Sunday, September 14, 2014

Breaking in the New Toy

 
Fisherman are no different than little kids...

Kids like to play with their new toys when they get them, and

fisherman like to play with new toys after, well...when they get them!!

IMMEDIATELY AFTER THEY GET THEM!!!



The new lime camo Old Town Predator 13 is one awesome looking kayak! Everybody knows it handles great in the ponds, rivers, and lakes...but how does she do offshore? Well, there is only one way to find out! 

I decided to break her in for a few hours before the Sunday football games. The gulf had 2-3' swells, steady easterly wind, and surf that was a wee little sporty. It wasn't ideal conditions, but I wanted to see how the Predator handled it. 

Just as I imagined, I punched through a few small sets of surf and it was off to the troll. I got to the 40' range and started my course. It didn't take long before the duster rigged cigar minnow was in the mouth of a hungry king.


This guy measure 29" at the fork. I thought about keeping him but I didn't

 feel like cleaning fish on football sunday.

I kept up the troll and picked up a couple more smaller kings.

The water was fairly choppy and it was getting late in the day, so I headed back to the beach. On

 the way back in, BANG!!
 

 This king was not small! He may not be a true "smoker", but this guy put my 

reel to the test with metal burning runs.




Right after I released this fish, both of my batteries died on my cameras. My replacement batteries are hanging out in Davey Jones locker from a few weeks ago. Oh well! I ended the day with 3 king mackerel and 2 spanish mackerel. I caught the spanish back to back after the nice king. 

So, the Old Town Predator 13 in the surf and wide open ocean...no problem! It is a big boat, but it handled the swells and waves with ease. Any water that entered the cockpit was quickly drained out in the multiple scuppers. I was impressed! This kayak is going to see the gulf a lot more in the future! Stay tuned...

~See ya on the water!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Quickie in the Gulf

 
Ever since the last time I was in the gulf, my mind has not been the same. I had constant thoughts of smokin' drags, gin clear water, and pods of bait getting busted everywhere...it's been mental torture!

I MUST GET BACK IN THE GULF!

Just for the hell of it, I checked my Fishweather app while having a "cold one" one night. I almost wanted it to be crappy out so I could take care of personal stuff. Anyways, the weather forecast looked more appealing than the latest nudey magazine. Aww crap, time to pack the truck for the next morning's quickie in the gulf.
      


I launched bright and early and headed out to catch a few live baits. I added a half dozen live bait to the quiver and rigged up my trolling rigs. It didn't take 15 minutes before my drag was burning. I grabbed the rod, engaged the lever on my Thunnus reel, and hooked up. Just as I felt heavy weight, POP! I must have had a kink in the wire leader because that broke like 4lb mono. Later on fishy!

I added a new duster setup using Tactical Anglers clips and I was back in action. 

It didn't take long before the drag was getting smoked again.  Yeah buddy!



It was awesome landing my first mackerel! In all honesty, the length of the fish does not measure up to the runs that this fished gave me. The fight was totally different compared what I'm used to. The fight was fast, intense, and I wanted it to happen again! Guess what, it did!



 
I was headed to a bottom spot but the macks kept trying to slow me down...not like I was complaining. I got to the spot and could see baitfish along with some snapper suspended off the bottom. I put the trolling rods away and grabbed the rod with a rigged weightless circle hook and started throwing chunks of cut bait.

"HERE FISHY FISHY FISHY!"


I threw out my chunked circle hook into the mix...

 Watch it slowly sink...

Wait for it...


Just above the left paddle blade you can see the suspended snapper, about 10 feet down.

 Wait for it...

Wait for it...

FISH ON!



HOLY CRAP do these fish fight! Straight up CHAOS the minute I came tight. I thought the drag on my Stradic FJ 5000 was smoked down, I guess not! It felt like there was a monster truck hooked to the end of my line!


 
 

   



 After a quick photo op and release of the beautiful red snapper, it was time to get back in the ring.

ROUND 2...FIGHT




King Macks...Red Snapper...I'm in Angling Heaven!

I was having so much fun that I lost track of time.
 
I said that I was only going to fish the morning for a few hours.

Well, it was time to head back in.

On the troll back to the launch was the ever so familiar "ZINGGGGG!"


 

 

Shortly after catching the nice king mackerel, my battery in my camera died. 

I ended up catching a few more kings along the way

I made it back to launch with a smile, a smell of fish, and more

knowledge of the local gulf species. It's going to happen again soon...VERY SOON!


~See ya on the water!




Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Labor Day Plans


 Plan A: Surf launch into the Gulf for kings, snapper, cobia, etc

Plan B: Try for speckled trout at a couple spots I scoped out from "internet scouting"

I decided on the morning of Labor Day that it would be a good day to get on the water. Being hell bent on getting as much time offshore as possible, I loaded up and headed off to the beach. Red flag conditions with 11+ mph winds yielded strong surf with fairly large waves. Long story short, this was not the day to do a solo surf launch. Time for Plan B.

Being the stubborn angler that I am, I wasn't about to give up on trying to get some quality pullage. Since Plan A was a total bust, I needed to stop off at the house to exchange the offshore gear for much lighter, inshore tackle. After a quick pit stop and quick turn, it was off to a nearby launch. Time for Plan B.

Expectations were fairly low in all honesty. The sun was high and hot, and the boat traffic was beyond crazy. It was Labor Day and the insanity was to be expected. Since I was a young boy, I hated dealing with jet skis while I'm fishing. For some reason they think that they can get as close as they want to any boat or kayak. Well, if I can hit you with a lure, you can bet your @$$ that it's coming your way...just saying!

I got to the salt n' peppered grass flat and tried out my new Tactical Anglers Crossover walk-the-dog style topwater lure. With my mind locked in the sun-beaten mental euphoria, my bait stopped at the same time I heard something on the surface. "Oh yeah, that's a fish!" The relentless headshake instantly screamed "speckled trout". However, this 20" class fish decided that he didn't want to be on camera and dropped off the hook as he was yanked into the boat. Oh well, at least I know they're here!

A short while later, this time on an Unfair Lures Rip-n-Slash, I felt a different type of strike. I knew right away that it was not a trout. It didn't take long before this fish went for the clouds. Yup, it was the "poor man's tarpon"...ladyfish.


 Next up was a stout speckled trout.

This guy inhaled one of my favorite "search" lures

The PowerTeam Lures Swinging Hammer swimbait has a water thumpin' tail

 that is second to none!

Seriously, this paddle tail awesome.  You have to try em!


 Having located an active grass flat loaded with bait and fish, it only made sense to throw...

TOPWATER!

Throwing topwater is my version of Xbox. 

The near couple of hours yielded numerous blow ups and fish in the boat
 
 

23" trout on topwater

With these fish located, I didn't want to spook the flat more than I had to.

Time to stakeout the kayak with the YakAttack 8' Park n' Pole and wade the flat

  There is no better way to go after big trout than to silently wade...stealthy ninja style!


Not to shabby for the first time in this body of water. Can't complain with double digit hook ups and specked trout between 20" - 23". I will say that speckled trout are some of my favorite fish to target. I fell in love with this species while fishing the grass flats of Tidewater Virginia. Plus it helped having some of the best teachers around. Next is either surf launching or going after big reds. Either way...

~See ya on the water!