Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'm back!

Hey everyone! It's been a year since I have posted. Many different aspects have kept me from throwing my thoughts on the blog, and I'll save you the headache of reading into them. While I haven't had a ton of fishing trips lately, I have had a couple of good days. I am starting off my return with a review of a great rod that I picked up recently and have fell in love with it. 

A friend and fellow kayak angler has recently purchased a bait and tackle shop. If you are in the Lake Wylie area, you should stop in and check out Adam Fillmore over at Lake Wylie Bait and Tackle. Whether you are looking for some new gear, an old favorite bait, or even some good advice or reports, he has what you need, and will probably throw in a little sarcasm for free. 

I was in the market for a new spinning rod for some finesse fishing, and I honestly didn't know which way to go. I have fished a St. Croix Mojo rod, a Field and Stream Tec-Spec, and a few others. While they all had a lot of pros, they had their cons. Adam turned me over to 13 Fishing's Omen series. I am thoroughly impressed. I picked up a 7'1" M Omen Black, and it is amazing! I have fished it with weightless flukes, Texas rigged trick worms and senkos, even with pop-r's, and I haven't been in a situation yet where I wasn't happy with the results. 

The biggest surprise occured while fishing a t-rigged worm over Lilly pads and hooked in to a good 2.5 pounder. The hook set felt great, and using braid I wasn't concerned with the line. The surprise came first with the sensitivity. I felt the bite on the fall with certainty and the rod gave me plenty of backbone to fight through the pads. 

I have had no issues with hook set, even with twitching weightless plastics. The casting comes remarkably easy, especially being paired with a 2500 series Shimano reel. 

The over the top factor is the price point. At $100, this rod is in my opinion the best for your buck. I have fished with less expensive and more expensive rods, but this brand has my loyalty now and for years to come! 

Check them out at and they are on Facebook and twitter as @13fishing. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Catching Up....

Between work, a new puppy, and the brutal heat wave that has set in over the southeast US, I haven't posted in a while. I figure I'll post a general writeup encompassing the last few outings that I have had.

One of the most rewarding parts of kayak fishing is introducing new blood to the sport. I have had the luxury of paddling with some of the o.g. paddlers from this area and also a few that I have gotten in a kayak for the first time myself. Kayak fishing isn't for everyone. It can be a lot of work sometimes, fighting wind, current, rocks, trees and heat. If you don't think it's that big of a deal, come on out and paddle with us hardcore boys this summer. 100 degree heat and fighting current on the lake because someone decided they needed to open the dam at 9:00 am. Makes for a tough day of fishing. But you hook into that one good fish. That 6 pound largemouth, or that 2-3 pound spotted bass, or maybe that 8 pound catfish. You hook into one of those, and it makes all the work worth while.

What about those secluded honey holes? The ones where you have to walk a mile and a half through briar patches and thorn vines, through a forest that has seen no more than 5 people in the last 2 years. You know what I'm talking about. You know there are 7 pound plus fish in there. You have caught them once or twice over the years, but you know if you get a boat in there, it's gonna be on! You drag a kayak and gear back there and you are sweating before the sun comes up, but the end result is a great day on the water. Add in a friend who doesn't kayak fish often and gains a new found respect for it, and you've got yourself one hell of a weekend.

Small waters can be a blast! We had a great time and got on some fish. This was the day after we had a good run on the Catawba down in South Carolina. We headed down to Landsford Canal State Park for some afternoon fishing in the moving waters around some shoals. We put the yaks in and started to paddle through the rocky section to the center of the river when we saw a minnow or shad skipping across the water. Scott cast twice before he landed a good 3+ bass. Second cast of the day and we had boated a good bass, looked like it was gonna shape into a fantastic day. My first cast was to the same area but 50 or 60 feet upstream at the start of the rocky run and I landed a keeper as well.

On the very next cast Scott lands a 4+ and we thought it was gonna be lights out. We fished the eddies and holes around this section for 20 or 30 minutes more and just had no luck. We paddled upstream against the current and fished banks and shoals for a few hours total. We decided to go up stream so we would have that easy paddle on the way back. I had next to no luck until we came up to a downed tree on the west bank. The sun was past the treeline so there was some shade on this side of the river. Scott mentioned he never really fished this stretch because they hadn't caught much through there. I pitched my worm into the end of that tree and felt that "bump." When I set the hook I thought I had snagged a limb, until I felt that pull. Scott thought I ripped a limb out of the tree when I was reeling that fish in. Ended up being a good 3+ bass and even got a little airborn show on the way to the boat.

That was it for the rest of the day. We fished our way up and back to the launch, and the heat just had these fish tucked in tight to cover. But we had a great day nonetheless.

I will be putting forth a better effort to get more posts up and going as I get more fishing time in. I have been really slack about it but I need to get my butt in gear. One of my goals is to get into larger tournaments and spreading the word about kayak fishing and bass fishing in general. One of my inspirations is Takatoshi Murase. He is an awesome bass angler out of Tokyo Japan. Check out his page and look at all the love and passion he is spreading worldwide for our sport and fishing in general. He is also an elite angler for Bass Brigade, who I am a HUGE fan of. And today 7-7-12 they are releasing their new line of apparel. Their line is designed by anglers for anglers who want to show some style while bassin. Kind of a street scene style meets bass fishing, and its completely kick ass. Check 'em out at Bass Brigade

Working Setups: 
 Field and Stream Tec Spec Rod 7'MH Fast Spinning
           Pflueger Trion GX-7 Reel
           PowerPro 15 lb Braided Line
           Texas Rigged Green Pumpkin Magnum Finesse Worm

6'6" Quantum Bill Dance Combo M Fast Casting Setup
         BPS Excel 12lb Test Monofilament
         XPS Squarebill Crankbait - Shallow Crank in Blue Gill

Monday, April 30, 2012

Tournament #2

Following last weekends tournament, I figured I would post at least a small write-up. What a day. First off, congrats to my buddy Bob "toba" Dainton for pulling out the victory. It was a tough day of fishing all around, with a single 20" fish bringing in first prize.

The weather was horrible for spring time fishing. Started the morning out cold, and it never really warmed up. We had a solid wind churning all day, and it was overcast as well. I only managed to bring in 2 small bass, one at 12 3/4 and one right at 12. With this being a big fish tournament, only one fish was needed, but mine just weren't big enough. I stuck with my guns and kept banging a shaky head jig rigged with a couple of different color worms. Lucky enough to catch a couple of fish, just not lucky enough to place this time around. My fellow hardcore brethren had an equally challenging day as well. Bo only brought one to the boat, while Stew had a better day, bringing in 4. However, the experience in all of this was great, as again it was an excellent way to raise some much needed funds for Heroes On the Water.

If you haven't checked them out yet, they are here.......Heroes On the Water
NCKFA has been great in fund raising and putting on great tournaments.....North Carolina Kayak Fishing Association

Sorry for the lack of pictures. I was more into keeping my hands warm this time around. I will try to scrape up some pictures from around the interwebs to post up.

Remember, conservation and youth education are the key to keeping our sport and passion alive and well!

Tight Lines!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Carolina Yakfish Tournament: Shearon Harris Lake

Been a good while since I have posted on here. I have been back and forth to Texas a few times for job training, and haven't been fishing as much as I would like, but that's life I suppose.

Had a couple of good outings, but none to write home about. I did get to do some trout fishing with my wife back in February. We visited the mountains for our anniversary, and we had a great time catching about 7 lbs of trout, which are mighty tasty by the way.

Had a great day on the water in March searching for prespawn bass. The weather in NC has been mild all winter, and has had the fish staging early this year. So Stew and I hit a few areas we found fish last year, and it did not disappoint this year. The only good fish I caught I had to work to catch. Saw a few other nice size bass scanning the flats, but just couldn't get them to bite.

Worked that bank behind me with a shaky head for nearly 20 minutes to get this one to bite. That tattoo on my arm is Japanese for "Passion Makes No Border." It is the motto of a fishing buddy of mine from Tokyo, Japan. Check him out on facebook, Takatoshi Murase, or his global fishing experience of Crush TV.

The Tournament: 4-14-2012

Carolina Yakfish tournaments are always a great time, and the money raised for Heroes On the Water is what it is all about. I arrived at around 5:40, and it was COLD. A couple of guys had a fire going by the waters edge, and it was a welcome site. Slowly all the anglers arrived, and we watched at least 3 bass boat tournaments stage and take off while we were getting ready. 42 anglers showed up, the largest turnout for a Yakfish event yet. AWESOME!

Picture courtesy of Jason Scott

 We got cranking at 7:00 am, and final boats were in a bit before 3:00 pm. There were some awesome fish caught, and quite a few people had no luck at all. I think most everyone had a decent time, and at least got a few laughs in, so all in all a great event. 

I had no luck early. I threw topwater frogs, zara spooks, tubes, jigs, worms, and a few other baits to no avail. About 8:30 I finally had a bite on a shaky head. I pitched it into the end of a downed tree, and before the bait hit the bottom, my line started moving. I tightened the slack, set the hook hard, and started to reel. When the fish got about 6 feet from the boat, he gave me an aerial. 15-17 inces, keeper! However, during the aerial, he threw the hook. So my first hookset nets nothing. I continued on this pattern for another 45 minutes to an hour without another bite. I took a stretch break and while I was on the shore, I noticed a 12-13 inch bass just hanging under a log. About a foot away appeared to be some type of fry. Not sure if the bass was looking for lunch or guarding the fry, but that gave me the sign I was looking for. 

The next half hour was spent flipping and pitching worms into obvious bed area, but I had no luck. After seeing a bass near a bed, I knew that the warming trend had the fish back up in the flats. But with all the fish being seen in the open water on graphs, I figured the females were out and the males were in. So I changed up the worm color to my go to bait. A black grape trick worm. Most simple color besides black, and it made ALL the difference in the world! 

Over the next 3 to 4 hours, minus a 20 minute stretch break, I flipped and pitched that worm to catch 5 fish. Most likely all were bucks up on the beds either staging for spawn or guarding fry. I threw a black and blue jig into a few trees, not even a bite. But when I followed the jig with the worm, I got a bite every time. I guess the worm was just the right combination for the day. 

This is what made me stick to the game plan: Winds picked up throughout the day from the south-southwest. The sun was shining bright, and no clouds around at all. Water was fairly clear, and water was on a warming trend coming off of a cold front. I, along with several other anglers, saw LOTS of fish in deep water. Suspended a few feet off the bottom, or hanging around bait balls. I couldn't get any of them to bite, and with the water warming, I knew there would be some males moving in. I stuck to my guns and it paid off. I was literally catching fish a foot or two off of the banks. With that being said, I would have to offer up a bit of advice on tournament fishing if I could. While its great to try some of the things that have been working for other people, especially the locals to the body of water, never stray away from what you know. It is very difficult to have confidence in a bait you rarely fish, and confidence is what its all about. I don't know if anglers just don't work a new bait correctly or what, but it seems that the go to baits always work better. I had great luck with a shaky head on this lake, others tried and had none. So I have to attribute that to luck, and confidence. Maybe a little divine intervention in there as well!

With all that being said, here are the photos of the tournament fish from Harris.
15.25" bass

Smile for the camera!

14" bass

Saying hello

14.5" bass 

Got my limit, good day.

15.25" bass #2

Glad to upsize.

Took quite a while for these 4 fish plus the one that got away. All in all it was a great day though. I went out with a gameplan, and once I saw that my topwater option was not going to work, I stuck with my go to bait and worked it over. I ended up with a three fish total of 45". This was good enough to get me a 3rd place finish in my second tournament. I had a completely different mindset about this tournament than the first, and I believe that it helped tremendously. I didn't put any pressure on myself, and I fished how I enjoyed. If I had not caught any fish, I'm sure I would have been disappointed, but since I fished in a manner that I liked, I think I would have been ok. Thanks go out to the Carolina Yakfish boys who put on a GREAT tournament, and raise money for Heroes on the Water. A special thanks go out to my Hardcore brethren that taught me everything about kayaking and kayak fishing, couldn't have done it without you guys.

Go over and support this great cause! Heroes on the Water!
More info on the Carolina Yakfish Tournament Series!

Tight lines, and remember: Conservation and education are the key to keeping our sport alive and well.

Setup: Field and Stream Tec Spec Rod 7'MH Fast Spinning
           Pflueger Trion GX-7 Reel
           PowerPro 15 lb Braided Line
           Spot Remover ProModel Shaky Head Jig in 3/8 oz.
           Zoom Black Grape Trick Worm
           Berkley Lightning Rod Shock 7' MH Fast Casting
           Abu Garcia Silver Max Reel 6.4:1
           Power Pro 20 lb Braided Line
           Spot Remover ProModel Shaky Head Jig in 3/8 oz.
           Zoom Green Pumpkin Blue Flash Trick Worm

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Back in Action....

I've been out a few times without blogging, just been kind of busy lately. I really haven't had a ton of luck fishing recently, but I have been catching a few each time I go out. Way better than paddling home with a big ole skunk. I am so thankful that I have found the sport of kayak fishing. Not only have I gotten closer to nature, but I have made some friends that I never would have met. First off, Tim "Stew-rat" Stewart. The founder of Hardcore Kayak Fishing Team, the VP of Mt. Island Wildlife Stewards, and the self proclaimed "Only American Born Ninja" has become of the best friends I have ever had the pleasure of making. He has kinda taken me under his wing and showed me the ropes in this sport, as well as some of the things that go along with hanging out on the river. What a great guy. Can't forget about the rest of the Hardcore Crew. Bo, Barry, and the rest of the gang are probably the most diverse team I have ever been associated with, and I learn a ton of little tricks and secrets every time I paddle out with them. I have also met a bunch of fellow anglers on Darryl "Dbeam" Beam, John "H2Ohhh" Yvars, Raymond Wells, Scott "Bigbasshunter" Myers, and a whole mess of others have made fishing become absolutely more enjoyable. There is a lot of people on the websites that I have never met, but hopefully one day I will. The bottom line to all of this is that fishing is more about going out and trying to catch fish. When you add the paddling aspect into it, the fellowship aspect is even stronger. Kayak fishing is exploding in popularity, and I am glad I have hopped on board when I did. I only hope to be able to give sound advice, and help others fall in love with this sport like everyone who has helped me.
With all that being said, I'm gonna keep my report to a few simple photos this time around. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy reading these just as much as I enjoy writing them. Take care, and remember education and conservation are the keys to keeping our sport thriving.

A nice little largemouth caught under a dock.
Chunky bass for ya.

First crappie caught from my yak.
It was flipping cold.

Nice little spotted bass. He jumped nearly 2 feet out of the water.

'Nother little spot, put up a mean fight.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bad Day Turned Good

Sorry for not posting in a while, been fighting some sort of bug. Seems it's rearing it's head a little harder now. Enjoy the story!

Started out this morning sick as a dog! Sore and achy body....sinuses draining....nose running.....headache.....sounds a lot like mr. flu! But as Stew-rat told me earlier, "if you are sick, you are gonna feel sick, might as well be fishing." So I met up with Stew at Bobby's at 8:30 for a little fishing. We had to dodge some showers first thing under the bridge. We fished around but had no luck. As soon as the showers faded off, we headed up to the creek mouth and fished for a while with no luck. Stew cast a little more shallow just past the creek and reeled in a nice Spot to start the day off right.

We fished up further, and I had no luck at all. Stew caught back up with me, and informed me had caught a crappie on a small jig...Looked like he was gonna wear me out again. I continued to bang just off the banks with my shaky head jig when I finally got a bite. I had been having issues with my Pfleuger reel and the drag system acting up, and it was back at it again. I was turning the drag knob something fierce, but the drag wasn't lightening. A couple of times I had to throw darn near my whole rod in the water to give some room. Luckily, I had just spooled some 15 lb braid on this reel, so that helped a lot. I told Stew that it was a good fish, but when she came busting up for an aerial, I realized how good it was. After a couple of minutes of a good fight, this is what hit my kayak.

Half on my bump board lays at the bottom of the river, pretty close to the spot where I caught this fish ironically, so I dont have a true measurement. Estimated at about 20-22" and 4.25 lbs easy, maybe pushing 4.5. Definitely made me forget about the flu for a bit.
Stew and I stopped for a little shore lunch and hung out for a bit. After another drizzle session came and went, we hit the banks again. Stew caught another 2 bass on a baby brush hog, and I caught one more LargeMouth

I was using a watermelon magic trick worm shaky head rigged all day. Only caught 2 fish, but one was excellent and the second was a good quality 1.25-1.5 lb'er. It was a great day all things considered, and I have to send a big thanks out to Tim "Stew-Rat" Stewart for hangin in there with me today. Couldnt have been easy to listen to the groans and sniffles and sneezes. Hardcore all the way!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Days Of Blunder

Well, for my second post, things are about as opposite from the first story as you can get. No photos for this one as it was just not a good day.

One week after catching my personal best large mouth, Stew, Patrick and I decide to head down the Catawba in the same direction. South it was as the water was on and who doesn't like an easy paddle. I decided to through my game winning Zara Spook behind some bridge pylons into the swirling current pools . I get no bites, but it got worse. On the last cast I want to make before heading down stream, I backlash the ever living snot out of my reel. By far the worst backlash I have ever gotten, so instead of picking and cutting, I decide to retire that rod for the day. It's not a huge ordeal as the conditions are somewhat similar to the previous weekend, except with a lot of sun. I don't forsee the top water bite being too great today. With that said, I decided to paddle on.

Fishing, fishing, fishing. No bites. We have all had those days. That's why it's called fishing and not catching. Stew had one, maybe two fish. Patrick may have had one as well. It was a good day to hang out, with beautiful weather and good friends. We finally reach the creek where I caught the big girl. I throw a crank bait or two, a shakey head worm, a texas rigged worm, and a jig to no avail. To make matters worse, two of my lines get completely tangled. Great. Wonderful. BLAH.

I coast to the shore and start to untangle. After a few choice words, Stew and Patrick come over to see what's going on. "Sounded like you got a hook in your @$$". Nope, just tangled. As I'm picking the lines apart, Patrick hooks into a nice fish, but he throws the hook. Stew catches on in the same spot. So there's two fish I miss because of some tangles.

All in all not a great day but not bad. Still salvagable. We all head up stream. When we get to the docks, I decide I am heading to the store to buy some Bratwurst and buns and we are gonna cook on the river and make this a great day. We fish our way up stream, Stew catching a few and Patrick as well. Me, 0. Nada. Nil. None. Zip. BLAH.

We hit the shore and build a great fire. Have some great brats and a few good laughs. We head out and fish our way back. Still don't get a dang bite. I was fishing the same color worm, rigged the same. Completely crazy. I fished the straight tail worm, the trick worm, the u tail worm, the crankbait, the jig, the shakey head jig. No bites, and to make it worse, the guys were catching fish in front of me, behind me, and beside me. That's the life of a fisherman though. Days like this make it hard to keep coming back, but days like the previous week make it completely worth the while. It was just as painstaking trying to load up my gear, but I'll spare you the details on that. Stay tuned for my next installment, where I actually had a pretty good day.

Remember, conservation and education are key to providing an outstanding fishery for the next generation, so practice and preach it.

Until next time, tight lines!