The January 2015 issue of The Fisherman’s Journal is now available at the link below. Be sure to check out page 24 to read my article “10 Tips to Defeat the Wind While Kayak Fishing”.
The January 2015 issue of The Fisherman’s Journal is now available at the link below. Be sure to check out page 24 to read my article “10 Tips to Defeat the Wind While Kayak Fishing”.
I was going through my tackle box a few months ago and came across half a dozen she dogs and she pups that were on their last leg. Most of them had large chunks of paint that had chipped away and I could tell that I was needing to replace them. While I love throwing she dogs and she pups for redfish, they usually don’t last very long. The paint always seems to start chipping away once a few good fish are caught and often times they will not last more than a trip or two. I hate throwing lures away so I started thinking about what I could do with them other than just getting rid of them. I grabbed a sheet of 60 grit sand paper from the tool box and decided to see if it would remove the remaining paint. With a little bit of work the paint came right off leaving a nice looking bone colored lure that I knew I could use. I followed the 60 grit up with some 320 grit to give it a smoother texture and then started working on the others. By the time I had finished, I was the owner of four bone colored she dogs/pups. While I liked the look of them, I didn’t really need four of the same color. I decided to experiment with coloring them in a variety of different ways to see what I could come up with. I added a little epoxy once I was finished to make sure they were sealed properly. The epoxy was clear and would protect them with from chipping or fading away like before. It’s a fun rainy day project when you can’t get on the water to fish. The great thing about it is that you can choose whatever color you want and you are only limited to what ever your imagination can come up with.
The first thing you need to do is remove the hooks and split rings from the lure. You’ll have a much easier time sanding paint away without having to worry about them.
Once the lure is hook free you’ll need some painters tape to protect the eyes. The material the eyes are made of will scratch easily if sandpaper rubs across them so covering them with the tape will keep them from scaring during the sanding process.
Once the eyes are covered and the hooks and split rings have been taken off you are ready to remove the rest of the paint. You’ll want to use the 60 grit sand paper first to remove the larger portions of paint that are still on the lure. Working around the eyes can be a bit difficult so tearing the sand paper into small strips or folding it will help. Be sure to work carefully around the eyes so that you do not scar them in the process.
Now that the majority of the paint has been removed you can follow up with the 320 grit paper to remove any small amount of paint that remains and also to give it a nice smooth texture. You are now ready to apply your color or design to the lure.
This one was the easiest to create because once the paint had been removed you were done. The base color used when the she dogs are created is a good looking bone color, so once you complete the steps above you are finished. I did not coat this one with any epoxy because it would not have served much of a purpose.
To create the pink she pup I decided to give spray paint a try. I bought a can of the brightest pink I could find and added a design to the side before applying the paint. I took some painters tape and cut small strips from the roll and placed a long skinny strip down each side of the lure. Then I cut a few smaller strips and placed them on top and bottom of the first strip angled back towards the tail end of the lure. I repeated this process on both sides.
I taped up the eyes so that they would remain red and hung it in the garage with a small piece of cardboard behind it. I sprayed the lure on all sides making sure all areas received an even shade of pink and let it set for the night.
The next day I removed the strips of tape which left small white designs down both sides of the lure. I thought this would look better than a solid pink one.
I applied the epoxy and sprinkled some silver glitter on the lure while it was still wet. The glitter stuck to the epoxy and after it had dried the finished product below is what I had.
My next lure involved a fine point sharpie and a good amount of time and patience. I drew nearly a thousand small circles all over this she dog to make them look like tiny scales. I started at the back of the lure and began by drawing a line of circles towards the head. I stopped when I reached the eye and began branching out in all directions by connecting each small circle with the one next to it. It took about thirty minutes of work but when I had finished I liked how it looked.
I was about to apply the epoxy to seal the lure when I friend mentioned that even though I used a sharpie which has permanent ink, the chemicals in the epoxy might cause it to run a little. He suggested using a paint pen next time which I plan on doing. I didn’t have much of a choice since I had done all the work so I went ahead and applied the epoxy to it anyway. While the marker did run a little, it didn’t completely destroy the design. Instead, I went from a white lure with small black scales to a gray lure with small black scales. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted but the end result still looked alright.
This is by far my favorite lure that I have painted. I used painters tape, finger nail polish, and small star stickers to create it. I started off by wrapping a piece of the painters tape around the head of the lure going back behind the eye and stopping about a half an inch past the eye. Once the head was protected I cut a few short but thin strips of tape and ran them back towards the back of the lure trying to keep them spaced apart evenly.
I then took the red finger nail polish and painted the entire back end of the lure by covering the exposed areas of the lure and the thin strips of painters tape. Finger nail polish dries fast so after 30 minutes I was able to remove the thin strips of tape which created the red and white portion of the flag. I also removed the tape from the head of the lure and did the exact same thing to the back end of the lure. I carefully wrapped the edge of the tape around the area I had just painted behind the eyes and covered the rest of the back end. Now the only portion exposed was the head. I took the small star stickers and carefully placed them all over the head of the lure.
Once the eyes had been covered with the painters tape I began painting the head of the lure blue until the entire thing was coated, stars included. I watched the lure closely as the finger nail polish dried and when it was nearly complete I used a pair of tweezers to carefully remove the stars. I wasn’t sure how well they would come off once nail polish had completely dried and didn’t want to find out. Once the stars were removed I let the head dry completely before removing all of the tape except for the eyes. I hit it with a thin coat of the epoxy and the picture below is the finished project.
My latest article was released yesterday in the June issue of The Fisherman’s Journal. You can visit their site to see it along with other articles or read it below.
Over the past couple years I’ve discovered a few tricks while fishing the bays and marshes here along the upper Texas coast. Of the following, none will magically fill your stringer with a limit of fish. They may however help to save a little money, allow for fewer headaches, and achieve a better understanding of the waters you fish over time. The following are five tips that I feel are worth considering during your next fishing trip.
If you’re anything like me, you keep about one hundred bags of soft plastics somewhere around your house. I can’t even begin to explain why I’ve purchased so many over the years, other than the fact that soft plastics on sale for a dollar are hard to pass up. Between shrimp, paddle tails, straight tails, and curl tails in brands, sizes, and colors that I doubt I’ll ever use. I probably have more than I could use in a lifetime. Instead of getting rid of them, I like to keep a pack of my least favorite color/style in my soft plastic binder to use while fishing under the birds. This is a great time to throw on soft plastics you’d like to get rid of because fish working the birds will hit just about anything put in their path. By doing so, you can save your favorite colors and styles for days when they’re actually needed.
Taking out the kayak on really windy days can sometimes be a hassle. If you plan to cover several miles during a trip while the wind is blowing above 20 mph, you are going to have a tough time paddling into it at some point during the day. When these types of conditions occur I have found the best way to beat the wind is to use it to your advantage by launching from one spot and exiting at another. For this to work, you’ll need to fish with a friend and drive separate vehicles. You load both kayaks and gear into one vehicle and leave the empty one behind at the area where you plan to exit. You then drive back to your launch, unload, and start your drift, allowing the wind to blow you towards your exit. In this situation a drift sock is important because it will help slow your kayak which lets you really fish an area thoroughly; otherwise you end up drifting faster than you’d like. By using this tactic, you can cover several miles of water, fish the whole trip, and not have to paddle back into the wind. The key here is to choose your launch and exit according to wind direction. Of course, wind forecasts are not always correct so be prepared for anything.
Exploring a marsh during low tides is a great way to really learn the layout and bottom structure of an area you enjoy fishing. When tides run lower than normal, they will sometimes reveal various channels, guts, and structure that are often hidden from sight. This is a great time to explore different areas that could produce for you in the future when the water returns to normal. One thing I like to make note of are the deeper channels that lead back into the marsh. These areas will still hold water during a really low tide and serve as a sort of highway that fish use to move in and out of an area throughout the year. Identifying the location of hidden shell is also beneficial. Shell that is exposed during a really low tide can be hidden by more than a foot of water during a normal tide. These areas serve as a great place to target redfish on a higher tide since baitfish like to stay near it for protection. The better you know an area you are fishing, the more success you are likely to have.
While shallow areas will reveal a lot during a low tide, deeper areas will not give up as much information. Even on a low tide, you’ll more than likely never get to see much of what lies below the surface. In this case, the best thing you can do to really get a good feel for an area is to get out and wade. By doing so you’ll discover things you never would while sitting in your kayak. For instance, is the bottom sand, mud, scattered shell, grass, or a mixture of some sort? You’ll also better understand the depth you’re fishing by comparing it to your own height. While moving around, you’ll find small guts, patches of shell, and other changes in depth/structure where trout and reds wait to ambush their prey. Another advantage is that you are able to cover an area more thoroughly since you won’t be moving as quickly. Wading also gives you the ability to move through the water with more stealth, which lessens the odds that you’ll spook fish.
One of the great things about owning a kayak is the ability to launch from just about anywhere. The downside is that some of these areas are in the middle of nowhere which makes your vehicle an easy target for thieves. Up to this point I have not had a break in and consider myself somewhat lucky. However, I do not believe luck has everything to do with it. One thing I’ll do when launching from areas where few people are around is make sure my truck is completely cleaned out the night before a trip. When I arrive at the launch and my kayak and gear have been unloaded, I will open every storage compartments in my truck (which are empty) before locking my doors. This includes the glove box, center console, sunglasses storage, and any other area that a thief believes something of value could be hidden. If I happen to have a few things that I did not take out, I will hide them under one of my seats before leaving. By doing so, you might make someone think twice before taking a chance to enter your vehicle for what appears to be nothing.
Hopefully you are able to benefit from the above mentioned tips in some way or another. Always enjoy each trip and keep an open mind while on the water. You never know when you’ll learn something new that could pay off for you in the future.
See this article and more at The Fisherman’s Journal by clicking the link below.
The March issue of The Fisherman’s Journal was released this morning and contains the “Five Must Have Lures For Spring Time Redfish” article I posted a few weeks ago along with other material. Enjoy!
I had another article published in The Fisherman’s Journal that was released yesterday. I listed the article below but it and other articles can be seen at the magazines website. It comes out once a month and is free to view on the computer or smart phone. The link to the February issue is:
We’ve all been there; standing around the kayak shop in front of the paddles, wondering just how much money to spend on the piece of equipment that enables our kayak to become mobile. You could spend around $50 and get yourself a cheap paddle without much thought put into the design and that has a little more weight to it because quality materials are not being used. Or, you could spend some extra cash and walk away with one of the more expensive designs that has all the new fancy colors, patterns, and options that feels nearly weightless in the palm of your hand. There is one question that runs through most people’s minds while trying to decide which paddle to purchase. Is the more expensive paddle really going to make that big of a difference?
While somewhat costly, a good paddle can make a huge difference for kayak anglers that spend a lot of time on the water. The price of a paddle can range from as a little as $50 to more than $500 depending on your budget. In most cases, a direct connection can be made between the cost of a paddle and the amount of design that goes into it. Design factors in how the paddle moves through the water and the materials chosen to optimize weight and blade stiffness with strength. The more money you are willing to spend, the better your paddle will perform. If properly taken care of, a good paddle will last a long time and, in most cases, will hold good resale value for those who may want to upgrade to a new one every so often. It is an important piece of equipment that can make your time on the water more enjoyable, whether you’re classified as a beginner or consider yourself an old pro. The ease at which a quality paddle moves your kayak through the water, while preventing fatigue and soreness, makes it worth every penny.
I like to look at a paddle the same way a marathon runner might look at a pair of shoes. A pair that’s light, comfortable, and durable would be ideal to wear as you work towards your goal of 26.2 miles. You will probably never see a marathon runner wearing a heavy pair of basketball shoes that were purchased just because they were on sale. A kayaker’s paddle should be no different, yet most of us (including myself) have purchased a $50 paddle at some point in time. A better paddling paddle results in less fatigue while you make several hundred strokes per mile travelled. A paddle that is the correct length, has a comfortable grip, and the right blade for your style of paddling are other important factors to consider as well. I figured this out the hard way, only to look back now and realize what I should have known all along: like most things in life, you get exactly what you pay for.
Similar to other beginners, when I decided to join the sport of kayak fishing, I was a little hesitant about investing a lot of money into a hobby I knew so little about. I had seen kayakers around the Galveston area while wade fishing and spent a lot of time on the local forum reading reports about incredible days on the water while fishing from these little plastic boats. I owned all the basic fishing gear needed to get started, but would still have to purchase a kayak, paddle, and PFD. I purchased a twelve foot kayak for $500, along with the cheapest paddle and PFD I could find, and was on the water for under $600.
I spent about a year in that kayak before upgrading to a Jackson Cuda 14 in the spring of 2012. The Cuda cost more than twice my original kayak, but it was definitely worth it. I was happy with my new kayak but still used the same cheap paddle I had started with. The good thing about this paddle was that it had only cost me $50 and it got me from point A, to point B, and back. The bad part was that the paddle weighed in at thirty-seven ounces and caused my upper body to fatigue quickly on longer trips. The blades were not very strong and I eventually broke one while trying to pole myself through some shallow water and mud. This turn of events forced me to purchase a new paddle. I decided I would spend more money this time in order to obtain a better quality paddle. My primary goal in purchasing this new paddle was to find a paddle that performed better while not sacrificing durability. If I was going to spend a couple hundred dollars, I wanted this one to last.
I started off by borrowing a lighter and slightly more expensive paddle from a friend to determine whether or not I could even tell a difference. He purchased his paddle for around $150 and it weighed in at 31.75 ounces. It was only 5.25 ounces lighter than my original, but the difference it made was incredible. I was able to paddle the same distances as before, maintaining the same speed, all the while not feeling as nearly as fatigued. I know it sounds crazy to say that those few ounces made such a big difference, but they really did. My upper body did not seem to tire as quickly, and as a result, I was able to make more accurate casts throughout the day. When you spend the majority of your time in the shallow Texas marshes sight casting at redfish that spook easily, being able to hit your target is a must. Misfiring by as little as a foot can cause the fish to blow out and not be seen again. Some of these areas require a short paddle to reach, while others could be several miles from the nearest launch. Even after reaching these locations, you will still end up paddling several miles through an area looking for hungry fish. Making a trip that totals more than eight miles is not uncommon on most days.
I was pretty impressed with my friend’s paddle but, at the same time, I wanted something that was even better. I liked the fact that his paddle was much lighter than my original, but the blades were thin and a little too flimsy. Along with weight you must factor in blade stiffness. Weight is part of the story, but it is easy to go lighter simply by making a smaller paddle and using less materials. A stiffer blade means less loss of energy, so fewer strokes are needed to cover the same distance.
I finally chose the Shuna from Werner Paddles new Hooked Series. This line of paddles was specifically designed with the kayak angler in mind, so I was looking forward to getting on the water with it for the first time. When I first received my Shuna, I immediately noticed how well it was designed. Lighter than the previous paddle I was using by 4 ounces, the Shuna weighs in at 27.75 ounces yet it has the perfect combination of power and durability without the added weight. Since I am 6’ 3”, I decided to go with the 250 cm paddle in order to give myself the extra length I would need while sitting in the high position of the Cuda. The paddle allows me to spend all day on the water, covering 8 plus miles without becoming as tired or fatigued as I once did. It is a paddle that will last me for years and I have enjoyed every minute of it.
While most people will try to convince themselves that spending a lot of money on a paddle is unnecessary, the fact of the matter is that comfort and the ability to enjoy your time on the water go hand in hand. I know most people will never spend $500 on a paddle, but at the same time, they should never spend just $50 either. Somewhere in between those two prices is a paddle that is right for you. In my opinion, to fully enjoy the sport of kayak fishing, spending a little extra money on a quality paddle is a great place to start.
The October issue of “The Fisherman’s Journal” was released this morning and includes my “How to Fish a Marsh” article. This online fishing magazine based out of Florida focuses on kayak fishing for both fresh and saltwater species. It comes out once a month and includes great articles, tips, interviews, product reviews, and much more. Check it out, along with other great articles from accomplished kayak anglers across the country by clicking the link below.