Monday, September 26, 2016

Emerald Coast Professional Redfish Series...September 24th Event

Striking out during the June event for the Emerald Coast Professional Redfish Series (ECPRS) didn't set too well with me...which is putting it nicely!
 
The second event for myself, third for the series, was an opportunity to lick the wounds, bounce back, and get redemption. Like the last time, Marty Mood and I teamed up for the event. I always love fishing the Panama City area. There is no shortage of water and wilderness to explore.
 
 
Pre-fishing, as usual, was very successful.
 
 Marty and I scouted maps and traveled uneven roads which yielded what we were looking for.
 
Both Marty and I landed speckled trout over 23"...
 

 
 
Photo Credit: Marty Mood
 
Once we had the trout dialed in, it was time to search for bull reds.
 
Our first spot was a bust. No bait, no bulls, no action, no good...next!
 
The second spot had birds working bait schools which was visible from the highway.
 
Marty headed out first as I was trying to cool off and rehydrate since I was fighting a flu.
 
The headstart that Marty got paid off with a beautiful 42" Florida bull red...
 
 
I quickly got in on the action.
 
After a quick pedal with the Old Town Predator PDL to the birds, you could see bull reds killing anything in their path.
 
 
A quick cast and a few twitches of a Super Spook and I was hooked up...
 
 
Headshake, power-run, repeat!
 
After the third run, the hook pulled...
 
F#&%!
 
 
That was how pre-fishing would end. Tournament day rolled around and we stuck to the pattern from the day before; trout spot first and bull red spot second.
 
When it's tournament time, I normally don't roll with Go-Pros (hence the lack of photos). I opt for the least amount of "stuff" on the kayak when the rubber meets the road.
 
In the first two hours of the day, I had a 19" trout and a 23.5" redfish. I knew 42.5" wouldn't win, but I was at least on the board with an aggregate length to build upon.
 
Marty managed to pull a 19.5" trout and a 23.5" redfish to edge me out by a 1/2" at our first spot.
 
Our second spot had bull reds.  We watched a couple bulls get hooked up, just not on our ends.
 
That's how the day would close.
 
Photo Credit: Benton Parrot
 
The totals were in and would you know it, I took 6th...one place from the money!
 
D@#n you Marty! (just kidding.)
 
Congrats to the winners of the tournament.
 
The 4th and final event is the 2 day Championship is November 5th and 6th.
 
Until then...
 
See ya on the water!
 
 


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Old Town Predator PDL...KING ME!

"If I had a dollar for every time I have given my "pedaling" friends hell, I would be a rich man!"
 
Earlier this year at ICast, Old Town Canoe and Kayaks released a new version of the high-end angling Predator series. No it was not another model propelled by paddle or by motor, but the long awaited pedal version. The Old Town Predator "PDL" made a big splash into the kayak fishing scene by winning the 2016 "Best Boat" award at ICast, not a small feat to say the least!
 
 

Those that know me in the kayak fishing arena know that I LOVE paddling! I truly love efficiently maneuvering a kayak by the means of a quality paddle. That will never change, I will always paddle a kayak. On the flip side of that equation, I also know that a pedal driven kayak has it's advantages! When I was informed that a Predator PDL was on it's way to the Bekolay house, I was beyond excited! I couldn't wait to get this kayak rigged up to take on the waters in the Florida Panhandle.
 
 
 
I wasted no time rigging this boat up with YakAttack GearTrac on the mounting plates for my YakAttack Dogbone and Panfish camera mounts. It honestly took more time getting my tools together than it did with the installation of these accessories. The morning that followed rigging day was forecasted to be cloudy with a mid morning wind shift...great conditions for an offshore trolling bite!
 
 
I was welcome by a beautiful sunrise peaking through the thick blanket of clouds. The salty breeze aroused the harbored excitement for the upcoming adventure. Mornings like these are truly what an angler dreams of. The stage was set for the PDL's "Maiden Voyage" and the opportunity to see how it handled the Gulf of Mexico.
 
 
First step of the day watch to catch bait. Finding bait was one thing, find quality was another! Numerous small hardtails and only 5 cigar minnows were the only morsels swimming in my bait tube.
  
 
I was trolling two lines; one with an 8' leader of 50lb fluorocarbon snelled to a 7/0 circle hook tipped with a hardtail (sailfish setup), and the other with a wire double hook duster king rig tipped with a cigar minnow (everything else setup). It didn't take long before the reel on hardtail rig started singing. Just as quick at the baitrunner was ripping out, it stopped...cut line equals toothy king.
 
A short time later the fluorocarbon leader with circle hook was taken again, this time I hooked up and caught a nice sized king. He found his way into the death cooler to be used on the smoker. Speaking of "smoker"...
 
The first strike on the duster rig was a good one! My baitrunner was singing so loud I thought my ears were going to bleed! Once the reel was engaged, I could feel that this was no small fish.
 



 
It didn't take long for this fish to rip most of the line off of my 6000 series spool. The nice part of the PDL was I was able to maintain pressure on the fish but also use the pedals to close the gap to gain some line back. I figured it had to be a big king with the blistering runs it was making. Once I saw length and color, I knew it was indeed a good one! I normally don't gaff kings, but I wanted to make sure that this one got to visit the inside of the PDL.
 


 
With the death cooler loaded with kingfish meat, I started to make way back to the beach. The bite was steady all day long. I ended up landing 2 nice Spanish mackerel on the way in to add to the meat haul total. I was running low on smoked mackerel fillets that I use in fish dip so I was pretty stoked to stuff the cooler bag. Smoked fish dip is one of my favorite snacks for football season, just FYI.
 
  

Alright, first impression of the Old Town Predator PDL;
  • The seat is higher on this model compared to previous Predators. Don't let that fool ya, this boat is stable! In 1-2' swells and wind, I never felt like my center of gravity too high. In fact, it almost felt like a chair which was very easy on my back and legs. Not to mention there is still a pouch on the back but now there is also a nice pouch under the seat. Perfect for sabiki rigs, gloves, sunblock, etc.
  • Plenty of storage! The forward hatch is a great size. There is a small hatch built into the drive just aft of the pedals. The hatch stayed fairly dry even after a few big waves and surf came over the side walls and bow. There is also access to the mid hull just aft of the seat. Another great area for storage.
  • The PDL drive itself is well designed. The pedals are smooth and the gearing is just right for the prop. The drive is not light, but you wouldn't want it light because of the quality of the build. This is maintenance free and it feels like it. Going in reverse is awesome! I didn't need this feature on this day, but when I do (at the bridge, by docks, etc) it will come in handy.
  • The rudder system is really nice. The steering controls for the rudder are on the left while the lever to deploy and retract the rudder is on the right. Both controls are very smooth without any binding.
  • Speed! Yes, this boat is FAST! I was shocked how quick this boat would drive into the wind and current. With the wind at your back, you can really fly!
  • The steering is not "set it and forget it". You do have to pay attention to the rudder controls because strong current and waves will alter the course and throw off your tracking if you're not paying attention.
Overall, I was really impressed with the Old Town Predator PDL! This boat will be in my lineup without a doubt. Priced at $2,799, you get a lot of boat packed with features that is priced better than most of it's peers. Check out the new PDL, you won't be disappointed! For more information, click on this link, Old Town Predator PDL.
 


See ya on the water!
 
 
GEAR USED:
 
Rods: All Pro Rods, Shimano, Ugly Stick
Reels: Shimano Thunnus 6000 Ci4, Shimano Baitrunner 6000, Shimano Sradic FJ
Line: 50lb Power Pro, 50 lb Fluorocarbon leader
Lures: Double hook Duster king rigs w/ wire leader, fluorocarbon leader snelled to 7/0 circle hooks
Kayak: Old Town Predator PDL
Paddle: Werner Paddles 240cm "Hooked" Cyprus
Apparel: Kokatat Trunks, Kokatat Paddling Shirt
PFD: Kokatat Bahia Predator
Accessories: YakAttack Geartrac, YakAttack Dogbone and Panfish camera mounts,  RAM X-Grip

For more information on the Gear Used, please click on the logos located on the right side of the page.