Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tip of the Week: Paddle Selection

In kayak angling, selecting the right paddle for YOU is a key element that should not be overlooked. Too many anglers buy a paddle because it's cheap and on sale, they're buddy says they like it, or because it looks cool. Paddling the wrong paddle is like putting the wrong engine in a car, it's not going to be as efficient and the experience won't nearly be as enjoyable as it should be. Werner Paddles has a "Paddle Fit Guide" that lets you enter all of your information about your paddling characteristics. The guide will analyze your data and narrow down the type of paddle that is right for YOU. To find out if you paddle the correct paddle, or to narrow down your selection, check out the link below to for more information.

Werner Paddles "Paddle Fit Guide"

Monday, November 18, 2013

Last Minute Fix

Well dont'cha know, it's gettin' to be dat time of year again! Gotta put down da rod and pick up da rifle, it's deer season up nort' in my home state of Wisconsin! See, I'm polishing up on my accent so I don't sound like an outsider, ya know! Before I hit the road for my 1,000 mile journey, I needed to get back on the water one more time, one more last minute fix! 

I met my good buddy and fellow pro staffer, Rob Choi for a night time speckled trout session. Winds were next to nothing, water was a mirrored image of the surrounding shoreline, and expectations were high for the night ahead.
Ok, no time for the detailed description of each fish that was caught on what and how. We threw an array of lures from topwater, soft plastics, crankbaits, and mirrolures. I had my best luck trolling crankbaits and making bomb casts with my sinking Mirrolure. The night was not gangbusters by any means, but I caught around 10 trout up to 22.5".

William Ragulsky and YakAttack's Dan Smullen joined Rob and I not long after we launched, and they wasted no time getting into fish. I don't know the exact number that they got, William just told me that they caught "an @$$ load between 18" - 20", with Dan catching a solid 23.5"." Sounds good to me!

Dan's fat 23.5" trout. Photo credit: William Ragulsky

Rob also got into some good trout before he had to call it quits. This trip for Rob was just a "time killer" since his main goal is to finish off his quest for Virginia's "Expert Angler". He needs to catch one more species citation to complete it. Check out angling-addict to follow his tough journey.

All in all, I can't complain about the impromptu trip. Everybody got into good fish, the night was peaceful, and a few guys shared some laughs and told some stories. I'll be absent from my kayak for a couple weeks due to my upcoming Wisconsin deer hunting trip. It will be weird not to be fishing, but it will awesome to peg some deers and drink some beers with my buddies from da nort'! Oh yeah, my accent hasn't gone anywhere, YA KNOW!

~See ya on da water!

Tip of the Week: Slow Your Roll

Just because the water has cooled off doesn't mean that you have to give up on spinnerbaits. In cooler water, bass can still be aggressive and hit a fast burning spinnerbait. What you may find though is
that most bass are sluggish and prefer a slower presentation. Try letting your spinnerbait hit the bottom before you bring it back to the kayak. As you retrieve it, reel it just fast enough to keep the blades spinning but also maintaining bottom contact. This works exceptionally well around wood and rocks. Slow rolling a spinnerbait in cold water is a great way to put big fish in the boat!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Veterans Day Doubleheader

Bass fishing or deer hunting, bass fishing or deer hunting?...
Hell with it, it's Veterans Day and I'm going to do both because I can!

On this Veterans Day, I decided to spend my time on the water and in the woods instead of on the couch or at the desk. Feeling care-free, this is how I decided to go about my day:
  • Sleep in
  • Bass fish in the morning
  • Bowhunt in the afternoon 
  • Cocktail hour to top it all off
Normally I would wake up well before sunrise to catch the early morning bite, but not this time. I didn't want to hear any alarm clock, rooster, dog, nothing! This day was supposed to be stress free with zero deadlines. So I went about it just like that, careless as careless could be. Ya know what...I loved every minute of it!
I was greeted with bright blue skies and a reflection on the water that instantly made you think you were in a different world. I took my time loading and launching my PredatorMX with the hopes of catching a couple of bass while not worrying about anything. I worked spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and jerkbaits the first couple of hours to no avail. The bass must have been in the same "chill mode" that I was in, because they didn't want to do anything that entailed work! It was a good time to play off my relaxed and care-free attitude and slow it down a bit. I texas rigged one of my favorite worms and started chucking it to the base of cyprus trees. Jackpot!
These fish couldn't deny a slow moving meal. During the last hour on the water, I landed 3 bass up to 19". Even a couple small pickerel couldn't resist the texas rigged snack.
I'm a sucker for fall colors and observing nature in it's purest form. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try and capture my thought process while using the lens of my camera.
After a quick turn at the house and a swap of gear, it was on to the deer woods. Check this out...I was sitting in my deer stand for what felt like an eternity (actually 4 hours total), and the craziest thing happened to me. I heard some leaves moving off to my left, but didn't see anything. I looked around to my right and didn't see anything. Then when I finally looked behind me, I finally saw it. There stood a big...fat....tall...NOTHING at all! I didn't see anything besides hundreds of leaves falling to the ground and a parade of grey squirrels acting like they were all hoped up on Mountain Dew. Bummer!
That was it, my happy-go-lucky Veterans Day was in the books. I would be messing up if I didn't give credit where credit is due. Saying this not only as an American, but also as a veteran, thank you to those that have served, are actively serving, and to those that one day will take the oath to support and defend our great nation. Please, don't forget about these men and women the other 364 days of the year. Currently on active duty, I can tell you that there is nothing better than having somebody randomly tell you, "Sir, thank you for your service." Sometimes it's those little things that keeps us going with a smile.
Cheers to our Veterans! 
~See ya on the water!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Tip of the Week: Smartphone Apps

It's almost impossible NOT to see somebody on a smartphone in this day and age. Well, if you're one of those smartphone users that have not caught on to some useful tools that can be used on the water, you're behind the power curve! Many apps out there (Fishweather, Scoutlook, Navionics) are available at your finger tips to help you plan your next angling adventure. From tide charts, wind forecasts, solunar data, navigation, etc, these apps have it all. Some apps may a cost a few dollars, but they're well worth it. Before you take your next trip, do yourself a favor and browse around the app store on your phone and check out some of these apps. You will be glad that you did!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Legend of the Flats

As you travel from the early years to the modern day, you can recall certain individuals that helped you down the path of your angling journey. I guess you could say "mentor" or "teacher" but however you want to label it, we all know somebody that fits that title. In the beginning of my kayak fishing adventure, I was fortunate enough to meet one those individuals.

While running a string of crab traps with a lone junky fishing rod sticking up out of my milk crate, along came a paddler sporting a t-shirt with cut off sleeves in a 14 yellow kayak with a matching yellow crate holding only a couple of rods...that was it. I thought to myself, "Here comes another new kayak fisherman like myself." After a short conversation with the speckled trout guru, I immediately realized that Forrest Short was no rookie!
Since that day, hundreds of hours were spent on the flats chasing the beautiful sea trout. Throughout that time, I reached out to Forrest for advice on many different occasions. After every text message and email I would walk away with a little more "mojo" than I did before hand, knowing that the advice that I received was like sacred treasure. 
Recently, with the weather and kitchen passes working in unison, Joe Underwood and I were able to meet up with Forrest for a pre-cold front flats attack. To be honest, I don't know what I was more excited for...hooking up with some nice trout or sharing the water with a guy that I highly respected.

Would you know it, Forrest was the first one to strike with a nice 25" citation speckled trout before the sun even came up. Not soon after, Forrest nails another one, and another! Before the sun could even wipe the sleep from it's eye, the "trout whisperer" himself had 3 citations before I landed a fish.

Forrest with a nice 26" release citation, his 31st of the year!
3rd citation of the day. 24.25"

While Joe was landing his biggest speckled trout of the year, I hooked into a nice schoolie striper. After that, the fishing slowed to a snails pace and that was all she wrote. All in all, we all caught nice stripers and speckled trout before we threw in the towel.
Myself with a 25" striper and Joe with a beautiful 26" release citation speckled trout

This wasn't about the number of fish we caught or about the one that got away, it was all about absorbing the many subtleties and tidbits of information from a guy who has probably forgotten more than I'll ever know about flats fishing. If once thing is for certain, I'll always appreciate the paddler with the cut off sleeves who took the time to help a new guy out.
~See ya on the water!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tip of the Week: Crazy Alberto Knot

If you're one of the many anglers that attaches their fluorocarbon leader to their braid with a big barrel swivel or a bulky knot, there is a better solution for you. The Crazy Alberto Knot eliminates bulk without sacrificing strength. The super skinny diameter coupled with superb knot strength gives the angler a chance to run as long of a leader as they desire because the knot passes through the guides of the rod with ease. Check out this video of "Crazy Alberto Knie" himself demonstrating the knot: