our launch sight a little after 5:30 am only to sit in the truck for a while as the rain came down along with a little thunder and lightning. I’ve never been too thrilled about fishing the marsh after a bad storm rolls through. With the water so shallow, it seems to stir up the fish and send them running for cover until everything blows over. Once the rain stopped we checked the radar to make sure we were in the clear and would be for the rest of the day. First light had already broken the horizon so we quickly unloaded the kayaks and headed for the marsh. Although the rain had passed, the 20 mph west wind was still around and we had to paddle directly into it for a little over a mile. We reached the marsh and headed straight for a small lake covered with shell. The tide was running really high this morning so we stuck with throwing topwaters over the top of the shell with hopes that the fish would be feeding and not too scattered. We spent a good thirty minutes fan casting the small lake without a single blow up or sign of fish. We decided to try another small lake less than a 1/2 a mile away with the same results. No redfish around but plenty of big black drum. We decided to head back to the first lake to see if the fish had returned. On the way there, Jared spotted a 40+ inch black drum swimming in about a foot of water. He decided to pitch his Chicken Boy Shrimp at it to see if it would actually take the bait. I fish this marsh often and will throw at these big fish on occasion but have never had one eat. Jared convinced this one to eat on his first try and the battle was on. It headed straight for the bottom of a small channel in about 2 feet of water and just sat there. To keep this from becoming an hour long ordeal I waded out to the fishes general area with my net. Jared convinced it to come up from the bottom just far enough for me to see the direction its head was facing. I took my net and slammed it down in front of the fish in hopes that I would spook it right into the net. The plan worked and the fish was landed in under 10 minutes.

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After a few photos the fish was released to roam the marsh once again. We headed back to the first lake and repeated the previous process as before. Jared finally had a blow up on his Skitterwalk that didn’t connect. I quickly threw my She Pup in behind him and had a monster red crush my lure. I immediately got my rod tip as high as I could but after 5 seconds the fish broke me off on the shell. About a minute later the fish exploded on the surface of the water trying to throw the lure and did. We found it a few minutes later on our way to the third lake.  After speaking with a friend I decided that I will up my floro to 40 lb test to help keep from losing so many fish and lures.

We fished the third lake without much success until I spotted a little reef near the shoreline. I pitched my Pink She Pup towards the reef and had a blowup. I immediately dropped my stakeout stick and made a 2nd cast at the reef. This time I had two blowups that looked like a flounder trying to hit my topwater. I told Jared to watch because I was sure the fish hitting my lure was a flounder and I was about to make another casts. On this cast, I hooked up and quickly realized it couldn’t be a flounder. A few minutes later I had a nice red that went 26″ with a pinch of the tail.  I decided to string this fish and bring it home since I had been craving a little fried redfish burger.

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We had reached the halfway point of this lake and had to make a decision. Head back to the truck earlier than predicted since the fish weren’t around or try the first lake one more time. We decided to give the first lake one more try.  If it produced nothing after about 30 minutes we would head in for the day. We reached the drain and started throwing topwaters along the shell near the edges of the drain leading into the lake.  Jared had a nice blowup on his Skitterwalk and the fight was on. After about 30 seconds the fish hit the surface and we could see lots of silver flashing. What we thought was a nice red turned out to be a really nice trout. I dropped my net off for Jared and backed away while he landed the fish. Soon as the fish hit the net his lure popped out. The Trout went 26″ and weighted right at 6 lbs. on the boga. After a few pictures we released that fish to be caught another day.

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We finished off the day with another couple blowups on the shell lake but the action that day was really slow. We headed back to the vehicles, loaded up, and headed back home. The amount of fish was disappointing, however, the quality made up for it. All three fish were of good size and helped salvage a tough day.

 

The shirt you see Jared wearing in both photos is from a company called FishHide Sportswear. The shirt is made of a quick dry material with two chest pockets and thumbholes on the sleeves to act as gloves. It also comes with a built in sun collar that will protect your neck or can be used as a buff. You’ll also see a large bright orange stripe down the back and on the sleeves which is great for getting boaters attention while wade fishing or kayaking. You can check out there gear at http://www.fishhidesportswear.com

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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.

Creepin

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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photo 2-3

 

 

 

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Tough Trout Bite (6-1-14)

5 trout

This past weekend we had low tides predicted early in the morning for the Galveston area which had me wanting to visit the marsh and look for a few reds belly crawling through the mud. After speaking with a friend who had made the trip to the marsh I planned to fish and checking the actual tide heights I found out that the low tide we were going to have was not going to be as low as I’d hoped. The tides were running 6-8 inches higher than predicted which wouldn’t be too bad in the morning, but as it reached it’s highest point around 11 am the marsh would be full of water spreading the fish out and making them difficult to locate.

tide

I made a last second decision to cancel the marsh trip and search for trout instead.  I’ve never really devoted a lot of time to trout fishing but made it a point to learn a little more about them this year to become a more versatile fisherman.  I have a few friends that enjoy fishing for trout more than reds so I’ve been trying to take what I’ve learned from them and put it to good use.  I had a few friends that would be joining me on this trip so after informing them of the change in plans and setting a launch time I loaded up the gear and went to bed early.

My alarm was set for 4:00 am but of course I woke up around 3:30 on my own.  I laid in bed for a while and finally got up, got dressed, and went and sat in the truck to wait for my friend Shawn to arrive.  He pulled up at 4:28, threw his gear in the back. and we were on the road headed for Galveston.  We met up with Jared at the launch around 5:40 and loaded down the kayaks pushing off at 6 am.  We had three spots we planned to fish in hopes of finding the fish.  On our way to the first spot we found lots of scattering bait near the surface and a few wakes running down a grassline so we stopped and threw pink skittewalks and Trout Killers for about 10 minutes.  We had a few blowups but nothing connected so we decided to move on.  More than likely these were dink trout chasing small bait fish.

We arrived at the first spot of the day 10 minutes later hoping to take advantage of the last hour of an outgoing tide by fishing a small shallow flat that runs along a few marsh drains.  I was hoping we could pick up a limit of reds here since the outgoing tide would have pulled plenty of bait from the marsh during the night.  The bait was there, but the reds weren’t.  We spent the next 30-45 minutes throwing the same lures as before around scattering bait.  It took a while but I finally hooked up with what we all suspected after half a dozen missed blowups each.  Lots of small trout were on this flat today eating baby shrimp and baitfish.  I picked up another dink and so did Shawn and we decided to move straight to spot number two.  This was another small flat that should have been around 3-4 feet deep but with the tide coming in quick and the elevated water levels, it was about 5-6 feet deep.  Still we gave it a shot for 30 minutes before moving on to the third and final spot which I expected to produce better than any of the others.  When we arrived the tide had already come up a good 6 inches and continued to rise.  We had about 2 hours before it started to taper off so we went to work fishing a sandy bottom near a drop off in about 5 feet of water.  Jared picked up a 17″ trout on his 2nd cast and we had high hopes that we were about to get into them.  Shawn followed with a 18″ trout a few minutes later and I lost one after a short fight.  Three fish had connected on our topwaters in 10 minutes and then nothing happened for a while.  I decided to move parallel with the drop off to hopefully locate more fish and did but they were few and far between.  The bite shut off completely around 10 am so we decided to call it a day.  We had five fish on the stringer between 17″ and 22″.  It wasn’t the best day of fishing, but there have definitely been worse.  On the way back in Jared picked up two more fish at our first spot but both were barely legal.  It was a tough day with a fish coming about every 50 to 60 casts.  They were all caught using a Rapala Skitterwalk.  Shawn and Jared threw the 4″ skitterwalk while a threw a smaller freshwater version. about 3 1/4″ long.

The 2nd event of the Lone Star Kayak Series is next Saturday with the registration cutoff on Tuesday at midnight.  If you haven’t signed up yet.  Be sure to visit http://www.lonestarkayakseries.com to do so.

22 inch trout

stringer

22

fish fry

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Kayak Angler Magazine (Early Summer Edition)


KAM Shoot


If you receive Kayak Angler Magazine be sure to check out page 32 of the Early Summer Edition.  I had the opportunity to join Jeff Herman on a photo/video shoot for his article about towing a kayak.  I would tow him around while he would shoot photos and videos from multiple angles both in the kayak and from an old pier.  The photo above is the one used in the magazine and the video is listed below.



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Overslot Pods

This past Sunday I decided to make a long drive in order to avoid the Memorial Day Weekend crowds of Galveston. I was on the road around 3:30 am and launched my kayak at 6:00 am as the sunlight started to peak over the horizon. My goal was to locate some big marsh reds in case I decided to fish this area during the next LSKS. This was only my 2nd trip to this marsh so it was more of an exploratory trip than anything. With several square miles of available marsh to fish I decided to paddle a lot and fish a little when I spotted certain signs of fish. Temps were in the low 80s with a nice 10 mph breeze as I set off.

I entered by following a small channel that zigzagged back and forth for maybe half a mile before finally opening up into the first lake. I chose to fish the windblown shoreline on my right and started paddling parallel with it staying a good 20 yards away looking for wakes, bait, tails, or anything else that might give away the location of a redfish. I hadn’t seen much when I decided to stop and listen a little to see if I could hear anything other than the occasional splashing mullet jumping through the air. I repeated this process several times and finally heard a nice deep flush that no mullet could ever imitate. I moved another 20 yards in the direction of the noise and paused to listen once more. I heard the noise again and whipped my head around just in time to catch the splash made by a feeing fish. I made my way towards the splash and slid my foot over the edge when I was within 15 yards of it to hold myself in place. After a minute of observing the shoreline hoping to pin point its exact location a nice little tail flipped up in the air. I quickly grabbed my rod, made a cast a few yards past the fish, and slowly worked the chicken boy shrimp back in its direction. After a few twitches he turned on my bait and the fight was on. It didn’t take long to land the red that went right at 22”.

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I continued the same pattern for a while hopping from lake to lake paddling, looking, and listening over and over without much luck. I finally made it to a lake that appeared to be slightly shallower than most of the others according to Google earth and found lots of grass growing on the bottom. While paddling through observing the area I heard the familiar popping sounds of bait being sucked down and knew exactly what was about to come around one of the grassy points. I headed in that direction and sure enough, I nice pod of reds was running the shoreline devouring everything in sight and they were big. I could tell the ones leading the pack were definitely over the slot so I decided I would cast towards the end of the commotion for two reasons. First of all I was hoping that by snagging one from the rear the others would continue on without getting scared and breaking up. Also, I was hoping that pulling one from the rear might give me a chance of catching one in the slot since the larger fish were in the front and the smaller ones should have been in the rear. A sort of pecking order amongst fish. My first cast sailed long and got hung in the grass. I tried to carefully pop it free but the pod had passed by the time it fell into the water. On top of that, my line had wrapped around my rod tip, which meant I had to untangle it before casting again. After getting the line free, I started reeling in the slack and found out my lure had somehow got caught on my shoestring. I quickly unhooked my shoe and fired a cast in the middle of the pod before they got out of casting distance. My lure was picked up in no time and after a lengthy battle I had landed a solid 32” red, my largest from a marsh so far.

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After releasing that fish I looked up and saw another pod of over slots heading my way. I met them halfway and fired a lure out in front of them. After a few twitches I felt a thump and set the hook. The bare jighead came flying back at me because apparently the fish bit my plastic shrimp just right so that when I set the hook it ripped it free from the jighead. That commotion was enough to send that pod into a frenzy as they took off in every direction. The wind had been picking up slowly throughout the day and was now blowing between 15-20 mph with some stronger gusts. My trip back to the truck had me paddling into the wind and I had already covered several miles of marsh. I decided to call it a day and head to my parents house early to pick up my daughter. I’ll definitely be back to continue exploring this marsh. It has tons of potential and obviously big fish roaming around. It looks like there will be some nice low tides in the morning this upcoming weekend. I’m hoping to get out in the really shallow stuff to sight cast some crawlers if the wind and weather allows it.

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