Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Priorities

As a dedicated kayak angler, one can get caught up in their own journey that's filled with personal goals. Picture a horse getting ready to run a race with blinders on...seeing the big prize in front of them. They're focused on the prize out in front, but sometimes miss the one's off to the side. There is nothing wrong with setting goals that you want to achieve, but sometimes you have to take those blinders off to realize what you're missing.
 
 
For those Dads out there, you know how special it is when your son or daughter shares the water and your passion with you. My daughter, Alci Lu, is your typical 13 year old girl; creative, music, Instagram, and "I" products comes to mind, along with trying to be "independent" which sometimes doesn't work out too good for the parent & child social setting, if you know what I mean.
 
No matter what the occasion is, I LOVE paddling my kayak! It can be for fishing, hunting, crabbing, exercise, whatever...I downright LOVE it! A lot of the time I find myself loading one kayak, one paddle, one pfd...you get the idea.  This time I doubled it, and I could not have been more excited.
 
 
Alci and I used our free afternoon to get out of the house to enjoy the amazing weather. It was the perfect time to have a nice paddle. There were no distractions, weigh-ins, or a ton of gear to deal with. The blinders were off and it was...
 
A father, his daughter, and everything else
 

We paddled to a small beach to take a little break, all the while enjoying the salty breeze and spring time sun. Alci decided when she wanted to continue on, and when she wanted to take a break. We were without a schedule and in no hurry.

Increasing winds played into our decision to paddle back. I know I don't like fighting 15+ mph winds, and I was sure Alci wouldn't be a fan of it either. The both of us knew it was going to take a while to paddle back so we just relaxed and rolled with it.

As our adventure drew to a close, I was left with a feeling of "thanks". I was thankful for the opportunity to take my daughter paddling. I was thankful for the weather cooperating for an afternoon. Lastly I was thankful that my daughter wanted to spend some time her Dad, even though it may not be the "coolest" thing to do. Thank you Alci Lu, I had a blast! I won't forget it.



The following day was your typical Sunday. I cooked a big breakfast, ran some errands, did yard work, and had a nice dinner. When it was time for mother/daughter movie theatre time, I seized the opportunity to get on the water for an hour before the sun went down. I would say it paid off...
 
19.25"


19.5"



When I fish a small window, such as 1 hour of sunlight left, I don't experiment. Confidence baits are the key to success. I tried a Zara Spook for 5 minutes hoping that a post spawn/last light topwater bite would happen, but it didn't. Knowing the fish were there, I didn't want to waste time. I got my first bite immediately after I switched to a PowerTeam Lures 6" Gator in red shad. The two bites I had that evening resulted in two nice bass. Score!

Knowing what my short term and long term goals are for my kayak fishing journey helps me weave through distractions while focusing on overall success. I will always have a certain goal or many goals, that will never change. That is what fuels my fire and makes me become more of a proficient angler. Even with my goals in front of me, the blinders are off with my priorities taking, well...

priority.


~See ya on the water!



Monday, April 21, 2014

Good Company


If you read the last post, "Spring Flingin", you know that it was once again time for YakAttack's 6th Annual Kayak Fishing Tournament. Of all the tournaments and events that are added to the calendar each year, this tournament is the one event that I look forward to the most...
 
BY FAR!
 
With all the craziness of prepping a house to put up for sale and getting mentally ready for a huge move across country, this trip was exactly what I needed to clear the mind and relieve some stress. Yes, I was looking forward to chasing some big bass, but I really just wanted to have a good time with good company.
 
From left to right: Rob Choi, Joe Underwood, and Nik Brown
 
Instead of setting up "Camp Schwigy" like I have done for the previous 2 years, I changed it up and stayed at "The PowerTeam Lures Plantation". Bob and Katie Bernotsky were gracious enough to have a lot of PowerTeam Lures ProStaff at their place for the event.
 
I arrived the Thursday prior to the tournament to get in some good pre-fishing time. Joe Underwood (Hooked Up) and I hit a local lake and tried out spots that the both of us have never fished before. With the recent cold front that moved through the day before, we knew it was going to be tough. Our goal was to find some warmer water. Not only did we find some warmer water, we found some big ole' bass hanging out in the shallows. Joe Underwood nailed a solid 5+ pounder on a PowerTeam Lures Craw D'oeuvre in green pumpkin/grape swirl.
 
 
I wish tournament day was on Thursday because I had a great day. I landed 7 bass all together with one being my new personal best, a 23" Virginia release citation. She couldn't resist the PowerTeam Lures Bully Grass Devil in black/blue.





The turnout for the tournament was amazing! 129 registered anglers packed the conference center at Twin Lakes State Park. This venue was perfect for the captains meeting, dinners, raffle, and awards ceremony.

Tina Shank (tournament director) speaking at the Captain's Meeting

As usual, the conditions for tournament day were less than ideal. It was chilly and windy, making fishing some of the pre-planned spots very difficult. Instead of waking up super early to beat the crowd to the ramp, we took more of a relaxed approach. Joe Underwood, Rob Choi, Nik Brown, and I decided to sleep in and pretty much said "we'll get there when we get there". You know what...it was awesome!

Rob Choi from angling-addict.com on the hunt

Well, even though the fishing was nothing like it was during pre-fishing, I was still able to get on the board. I entered a 19.25" bass and a 7" bluegill. The bass fell a 1/2" short of placing in the "PowerTeam Lures Prize Money" division and my bluegill came in 4th in the bluegill division.

If one thing holds true about the YakAttack tournament, it's that the food is downright AWESOME! The Cifers family and crew make sure that all the anglers are well fed both Friday and Saturday. I don't know of any other tournament that feeds their people like this one does.



 
Congratulations to all the winners of the event! Without a doubt, the biggest winners are Hero's on the Water and Project Healing Waters. The final numbers are not in yet, but the tournament raised over $10,000 towards both charitys! That is purely remarkable!!
 
Hopefully the absent spring weather comes back to continue to warm our waters. The spring fishing is not far from blowing up! I'm ready to get back in the salt and chase some redfish and speckled trout...hopefully with some good company.
 
~See ya on the water!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Flingin'

 
Man, you have to love mother nature and all of her critters. Homo sapiens are not the only ones who like to exchange the winter coat out for a pair of shorts and flip flops. Bright sunny spring days rejuvenate all living things alike. Ducks are paired up, birds are on nests, turtles are running trains on each other, and kayak fisherman have the spring bite overtaking the mind. Yeah, this time of year is pretty awesome!
 

Having completed the majority of my projects at the home front, it was only fitting to dust off the Predator MX and break out the brand spankin' new "Hooked" Werner Cyprus paddle. I decided to stay close to home since I still had minor chores left to do in preparation to putting my house on the market.

One thing I love about this particular lake is that I'm normally blessed to observe nature in it's purest form. My Nikon DSLR is just as important and my fishing rods. I know that sounds crazy, but once you start capturing those "moments", you will know where I'm coming from. On this beautiful day, I was able to get in a little bass fishing in between closing the shutter. Here are the highlights of the day:





The water in this lake is pretty stained so it heats up quicker than a lot of lakes. The eastern side of the lake gets more sun exposure which means it heats up quicker. Where do you think I found new beds with chunky bass guarding them? Yup, you guessed it!

These fish were not easy to catch by any means! The few that I was able to piss off enough fell victim to the PowerTeam Lures Conviction Craw. Both green pumpkin with blue swirl and black with red flake blue swirl did the trick. I threw lizards, worms, creatures, etc...you name it, I threw it. The Conviction Craw was the only bait that could entice a strike. The key was persistence and not giving in.


 

Well, that was fun to say the least! What's going to be even more fun is the YakAttack tournament this upcoming weekend in Farmville, Virginia. This is one event that I look forward to every year. Even though the tournament is more about the camaraderie compared to competition,  I still have to bring my "A" game. I mean, I have my 2013 "Slam" title to defend. We will see what happens...

~See ya on the water!