First trip of 2015

May 1st weekend was our first group trip of the season. We camped out on a great lake and part of the Meteghan River complex. Waters were high and cold but we managed to catch plenty of pre-spawn smallmouth bass and post-spawn chain pickerel. We used fly and spinning gear to accomplish the task.
Enjoy the vid!
Cheers!

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Kayak Fishing Week 2014 video

Enjoy!

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Stability test: Wilderness Systems Ride 115 Jones Lake BC

Finally got out and tested the wilderness systems 115 and man does it perform on the water. I think I will let this video speak for its self.

“Tight lines and wet yaks”

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The Milk Crate Mod That Changes The Game!

Milk Crate Mod with Scotty

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Jackson Elite Seat on Older Hobie Outback Kayak

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It seems all of the major kayak manufacturers have moved to the stadium style seating on a number of the new fishing kayaks. Hobie is no different, bringing the Hobie Vantage seat to the 2015 Outback. I’ve seen guys sitting comfortably in their new kayaks, and I’m pretty envious of all the new raised seating options, but I’m in no position to buy a new kayak, especially not at the prices of the new Outback.

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I personally have a 2006 Hobie Outback, which has a smaller tank well than the 2007 and newer models. As such, the Browning Turkey Hunting Chair mod found on a number of forums does not work on this hull, the legs do not fit into the tank well causing the seat to be unsupported in the back, and the seat too high to be useful. Extensive modification of the chair legs would be required to make this modification work.

A better option for the older Hobie Outback is the Jackson Elite Seat, which fits right into the 2006 Hobie Outback with no modifications required other than some installation straps. The straps I used were taken from a dog harness I purchased at the dollar store which kept costs way down. The seat fits into the hull with no rubbing or odd pressure points, the majority of the weight is carried in two small channels behind the existing seat mold, perfectly sized and spaced for the 1″ tube frame of the Jackson seat. The back of the seat contacts very lightly on the edges of the tank well, and the front legs fit in between the sides of the seat area in front.

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In the rear 2 straps were attached to the frame of the seat back using clips and webbing from the harness, with standard metal clips to attach to existing points in the rear of the Outback. The clips did have to be sewed into the webbing.

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In the front the Elite seat comes with a plastic clip suitable for 1″ webbing. The kayak has a small plastic hook installed in the middle of the seat area that I took off, and reinstalled with a piece of 1″ strap underneath. Now to install the seat the two slips are attached in the back, and the front strap is looped through the plastic clip on the seat and tightened down.

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I added some pipe insulation around the seat legs to help prevent wearing on the kayak or the seat and to keep it tight on the front legs within the molded Outback seat.

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Total added height to the seat is about 5″, which appears to be lower than the current Hobie Outback, and is well within a safe level for the a kayak this stable.

Spring is coming, and I’m looking forward to me new higher, more comfortable seat to chase those early season smallies.

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Protecting your Car while Car Topping your Kayak.

 

 

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The roof of a car is still a good place to load a kayak for travel. It requires a roof rack as a bare minimum, but a few little tips will help you load and carry your kayak securely, and without damage to your vehicle.

The car pictured is a 2013 Ford Focus with a Sportrack rack to carry my Hobie Outback.

First thing is bow and stern tie downs. I personally only use bow tie downs, but they provide security for your kayak, your car, and other drivers on the road by ensuring your kayak will remain attached to the car if you have a failure of your kayak tie downs, or your roof rack comes off the roof of the car. On the 2013 Focus there are no spots under the front of the car for a tie down. There are a couple of store bought tie downs that you can use, one version bolting under the hood to existing fender bolts, the other fitting between the hood and fender, with a tube or ball being held in place by a closed hood:

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On the focus the shape of the hood leaves very little room along the edge of the hood, and the hood is somewhat flimsy, thereby risking damage if a tiedown was to pull on the hood for any length of time. As such, I decided to come up with my own solution, tying webbing to a section of support structure under the hood, leaving enough webbing to reach a couple inches out of the hood.  I personally used an old dog leash, which was strong, readily available, and cost me nothing because I already had it kicking around.

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Another trick for protecting your car is to mask off the car under the feet of your roof rack. Although 95 % of the time I found I could run the racks with no damage to the car, I found my paint being scratched under the feet on rainy days; the water coming up off the road from vehicles around me was carrying dirt and debris that was getting under the rubber feet and eventually scratching the paint. For years I was using masking tape, applying it and removing it with the roof racks. But there’s a better option. Clear vinyl, I picked up a 4″ wide roll off Ebay for about $6 that will last me a lifetime. Install small pieces under the area to which the roof rack contacts the roof. Leave it there all year long for a good level of protection that is barely noticeable on your car. Just don’t install yours at 10:30 at night prior to an early morning fishing trip, otherwise your protective stickers will end up crooked and with air bubbles just like mine.

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Cartopping is still an easy and effective method of transporting your kayak, just be sure to take your time and safely tie down your gear for whatever your travel plans might be.

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My Kind of Vegas!

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This all started with a snickering comment from my fiancé “sorry honey but there’s no fishing in the desert”
And boy was it fun proving her wrong!

After some time dwelling on the fact I had made a promise to my now wife that no matter where or why we traveled I would find the time and means to fish and I wouldn’t let a mere desert stop me from fulfilling a promise to the love of my life, what would that tell her of my character?

As I searched with much doubt that I could achieve this daft goal of seemingly impossibleness “surprised” I promptly received an e-mail from a rather excited sounding outfit based just outside of Las Vegas. The message indicated that we would have to chose where and what we would like to fish for, “We had options?”

After a brief discussion with the rest of the group, we decided bigger is better and opted for Lake Mohave, while there are several species to target in the lake (Rainbow trout,Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, Striped bass, Crappie, Sunfish, Channel catfish,Common carp,Threadfin shad) reading that striped bass can reach well over 50lbs, we wanted the big boys.

Our trip started at a gruelling 2:30am (our guides suggestion) struggling with the effects of the lack of sleep and “a few cocktails” the night before, we boarded a large van toting a trailer loaded with the vessels we would later be paddling, coffee and some much needed, incredibly dense, 5lb breakfast burritos.
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Watching the sun rise over the canyon walls, wandering off into the unknown while anticipating the fish of a lifetime was indeed a treat in its very own.

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It took the better half of the day chasing massive leaping bass to figure out that simply put “we were not in Kansas any more”. We discussed amongst ourselves the varying hypothesizes behind our failure to produce like any pride struck anglers would, we determined that due to the warmer and strangely wetter than usual weather there was a freak spawn of copepods resulting in clouds of tiny, tasty shrimp that the monster striped bass found much tastier and interesting than our poorly represented presentation of 10 to 12 inch rapala style trout. ;)

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Even though none of our group caught fish, the trip was a great success as the feeling of paddling in a flooded desert canyon surrounded by cacti and tumble weed is an experience we won’t soon forget. Our guide (John at Desert Adventures Las Vegas) was extremely knowledgable about the local history and provided us with a wealth of information on the surrounding area. “Great job John”!

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All in all I can’t wait for my next trip to Vegas for round two and a big dose of vengeful fishing.

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This is a highly recommended adventure and well worth the price of admission.

Yours truly Sturgeon Rod,
Bidding you tight lines and wet adventures.

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What’s your Kayak Fishing Soundtrack?

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If you’re a music lover you might want a bit of tunes to keep you company on the water. A pair of earphones and your cell phone or an ipod are great, but they present some disadvantages. Earphones can get in the way, and especially if you’re using the ones that came with your ipod you’re going to spend some time through the day fighting with falling earbuds and tangled cords.

The biggest disadavantage to earbuds or headphones? They limit your ability to hear what’s going on around you. Power boats, fish jumping, conversations with landowners or other fishermen…. you need to be able to listen to what’s happening around you.

A better option for music on your kayak is available, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. A simple, cheap, rechargeable pop-up speaker takes up very little space on your kayak, and can be attached to a cheap ipod shuffle or similar music device. It tucks away easily in any corner (or cupholder) of your kayak, provides a solid day of music, and can be set to provide enough volume for your kayak to become the center of the party, or just provide a little background sounds for your fishing adventure.

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Want to make your own Rod Sleeves?

Heres a pretty good how to Video on the subject.

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Kokatat Gore-Tex Full Zip Jacket Review

When a paddling Jacket isn’t just a paddling Jacket
As I strive to take a more minimalistic approach to my paddling, fishing, and camping life, a notion that seems lost to me when I visit the local Fly Shp, I typically find myself looking for product’s That will serve more than one purpose. Kokatat’s Gore-Tex Full Zip Jacket just happens to be one of those products for me. When I originally purchased the jacket my intent was to find a lightweight, breathable, fully waterproof jacket with paddling friendly features. Since picking up the jacket in the early part of last season I’ve definitely put it through its paces and it has held up impressively.
Kokatat Gore Tex Full Zip Jacket
The Specifics:
Full zip hooded jacket with double storm flaps
Integral wide-billed storm hood with bungee adjustments on sides and back
Adjustable coated Lycra® splash cuffs
Zippered, self-draining chest pockets and left sleeve pocket with key lanyard and reflective piping
Side entry, pile-lined hand warmer pockets, self-draining
Adjustable bungee drawcord at waist
Rollaway hood with reflective piping
Factory sealed seams
From Kokatat:
“The featherweight jacket with sealed seams, adjustable splash cuffs and collar complete this GORE-TEX® version of our classic paddling jacket. The zippered sleeve pocket is self-draining and accessible while wearing your life vest. Adjustable coated Lycra® collar keeps splash out.”
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As a paddling jacket it performs exactly as advertised. It’s a great lightweight waterproof jacket when on the water with a nice cut allowing for great freedom of arm and torso movement when paddling even when layering up for colder weather. The wide bill of the hood works well at keeping the water off and comes with bungee adjustments on the side and back for a more comfortable fit. The splash cuffs work perfectly and the lined pockets are a big plus on the colder days.
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When I purchased the jacket I was really only looking for a waterproof outer layer for    wet weather paddling and kayak fishing. It was a coincidence that I happened to be in the market for a nice lightweight wading jacket for my walk and wade fly fishing sessions. I wasn’t to keen on the wading jacket I had already as it was a bit on the bulky side and didn’t pack up all that well when not in use. After hitting the water a few times with the jacket I realized it was everything I was looking for in a light packable wading jacket. It shares almost all of the exact same features as a wading jacket with the exception of dual front zip pockets and the typically short cut. I usually use a sling pack when fly fishing and have never really had much use for the dual front pockets so that was a non issue for me. The Kokatat’s Gore-Tex Full Zip Jacket has an adjustable bungee draw cord at the waist allowing me to adjust its level on my waist to anywhere I like. Something most wading jackets don’t have. I also found my range of arm movement when casting better than the wading jacket I had been using. Its as breathable as any other product I have or have had. It’s packable,waterproof and lightweight. For me it’s more than just a paddling jacket. It’s a wading jacket and my go to rain jacket as well.
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The Kokatat Gore-Tex Full Zip Jacket was definitely one of my favorite acquisitions last season. It has performed well as not only a paddling and kayak fishing jacket it has outperformed my previous wading jacket. Oh and the Lichen color is sweet.
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