__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

Inside: Featured Kayak Fishing Destination - The Everglades

Southern Kayak Fishing issue #6

www.sokayakfishing.com

Jan/Feb 2016

In this Issue:

Mosquito Lagoon WaveWalk 700

Light Tackle

Saltwater Back Country Flats Fishing


Yep, it’s just that easy with Western North Carolina’s premier fly shop and guide service. Kevin Howell and his experienced staff have been fishing the surrounding 500 miles of prime trout waters so long, they know all the fish on first name basis. And they’ll be more than happy to make a few introductions.

PISGAH FOREST, NC

2 l Southern Kayak l January 2016 & RETAIL STORE | LESSONS GUIDEFishing SERVICES | ONLINE


Editor’s Message Stupid Is as Stupid Does Forrest Gump was right. It’s one thing to be stupid, but it’s really something else to do stupid things. We kayak anglers can’t afford to do many stupid things and escape without damage. Let me explain. Recently, I wanted to take my kayak on a little fishing trip to a nearby creek. The creek isn’t far away, so fool-fashion, I did a minimum of tie downs and securing of the kayak in the back of my truck. After all, it was just a short trip. Friends, it is a very discouraging moment to look in the rear-view mirror and see the kayak exiting the truck while under way. My kayak had caught a wind from a passing truck, and because it was not properly secured, it left me. I saw my kayak skidding across the pavement and heading for the ditch. When I quickly stopped the truck- very quickly, I assure you- and then backed up, I expected to find shreds of plastic scattered widely across the landscape. I just knew my kayak’s fishing days were over. God looks after fools and children, and he looked after me once again. My kayak suffered only scratches- no major damage, and I gained no leaks in the kayak as subsequent fishing trips have proven. I was lucky. If a car had been following behind me, it could have been very bad. If I had been going very fast, it could have been very bad. But luck has its limits. (continued) February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l3


Editor’s Message

Southern

Kayak Fishing Editor

Ed Mashburn Edmashburn@aol.com Publisher Don Kirk Don@Southerntrout.com Managing Editor Leah Kirk Leah@Southerntrout.com

(cont.)

As kayak anglers, we must make certain the kayak while in transport is secure. This means checking and re-checking tie-downs, bungee cords, connecting gear- everything. It is a good idea to check the connections at every gas stop and rest area visit while on the way to the water. Trust me- it’s not a good moment when the kayak flies away on its own.

Assoc. Managing Editor Loryn Patterson Loryn@Southerntrout.com So, did I learn a lesson?- oh my,

Technical Advisor Editorial Consultant

Tim Perkins yes. Stupid is as stupid does, and Olive K. Nynne I figure I’ve just about filled my

Contributors Rob Baker Tony Chavers Steve Gibson Danny Holmes Phillip Landry Tim Perkins Steve Sammons John Williams Captain Kristen Wray

quota of doing stupid things for a long time. I intend to make sure my kayak is securely affixed to the vehicle- whether it’s the bed of the truck or the kayak racks on top of the family van. I hope the rest of my fellow kayak anglers will learn from my foolishness and make sure your ‘yaks are tied down safely. Take a few moments to be sure- and then drive to the water safely.

Southern Kayak Fishing is a publication Ed Mashburn of Southern Unlimited, LLC. It is produced in conjunction with Southern Trout Magazine and Southerntrout.com. Copyright 2015 Southern Unlimited, LLC All rights reserved.

www.SoKayakFishing.com

4 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


This Issue Editor’s Letter

3

10

The Everglades 10 Special Place for Kayak Anglers Kayak Hacks Cheap Hacks

22

36

The New W700 Series by 28 Wavewalk Featured Kayak Shop 36 The Outside World Outfitters Light Tackle Saltwater 48 Back Country Flats Fishing Tech Gear Review ROO Outdoor Inferno Hand Pouch Photo Essay 2015 Photos Memories of the Year

98

64

60

64

Sunglass Review 84 Best Damn Sunglasses Ever Chroma POP Book Review 94 Closer to the Ground Rod Review 98 Manley Rods - Platinum Series Long Nose Gar And vored Combos 6 l Southern Kayak Fishing

Pizza

l

104 Fla-

January 2016

84


Kayak Gear Review 116 Mustang Eline 28K PFD

116

The Right Kind of Reunion 120 Grand Isle 2015 The Winningest Angler in River 132 Basin History - Tim Perkins Three Days, Three Rivers, One Life Vest

142

Kayak Anglers’ Bucket Lists

152

142

120

132 February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l7


Micro 5C

WHAT’S BENEA

CLICK TO SEE F

www.aquavu.com


ATH YOUR ‘YAK?

FOR YOURSELF.

Sized to fit the palm of your hand, an Aqua-Vu MICRO Underwater Viewing Systems is the perfect fish-finding device for your kayak. Complete with a 3.5- or 5-inch high resolution LCD, thumb-sized camera and 50 to 100 feet of cable, AquaVu cams are the easiest, best way to see what’s biting below. Used with an Aqua-Vu Pro-Snake Mount, the MICRO clamps quickly to your ‘yak for hours of underwater viewing.


featured destination

Special PlaceEspecially for Kayak Anglers By Captain Charles Wright

10 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


featured destination

T

he Everglades area offers a variety of waters to fish…from freshwater to brackish to saltwater. However, it is the lure of the salt water that attracts most kayak anglers. Most saltwater species simply strike harder and fight stronger than most freshwater species. The second type is the more open waters of the beaches and bays of the Front-country. While the water, here is shallow, weather, winds and tidal currents can be a big part of your day. Within each, of course, are a plethora of fishing options … running tidal water, eddies, “holes”, mud flats, deadfall, oyster reefs, grass beds, beaches, etc … you get the idea. Both areas do require proper consideration of tackle, craft and technique. A small easily maneuverable kayak that is great for the tight areas in the creeks, may not be suited for an open water paddle in the 10,000 Islands. The waters surrounding the mangroves are almost always stained by tannin leaching from the mangroves and cypress leaves. Although clear, this “Blackwater” is tea colored. It can be very dark at the end of the raining season when the runoff is greatest and the water levels the highest. While in the dry season, it is much light colored. It is interesting to note that the some fish will take on this coloration, as well. It is pretty easy to tell where an angler has been fishing by looking at his catch. If his snook is “black”, it is likely from the backcountry; if it is silver, it is from the frontcountry (bays and beaches). The waters of the front-country vary in color similar to the back-country near tidal rivers and passes. In the winter or away from the rivers, the front-country waters can be a beautiful turquoise green. February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 11


featured destination

What Can We Expect to Find?

The Everglades area is over two million acres on the very tip of the Florida peninsula. We are as far south as you can go on the mainland and are in a subtropical climate zone. In the glades, we really don’t think in terms of four seasons as most anglers do. Our fishery is outstanding throughout the year. Instead of winter, spring, summer and fall, we think in terms of wet and dry. The wet season can dump as much as 70 inches of rain between June and October. Typically, sometime in October the rains stop and we’ll see less of 10 inches until the following June. The species of fish that we catch in the backcountry really does not change much throughout the years as most are residents that are here year round. The same came be said of the front country. However, some of the larger specimens tend to move to the areas that kayak anglers can’t access with the winter’s cooler water. All year long you have the opportunity to catch tarpon, snook, redfish speckled trout, black drum, groupers, mangrove snapper, sharks, catfish, ladyfish, black bass, oscars and cichlids. In the cooler months, if you venture farther out, migratory species such as triple-tail, kingfish, cobia and Spanish mackerel are available. You must pick your days and watch the weather closely out there, however. If you are after big fish, then the warm months are for you. Most big snook and tarpon tend to move to the deeper waters of the Gulf when the water temperature chills in the dry season. But their younger brethren are still plentiful in the backcountry all year long. 12 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


featured destination

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 13


featured destination

So, how do we rig?

Rigging is pretty straightforward unless you are fishing for larger species during the warmer months. A six to seven foot rod loaded with 20 pound braid is a good allaround combination. Many saltwater fish have teeth or a very abrasive mouth, so a tippet of 30-40 pound mono or fluorocarbon is needed most times. If you’re targeting speckled trout 10 - 20 is fine. If you are targeting large tarpon, 80 pound tippet may be needed. If you are fishing tight, narrow creeks, you may want to shift down to a shorter rod that is more manageable amongst the trees. Fly fishing the backcountry, because your back cast, is limited to the lakes and ponds interconnected by the creeks. In the front-country, you do not have this issue. But here the wind and weather can dictate the weight of your fly rod. An eight weight is a good all-around rod for the Everglades. With an eight, you can get easily get “spanked” by a big snook or tarpon, however. As well, an eight can be too much rod for cichlids and speckled trout. However, some of the most fun I’ve had in a kayak has been with a 5-weight catching speckled trout, ladyfish, jacks and pompano with an incoming tide on an outside barrier island. 14 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


featured destination

So, what makes the Glades so special for us?

One of the great things about this area is the variety of fishing options. You can fish from shallow waters or deep waters; sight fish redfish and snook, fish deeper holes digging up grouper; fish live bait or natural baits on the bottom for sharks; this list long. Generally, most kayak anglers in this area stick to using artificial baits. We are in a remote area, so buying bait can be hit-or-miss, and catching it even more so in most areas reachable by kayak.

How about places to stay on a visit to the Glades?

Lodging is limited in the area because we are remote and in the middle of the wilderness. However, on Chokoloskee Island, walking distance from our shop, is one very kayak fishing-friendly place, Chokoloskee Island Park. It has a launch, rooms for rent, and a small bait shop/store. If you are just fishing inland backcountry, then Port of the Islands is an option. Chokoloskee Island offers direct access to some very good fishing with a hundred yards of your launch Ten Thousand Islands all year round. February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 15


featured destination

What Kind of Services do you offer visiting Kayak Anglers?

Everglades Kayak Fishing, Chokoloskee Charters and Everglades Area Tours offer a variety of fishing expeditions in Everglades National Park. Having fished the Park since 1972, I’ve got a good handle on the why, the where and the what. We offer shore launched kayak trips from Chokoloskee Island, Marco Island, Goodland and throughout the accessible backcountry. Long ago we realized that the majority of the waters and the good fishing are inaccessible to the kayak angler simply of the vastness. With 125 miles of coastline, day paddlers can’t explore even a small portion of the fishery. So, over 10 years ago, we devised the Yak Attack transport boat. She was so named in a reader’s choice selection by the Kayak Fishing Magazine in approximately 2005. 16 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


featured destination

A very Special Kind of Trip

Six outfitted kayaks are nestled in the front of the boat where a Coast Guard Captain and guide transport our kayaks anglers and gear deep in the National Park. Once we reach our first location, we deploy the kayaks for a day’s fishing. Commonly we will load up mid-day and deploy again at a second location. It is not uncommon for us to be fishing 20 to 30 miles deep in the Park on a day trip. However, one of our most popular experiences is our three day, two night Base Camp Kayak Fishing Trip. Using one of the Yak Attacks, we transport all gear, guides, guests and equipment deep into the Park where we establish a base camp for three days of kayak fishing. It is an awesome fishing experience in the Everglades. Each angler can go at his or her on pace and his or her leisure. Fish as much as you like or as little as you wish … night or day. Complete outfitting and provisioning is provided on most trips, so all you need is your tackle and personal gear. However, many choose to do their trips “DIY”. So, we will transport you and your gear deep in the park and return a few days later to extract you out. For those flying in, we do offer free loaner rods to avoid the hassle of the airlines.

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 17


featured destination

What about the Biting Things there?

I have traveled the country speaking about fishing and paddling the Everglades. I am always asked about alligators and mosquitoes. “Will alligators attack your kayak or are they afraid of them”? Well, they definitely are not afraid of them, but you and your kayak look nothing like their normal food source. There has been only one documented alligator attack with in Everglade National Park since Harry Truman dedicated it in 1947. This involved a child falling directly in front of a gator from a tram road. This was more of fright/ flight response rather than a “food” attack. Within the Park, alligators are not fed, so there is no association of food with humans. They really have no interest in you or your yak. You will likely only encounter them in the backcountry anyway, so, simply give them space and all will be well. 18 l Southern Kayak Fishing

Yep, there are mosquitoes in the Everglades … and Tampa, and Atlanta. Stories are told of horrible masses of “swamp angels” here in the summertime … told, almost exclusively, by those that have never been here in the summer! Personally, I live for the summers. When the rains start in June, we get a good hatch, but soon the dragon flies and other predators catch up to them and then the problem is minor. Light-colored clothing and a bit of bug juice handles the problem for most. Skeeters are rarely a problem in the front-country; they are a perceived problem reserved for the backcountry

l

January 2016


featured destination

And the Best thing About Kayak Fishing the Glades?

It’s hard to say what I like most about kayak fishing in the Everglades. Perhaps it’s the wide variety of experiences and opportunities … creeks, islands, oyster reefs, beaches, wrecks, etc. Maybe it’s the variety of species available. It is not unusual to catch a dozen different species in a single day trip. You never know what your next cast may produce. Maybe it is the remoteness of the area. It is very, very nice to fish without seeing other anglers. So many of the places that I’ve kayak fished have limited kayak launches. Generally, every kayak angler that launches fishes basically the same water for the same fish. Here the area is so large you see very few anglers, if any at all, during the day. It is still pristine. For more information about Captain Charles Wright’s chartered tours: 239-695-9107 February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 19


Kayak Hacks The Problem:

Fish/Drink Cooler Bag. If you fish where it is ethical for your catch to have a “date with a plate,” you are familiar with the dilemma of where to put your dinner after landing. The common solution is to drag a stringer, but that creates strength-sapping drag, stresses the doomed fish, offers up an enticing snack to sharks and gators or may snag on a river obstacle. For $60 and up, you can buy a cooler designed/sized for a kayak to store fish and keep drinks cool.

I

f you, like Janis Joplin, get excited about cheap thrills, head to the Dollar Store, adopt a nontraditional mindset and prepare to discover plenty of items anxious to go fishing nestled in the overflowing aisles. Note: For these as well as previous hacks, visit the “Kayak Hacks” YouTube Channel to see videos with specifics organized into playlists for each issue of the magazine.

22 l Southern Kayak Fishing

The Solution:

Thermal Bag. Hot stuff hot, cold stuff cold! All for a buck! At 18.5” square, it is the perfect size to hold a decent sized fish. Not wanting to believe that it could be as good as the cooler bag I spent $109 on, I tested both side-by-side on a hot North Carolina day by sandwiching a water bottle (simulated fish; starting temperature 84°) between two frozen bottles. After baking in the sun for five hours with temperatures reaching 90° in the shade, the cooler bag “fish” was 69° versus 59° in the Thermal Bag. Granted, the cooler bag had a much larger interior to cool and really needed more ice to deal with the volume, but if the objective is only to keep a few fish/drinks cold, why spend more? The Thermal Bag will survive multiple trips when lined with a garbage bag to protect the interior from fish slime and the associated residual stink. One additional benefit is the bag, loaded with fish, slides easily into a storage compartment where it can be further protected from the sun and amplify cooling performance.

l

January 2016


Cheap Hacks By Steve Moore

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 23


The Problem:

Rod or Paddle Leash. If your gear is scattered along the bottom of a river bed, the School of Hard Knocks already taught you about securing equipment. A grizzled kayaker once told me the longer it has been since you dumped your boat, the closer you are to doing it again. After using built in bungees to lash down gear containers, you realize your two rods/reels and paddle represent the most valuable items on the boat; $500+ at the high end. What to do about them? Given the high value, spending $30 for three leashes at $10 a pop seems like a no-brainer. Or, you can spend three bucks at the Dollar Store.

24 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

The Solution:

Dog Leash. The Dollar Store has a startling collection of dog leashes and all include a clip at the end with a loop handle. They even come in a wide variety of colors to match your personality! Need pink with sparkles? Check. Plain? Check. To secure a rod or paddle, thread the clip end through the loop, locking it around the center of the paddle or rod forward of the reel. Secure the clip end to the kayak by snapping it to a bungee or wrapping it around a rod holder and clipping it back on itself. Three leashes, three bucks. Want to go really cheap? Use paracord or other flexible rope. January 2016


Problem

Accessible Storage. The typical fishing kayak provides storage space behind the seat; causing the angler to twist and turn to gain access. At the bottom line, there are only a few things anglers constantly grab. If the design of your kayak permits, the easy fix is to put them in a small container between your legs.

The Solution:

In an earlier issue, I recommended attaching a butt pack to the seat rim or getting a small $5 toolbox. The Dollar Store offers an even cheaper solution; a small plastic basket with compartments providing organized storage for scents, tools, plastics and cases. Pair the basket with any of the containers sprinkled throughout the store. At the top of the container list is the “hardware storage box� that looks like a skinny lure box. While intended for nuts and bolts, it is perfect for sinkers, swivels, hooks and other small items, replacing the traditional $5 lure box and fits perfectly into the carrying basket. To enlarge the compartments, simply cut out the plastic wall between any two with a utility knife. One carrier plus one storage case – total cost two bucks. A pill box is another good candidate container.

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 25


Kayak Hacks Fail – Laundry Bag Bait Bucket

Along with good ideas, some are bad. I saw a suggestion advocating using a small laundry bag as a bait bucket. Sold in a pack of three, the real cost of this economy “bucket” is only $.33 versus $15 for a traditional bucket. To test the idea, I dropped five mullets into the bag at the start of a daylong fishing trip. While there was significantly less resistance paddling with the collapsed laundry bag trailing behind the kayak, the material compressed around the baitfish, holding their gills shut and eventually suffocated two. When anchored, the bag sunk to the bottom where a crab snacked on the helpless fish; easily cutting through the thin material to chomp away. Bottom line… stick with the real thing. Clearly, fishing gear is not just in the sporting goods section. Open your mind to possibilities and less expensive solutions can pop up anywhere!

Disclaimer:

Do not apply any suggestion if it will ruin the appearance, function or structural integrity of your kayak. You are solely responsible to determine if the above ideas are appropriate for your boat and the author and publisher disclaim any responsibility for your actions and decisions. Calling all shade tree kayak mechanics! We know the innate all-American creative urge has resulted in many great Do-It-Yourself innovations to improve the basic kayak platform or provide cost effective alternatives to commercial products. If you have an idea to share in a future issue, send a description and a picture or two. If you already captured your idea on YouTube, just send the link with permission to use images extracted from the video. Everything goes to Steve Moore at Steve@ kayakhacks.com. Check out the Kayak Hacks YouTube channel for project ideas. 26 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 27


The New W700 Series by Wavewalk

Wavewalk has just introduced its new 700 series -

T

hanks to its 31" wide patented twin-hull and saddle, the W700 is the world's most stable kayak, and it allows a full size adult man to paddle it while standing up in one of its hulls, but Wavewalk prefers to call it a boat because calling it a kayak could belittle it by masking the fact that it works perfectly as a boat when it's outfitted with an outboard motor. While offering this unrivaled level of stability, the W700 glides effortlessly on the water.

28 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


The W700 is a two-person, trailerfree, ultralight fishing boat that one person can easily car-top and paddle without assistance from a fishing buddy. Wavewalk kayaks have become popular especially among paddlers and anglers who aren't well served by regular kayaks, namely the elderly, heavy people, people who suffer from sensitive backs, and ones who suffer from various disabilities. People who belong to either of these categories find it too hard to sit in the notorious L position, which is characteristic of kayaks. Wavewalk's patented technology offers the user to sit (ride) with their legs positioned on both sides of a high and comfortable saddle that's similar the saddle featuring in other high performance vehicles such as Personal Watercraft (PWC, or Jet-Ski), All Terrain Vehicle (ATV), Snowmobiles, and Dirt Bikes (sports motorcycles). In this riding position, the user's feet reach the bottom of the W kayak's hulls, and their legs support most of their weight while providing natural balancing capabilities There is no horizontal pressure applied on their lower back, also known as a the Lumbar Spine. February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 29


30 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


All of the W kayak's buoyancy is distributed along its sides, where it works most effectively to support lateral shifts in weight, instead of being ineffectively concentrated along the hull's center line, as it is in all other kayaks, which are mono-hulls. Due to the unique combination of improved ergonomics and hydrostatics, Wavewalk kayaks are back pain free while being more stable as well. The amount of dry and easily accessible storage space offered by the W700 is comparable to what anglers expect to find in a large size canoe, or a Jon boat - It is many times more than what fishing kayaks offer. Launching the W700 is easier than launching regular kayaks since you just walk into its cockpit from its rear end, and sit down on a high saddle, or launch standing up. Similarly, beaching the W700 is easy and simple: You relocate to the rear end of the cockpit by sliding effortlessly on the saddle. Your relocation backward makes the kayak's stern heavier and its bow lighter. This makes the bow rise, and facilitates paddling the kayak back to shore in a way that enables you to step out of the cockpit from its front end and over dry land, without stepping in water. Many W kayakers view this little perk as a major benefit because they find that getting into a regular kayak and out of it is too hard for them. Wavewalk kayaks are used worldwide in a variety of climates and applications, inland and offshore, and yet, no one has ever outfitted their W kayak with a rudder, simply because the Wavewalk's patented twin-hull form makes it track well enough, even in strong wind, and its saddle offers the paddler to move fore and aft and by that relocate the boat's center of gravity (CG) and effectively control to way it reacts to the wind. The W700 can be easily car topped on any vehicle, by a single person. It does not require a special kayak rack, and it fits any regular car rack, from any manufacturer. The upper part of the W700 saddle is a watertight compartment that serves as flotation in case of an accident. With the W700 you can launch, go and beach anywhere, including shallow water and water with abundant vegetation, rocks, etc. - Lifting the outboard's propeller turns this boat into a kayak that's easy to paddle, and can take you in shallow water where rocks and aquatic vegetation would prevent regular motorboats and even microskiffs from going. The 7'18" long cockpit of the W700 is roomy and comfortable for two full size anglers and their camping and fishing gear. The front passenger can easily turn round and sit, or stand facing backward. The rear passenger can paddle or drive sitting or standing. This feature makes the W700 suitable to serve as tender for a big boat, or yacht. Stability wise, the W700 surpasses anything known so far in kayaks and canoes, and it's even more stable than the W500. February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 31


Wavewalk dubbed this new level of stability "Absolute Stability" with reference to the fishing kayak world, since one cannot conceive a higher level of stability in such craft, and "Boat Stability", which means that it's as stable as a boat, I.E. offering a full size man to stand on one side. It's already possible to say that the W700 is a game changer: It successfully bridges the gap between fishing kayaks and ultra-lightweight motorboats, and creates a new type of high performance fishing boat that is extremely versatile and mobile, while being as friendly as possible to its users, both ergonomically and as far as transportation is concerned. W700 Dimensions: Length: 154" (12'10") Total width: 31" Weight: 80 lbs without a motor and accessories Load capacity: 580 lbs Colors: The W700 is offered in 4 color combinations - 'Microskiff' (all white), 'Sunshine' (Yellow hulls and Orange saddle), 'Safari' (Dark Green hulls and Sand colored saddle), and 'Combat' (Sand colored hulls and Dark Green saddle). Price: $1,984 for the basic model. This price includes shipping in the continental US. Wavewalk kayaks, paddles and accessories are Made in the USA. 32 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


Professional Fishing Guide & Instructor Whether you fish with family, friends, colleagues - or if you are new to the sport come and be my honored guest on the water.

Tell me your goals for the outing, ask all the questions you want and learn all you can. I specialize in coaching conventional and fly fishing techniques on Texas lakes and rivers. Exchange stress for relaxation, fun and memories. Lakes: Canyon, Dunlap & LBJ Rivers: Guadalupe, Blanco & San Marcos Boat, Kayak or Wading

(210) 771-0123 www.TeachEmToFish.net February 2016 l Southern Kayak Fishing l 33


VisitWakulla The Natural Place to Be in Florida

With 73 miles of coastline and 4 fresh water rivers Wakulla County is the destination to fish! For launch areas, marinas and guides/outfitters visit our website at

VisitWakulla.com or call (850) 984-3966 Wakulla County Tourist Development Council


featured kayak shop

THE OUTSIDE WORLD OUT

C

hris Largent of Outdoor Outfitters tells us that the Columbus area of Georgia is an excellent destination for fishing for Shoal Bass. The removal of two lowhead dams years ago to restore a more natural flow to the

36 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


featured kayak shop

TFITTERS, COLUMBUS, GA

Chattahoochee River has helped restore natural habitat of the elusive species. With restored habitat, expect the shoalies to return to a fairly healthy population in the coming years! February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 37


featured kayak shop Largent says that with kayak fishing being one of the fastest growing industries in the outdoor market, an area like Columbus is only naturally going to follow suit. We see more and more anglers selling off their power boats and converting to paddle power. It's exciting to be able to teach the “pros” a thing or two about new ways to fish! Outside World’s location has been in Columbus since 2010. On the front of the whitewater project and removal of two lowhead dams along the Chattahoochee River, we set our roots early to work on growing the sport in the area. Our parent store in Dawsoinville GA has been in business since 2002. “We focus on the mid level outdoor enthusiast. Our product lines encompass a wide range, from very entry level to expert quality. With that, we employ outdoor enthusiasts that have a good balance of passion and experience in those areas. Our employees paddle, fish, hike, climb, etc. We pride ourselves in that and we love to share our knowledge,” says Chris Largent.

38 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


featured kayak shop

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 39


featured kayak shop In response to being asked about how Geogians see kayak fishing, Largent says,� Interest in kayak fishing in the area is high and is always expanding. Every time I go anywhere with one of our demo boats, I am interrogated by curious citizens about fishing from a kayak. It's great to be able to educate people about the sport I've grown to know and love! We see more interest after we get them in the water, however, and offer demo boats to rent out to help maintain that interest.� The management and staff at Outside World see being a fullservice kayak shop as being very important. With online competitors dominating on variety and often pricing, it is crucial to have the product and knowledge to provide to the consumer. Rigging and repair ranks high in importance as well, as we are locally known as the experts on the subject. Plus, they're a lot more comfortable letting one of our staff members drill holes in their brand new boats. Having novice and beginner kayak anglers come in the shop happens on a daily basis. Most are having their interests piqued by kayak fishing shows and internet videos, and then they come to us looking for advice on specific models and equipment. 40 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


featured featured kayak kayak shop shop

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 41


featured kayak shop

42 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


featured kayak shop Largent enthusiastically says,� We offer guided fishing services upon request, as well as a rental fleet to allow anglers to test drive multiple models before making a purchase decision. This allows the customer to try out the model in the actual waters where they will be using it, and we also use part of the rental as credit towards the purchase price. Try before you buy!� Outside World Outfitters carry a full range of Jackson Kayak, Wilderness Systems, Native Watercraft, Feel Free and Old Town for kayaks. Yak Attack, SeaLect Designs, Astral, Stohlquist, Werner, Bending Branches and Aquabound for paddles and accessories., just to name a few. It is very important to the Outside World folks to have the best customer service and provide the best products to fit their needs. We appreciate each and every one of our customers and do our best to maintain that relationship after the sale. Largent says that some of the trends in kayak angling are slower to take off here, but in time we will see them flourish. SUP fishing has not been really big here yet, but again the time will come. With an active and growing community of kayak anglers, Columbus area has the potential to be a destination fishing spot in the near future. February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 43


featured kayak shop When asked to convey to the readers of Southern Kayak Fishing online magazine the message of Outside World Outfitters, Chris Largent tells us,� With the abundance of flat water and moving water fishing opportunities, we welcome you to stop in and see what Columbus has to offer you as an angler of any kind. “ For more information or to contact the shop: Outside World Outfitters Columbus 1025 Broadway Columbus, Georgia 31901 706-322-4200 chris@ theoutsideworld.com www. theoutsideworld.net

44 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


featured kayak shop

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 45


featured kayak destination

Light Tackle Saltwater Back Country Flats Fishing

48 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


featured kayak destination

Southern Kayak Fishing asked Captain Tom Van Horn, one of the best guides on the East Coast of Florida to tell us about the fishing in the Indian River/ Canaveral/Mosquito Lagoon area, and he was kind enough to provide us with this information. Wow! What a Place!

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 49


featured kayak destination Experience light tackle spin and fly fishing on the inshore flats of the Mosquito Lagoon, North Indian Rive Lagoon and Banana River Lagoon. On the Lagoon flats, we typically work in shallow water (18-inches of water or less) targeting redfish, sea trout and black drum, and we primarily fish with light tackle spinning gear in the 10 to 20 pound class depending on time of year, weather conditions and the size of fish targeted. Dependent on the skill level of anglers, a determination to fish with either lures or bait will be made with combination of both styles as an option. For fly fishing anglers, 7 and 8 weight gear and floating line is recommended with the ability to make a quick an accurate 60 to 80 foot cast. Fishing on our lagoon flats in many ways is more like hunting then fishing as in most cases we pole quietly across the flats looking for signs of schooling and feeding fish, and then present a well-placed cast to an unsuspecting target which is often easier said than done. In many cases these fish are challenging to approach as they can be very spooky, so a stealth approach is extremely important. This style of fishing is referred to as sight fishing, and therefore requires ideal conditions, quality polarized sunglasses and a good dark wide- brimmed hat to improve the angler’s ability to see the targeted fish in the water. 50 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


featured kayak destination My charters are available to anglers of all skill levels and ages, so accommodations for any style of fishing can be made, you just have to communicate with me ahead of time so I can properly prep my boat and equipment for the charter. It’s my intention to do whatever it takes to catch fish within the regulations and limitations of the State of Florida so do not let angler skill level be a debutante to spending some time on the water with me and enjoying our east Central Florida flats fishing. The Indian River Lagoon System is renowned for its trophy redfish, but in my experience this goal is best achieved by fishing with either live or cut bait. That’s not to say they cannot be caught on lures or flies with skilled anglers, but bait fishing will improve your odds of success with these breeder redfish. Redfish, black drum and sea trout are year-round targets with snook and tarpon available during the warmer months. February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 51


featured kayak destination

No Motor Zone- A Paddler’s Paradise

Fishing the exclusive waters of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge's No-Motor Zone in my 18 ' custom rigged Indian River canoe is as close to natural Florida an angler can get. The No-Motor Zone is a 35 square mile paddle only fishing zone situated on the northern end of the Banana River Lagoon and the southeast side of the Kennedy Space Center. The NMZ was originally set aside as a manatee refuge and is only accessible by non-motorized vessels. The NMZ is as pristine as Florida waters get and because of the work required to fish it, the Zone is the best place in Central Florida to find happy and stupid fish. It’s a seven mile paddle from our lunch site to furthermost reaches of the zone, but anglers are often rewarded for their additional effort.

My No-Motor Zone charters are limited to one angler, but additional paddle craft can be arranged to facilitate larger groups. We target the same species of fish in the NMZ as we do on the saltwater flats listed above, with the only difference is in most cases we experience more and larger fish, especially larger redfish and black drum tailing on the flats during the winter months. 52 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


featured kayak destination

Fishing in the NMZ is a great charter for fly anglers looking for shots at happy fish simply due to the fact there are no motorized vessels disturbing their feeding and breeding patterns. In addition, we will often get out of the boat and wade to tailing fish, so wading shoes are recommended along with waders during the colder months. When fishing with me in the zone, I do most of the polling and paddling and you do all of the fishing. Additionally, due to the amount of work requited to fish in the No-Motor Zone, full day charter rates apply.

Lastly, the NMZ is situated in an open water with a north south orientation, so fishing there is very vulnerable to windy conditions and is not recommended during periods with an elevated southerly fetch. In cases where wind conditions are not favorable, I have alternative protected backcountry locations to paddle fish or we can fish from my skiff in other locations. February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 53


featured kayak destination

Near-Shore Coastal Fishing out of Port Canaveral

With its easy near-shore access to the Atlantic Ocean my charters out of Port Canaveral add another dimension to the many angling opportunities available in east central Florida. Port Canaveral is located less than an hour’s drive from Disney and the Orlando theme parks and is situated in the center or Florida’s Space Coast with Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral launch facilities to the north and Cocoa Beach, Melbourne and the City of Cape Canaveral to the south. Port Canaveral is also home to one of the largest cruise ship ports on the Atlantic coast of North America. From the harbor, we have easy boat access to the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean or, through the Canaveral Barge Canal and Canaveral Lock, to the inshore waters of Banana River Lagoon and Florida's Intracoastal Waterway system. Once exiting the Port, there are several options in determining our direction traveled and is dependent on seasonal migrations, water conditions (temperature and tide) wind direction and sea state. On my charters, safety is my priority, and remember we will be fishing out of an 18-foot Maverick Master Angler, so my limitations are seas less than 3 feet and a maximum capacity of two anglers. Also take into consideration the motion of the ocean, so if you have a tendency towards motion sickness makes sure to take appropriate medications or select another charter option. 54 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


featured kayak destination My near-shore charters are limited to a range of 15-miles offshore where we target pelagic species like kingfish and cobia along the near-shore reefs of 8 A, Pelican Flats and Chris Benson. We also target seasonal migrations both north and south of the Port just out from the beaches. Fishing to the north of the Port we have the undeveloped beaches of the Cape Canaveral launch facilities and what is referred to as the Canaveral Shoals or the bight just east of the shoal. To the south of the Port we work the beaches down as far as Patrick AFB. Fishing opportunities out of Port Canaveral in regards to species vary throughout the year based on seasonal pelagic migrations and ocean water temperatures. During the winter, December, January and early February, we typically fish inside and around the Port for species like pompano, bluefish, flounder, black drum, redfish, weakfish, whiting and tripletail. When ocean water temperatures reach the upper 60’s in late February and March, we experience our cobia migration north and large kingfish in the area of 8A Reef. We also target tripletail during this same timeframe. March weather can be challenging, so we have to shoot for windows of opportunity when the seas are fishable. From April through September, summer months, the seas settle and angling opportunities heat up with the return of large tarpon (100 pound plus range), very large jack crevalle (school buses), bonito and kingfish within miles from shoreline. In the fall, September and October, we experience the mullet migration south (mullet run) with a large array of predator species available. It is not uncommon for anglers to catch snook, redfish, flounder, bluefish, jacks, ladyfish and black drum all in the same day anchored in the same spot. In November we have a flounder migration out to sea. I do allow anglers to keep fish for consumption as long as they are within the limits of State and Federal law, and I do carry the appropriate NOAA Permits for Pelagic Species, Reef Fish, and Wahoo Dolphin and Tuna which allows anglers to keep these species and long as they are in season. We also experience a variety of shark species year-round, but for the sake of safety and the fish I have two rules on my boat for shark fishing: Rule 1, no live sharks in the boat, Rule 2, I do not kill sharks. I will gladly take you shark fishing, but if it is your intent to kill sharks, please book a different charter company. February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 55


featured kayak destination

Fresh Water Fishing on the St Johns River

Fish for largemouth bass and sunshine bass, American shad, crappie, channel catfish and other freshwater Florida gamefish on the St Johns River and connecting lakes. Some of my favorite fishing is done on the freshwater lakes and rivers of Central Florida. Like any style of fishing, seasonal fluctuations in water temperature and rainfall levels dictate when it is best to target a particular species. The St Johns River watershed is a very unique system as the water flow north through Central Florida to the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville. Because the State of Florida is basically flat, the currents of the St Johns River meander very slowly north and in some cases flow backwards. Largemouth Bass – On the St Johns River largemouth bass are a year-round species, but in the region I fish it is best to target both largemouth and sunshine bass in the spring (February thru May) when water levels are low and the fish are concentrated. . During this timeframe it is not uncommon to stakeout in one location and catch numbers in the double digit range on either lures, fly or bait. American & Hickory Shad – During the winter months (January thru April) the upper reaches St Johns experiences the first spring run of American and Hickory shad on the Atlantic coast of America. American shad live their lives in the open ocean and then spawn in freshwater like salmon. Fishing this spawning run is the closest you can get to the stream fishing of the northeast and northwest, all within an hour’s drive from Orlando. American and hickory shad are great fun on 4 to 5 weight fly and ultralight spin tackle. Channel Catfish – Freshwater catfish are available year-round on the St Johns and although the average fish weighs around two to three pounds, channel cats in our region can reach as high as 28-pounds. Although they are a year-round species, the best catches for catfish are in the spring (February, March and April) when the river is rising and they are migrating up current to spawn. Speckled Perch (Crappie) – On the St Johns River, crappie are a year-round species, but they are best targeted during the fall and spring months (October thru March) when they gather to spawn. Specks are also one of the best eating fish you will find. We typically target crappie by slow trolling longline spinner baits and vertical jigging small jigs and live minnows in the open waters of the River and connecting lakes, and then in close to structure during beading periods. Assorted Panfish and Bluegill – Panfish are available year-round, but best during spawning periods in the spring. 56 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


featured kayak destination

Bird Watching and Eco-tours

Experience some of Florida's 310 species of birds, and other rare and endangered animals, such as bald eagles, roseate spoonbills, sea turtles, alligators and manatees. Travel the waters within and around the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge and the Kennedy Space Center by canoe or in the comfort of my skiff. Group trips can be arranged or you can bring your own canoe or kayak if you like. Additionally during the summer months on the inshore lagoons, bioluminescent night tours are available on request and if you have never experienced this, it is something to see. For more information about Captain Tom Van Horn’s Chartered Trips: Captain Tom Van Horn Mosquito Coast Fishing Charters 407-416-1187 mosquitocoast@cfl.rr.com February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 57


Developed by fly fishermen, a southern made, light-weight, easy to use device that will retrieve most flies snagged within reach of your fly rod and extended arm. Made from high-grade, stainless steel with a handle assuring extreme water resistance, it provides toughness and strength for exerting great cutting forces without breaking.


ORDER NOW WWW.THEFLYSAVER.COM $30.00


tech gear review

ROO Outdoor Inferno Hand Pouch

I

f there’s one thing I hate more than cold feet, it’s cold hands. In many parts of the Southern Kayak Fishing coverage area, winter presents us kayak anglers with plenty of cold weather to chill our hands and make paddling and fishing miserable.

Here’s a neat new product which should interest many kayak anglers who don’t like to deal with cold hands. The Inferno Sport Hand Pouch is a patentpending sleek hand pouch designed with superior cold protection to keep hands warm. At only 7mm thick, this hand pouch provides warmth without any added bulk- a big deal for us kayak anglers.

The soft and flexible Neo-Shield outer shell is weather resistant and contours to the body. Polar-Tec insulation fabric inside the pouch retains heat, providing warmth without extra weight. Add a commercially available heatpack, and this hand warmer is the real deal for wintertime kayak anglers. The pouch is secured with a heavy-duty nylon belt equipped with silicon grippers to prevent the pouch from sliding up or down. The pouch also features a utility pocket with a bonded zipper creating a waterproof seal to keep valuables safe and dry. The Inferno Hand Pouch is available in Jet Black, Victory Red, Nautical Blue, and Frost White.

Priced at $49.99, it’s not hard to see how this hand-warming pouch can be a prime tool for cold weather kayak anglers. For more information: Mike Kafka 773-590-4867 mike@RooOutdoor.com www.RooOutdoor.com

60 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


tech gear review

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 61


BOOK ONE O

1 - Sportmans Lodg

WE SPECIALIZE IN: • FISHING - INSHORE & OFFSHORE • DUCK HUNTING • CAST & BLAST • SINGLE & MULTI-DAY EXPEDITIONS • KICK-BUTT ADVENTURES

FIRST CLASS LODGE A

WWW.SOUTHERNW

601.466.0152 • south


OF 3 ADVENTURES TODAY!

ge 2- Southern Way 3- Southern Cross SOUTHERN WAY

72’ Custom All Aluminum, w/6 skiffs, & crew of 3 SOUTHERN CROSS

ACCOMMODATIONS! 54 Breaux Bay Craft, All Aluminum, 6 fisherman & crew of 2

WAYCHARTERS.COM

herncharters@aol.com


2015- Photo Memories of the Year

64 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


W

e see lots of photos in the production of Southern Kayak Fishing magazine, and for whatever reason, some photos aren’t selected to run as part of articles. However, some of these photos are just too good to leave in the folder and never be seen by our readers.

So, we’d like to put these photos- a mixed lot, to be sure- to you as part of our January issue. The one thing in common with all of these shots is that kayak anglers were having a lot of fun doing what we love to do- go on the water in small boats and see what we can find on the end of our line. It has been a good year!

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 65


66 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 67


68 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 69


70 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 71


72 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 73


74 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 75


76 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 77


78 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 79


80 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 81


FLY DESIGNER

BOB MALLARD AUTHOR OF GEARHEAD COLUMN

NO MISS MOUSE

TO DOWNLOAD OUR CATALOG VISIT US AT CATCHFLYFISH.COM OR CALL 424.26CATCH TO BECOME A DEALER


You can’t. plan a feeling. It just arises from spending time at the right place. With thrills on, in and high above the water, our adventure outfitters are stop #8 on Florida’s Playground Trail—explore it all at floridasplayground.com


84 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 85


86 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 87


88 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 89


90 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 91


REEL-FIN- ADDICT KAYAK FISHING

Located along the coastline of The Gulf Mexico in the Big Bend of Florida focusing in Redfish, Trout, Flounder and Tarpon

Guiding local rivers and coastline for over a decade contact Robert Baker, Fishing Guide 850-210-4375

Florida's Big Bend Paddlesport Outfitter 850-877-7200 Authorized Dealer for Hobie and Jackson Kayaks Where our salespersons are experienced kayakers And paddle the Pro Anglers – Revolutions – Cuda’s Visit our store at 3152 Shadeville Rd, Crawfordville, FL 32327 www.thewildernessway.net


Come fish the great Arkansas Tailwaters

with some of the area’s most experienced guides. Our Fly Fishing trips are tailored to your needs

and experience level. We are a group of veteran guides with a passion for teaching and sharing. Visit our website for details!

www.theozarkflyguides.com

We offer Jet Boat trips, Drift Boat trips and

YES, even instructional Kayak trips! Let us

help plan your Ozark fly fishing getaway in any style you want.


book review

Closer to the Ground by Dylan Tomine

We can’t recommend this wonderful book for being a Southern kayak fishing work- it’s not. But this book has so much value for nearly everyone who cares about the outside world and boating, children, eating well, and living well, that it’s not hard to advise anyone who is also interested in these topics to pick up a copy of Closer to the Ground- it’s well worth the cost of money and time. The author, Dylan Tomine, is a former fishing guide who lives on an island with his family- but not far from a big city- in the Northwest, and he gives his observations on such important topics as fishing for salmon and steelhead trout, growing good food in the garden, foraging for delicious mushrooms and other wildfood, and talking about important things with his kids. Along with his thoughts on life in general, Tomine gives his readers some very interesting recipes for seafood and other good-eating. This book is not at all preachy or superior- this is a man writing about his life and how he is trying to make it better for himself, his family, and the world around him. Also, he’s one of us. In a recent conversation online with Tomine, he tells SKF,” As for human-powered craft and fishing, I had an old aluminum drift boat for years. And I’ve spent a lot of time at the oars of various rafts, floating down steelhead rivers all up and down the coast. In fact, I was just rowing a raft on the Upper Nass River in Northern British Columbia a few weeks back. There is nothing like the peace and camaraderie of floating and fishing. And it sure beats the hell out of busting brush on foot down the river banks.” This book would make fine holiday presents- even for those unfortunate folks who are not kayak anglers. Closer to the Ground should be found at any bookstore or ordered online- it’s a fine book. Book Details: Published by Patagonia ISBN 978-1-938340-50-5 264 pages $17.95 94 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


book review

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 95


gear review

W

e’ve all probably been burned by rods that looked good in the store, but the performance was lacking in the field. Sometimes, however, we chance upon a rod that works well and also looks good, too. The new Manley Platinum Series of rods is in this category. Since obtaining one of these rods, I have been very impressed with its quality of build and materials, its appearance, and most important of all, its performance.

I have used a seven foot, medium heavy action Manley Platinum rod on a few recent fishing trips, and I have been very impressed. This rod has the MicroWave line control system of mini-line guides, and used with the appropriate weight of line- either braid or mono- this rod delivers long, accurate casts. I matched this rod with a Penn Battle II reel loaded with 15 lb braid, and this set-up is a pleasure. The rod balances well in hand, and the all-natural cork handle feels good in grip. The rod is very sensitive- gentle takes are easy to feel and react to. The Platinum Series comes in both spinning and bait cast formats. 98 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


gear review

Platinum Series February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 99


gear review

A feature which I particularly like about this rod is the extendable fighting butt. This feature may not appeal to all anglers- especially those who fish only on smaller water for smaller fish, but occasionally I hook something with some real power behind it- bull reds or king mackerel for instance- and the fighting butt really helps to apply pressure to the fish without wearing out the angler’s arm. For kayak anglers in particular, this slide-out fighting butt helps conserve space in the ‘yak, but it’s always there if needed.

We recommend this series of rods to kayak anglers who want a rod that offers comfort in use, sensitivity on strike, and some serious power when a big fish goes the other way. For more information about Manley Rods: www.manleyrods.com

100 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


gear review

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 101


Editor’s note: Dan Sharley is a friend, and he’s also my favorite artist. Just judging from this article, he’s also a very good writer and a good uncle.

104 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


Longnose Gar and PizzaFlavored Combos By Dan Sharley

L

ate summer: my least-favorite time of year. Bugs, heat, humidity, low water and pretty horrible fishing; unless you fish at night, during which you get the same progression of bad things with the only change being “moderately horrible fishing.� When the calendar rolls over to late August and September, I normally try to head for the tailraces, which offer at least cooler days on the water. But, on this day, the Corps had other ideas, and with our targeted river beset with heavy generation and high flows, we made the best of it and headed to the nearest warm-water stream instead. February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 105


After loading kayaks into the bed of my truck, my young nephew and I briefly stopped for gas and pizzaflavored Combos and Extra Sweet Tea (the latter two shameless attempts at “Favorite Uncle”). On the way to the river, I provided the 14-year-old a tutorial on what we’d be doing today. It would be a multispecies afternoon on an area creek, as we would have opportunities for all three types of black bass, rock bass (redeye), multiple 106 l Southern Kayak Fishing

variations of sunfish, maybe a carp … and most probably, longnose gar. We’d fly fish for the gar, something my nephew had never done before. I explained the nuances of the approach. We would use a hookless streamer fly made of a few-inches of unwound nylon rope and a couple strands of tinsel flash; we’d “sight-fish” in order to target bigger fish; after each cast, we’d retrieve the fly with short,

l

January 2016

but relatively quick strips, making the nylon and flash flare and pulse; we’d wait for the gar to slash at the fly with its long, toothy bill, fight the urge to set the phantom hook and rely on patience as the fish gathered its stunned prey in its mouth and slowly swam away; then, we would tighten the fly line and — hopefully — be connected with a prehistoric fish of considerable proportions. I explained each step carefully. He munched on


Combos, slugged back tea-flavored sugar water, offered a few mumbled affirmatives and played a game on his iPhone. Teenagers, man ‌ When we arrived at our put-in spot, the ramp was blocked by a burly scoutmaster, his late model Ford Explorer and a trailer full of dripping canoes. Little scouts in two-tone green outfits scurried like ants around the vehicle, working in unison to secure

the crafts to the trailer. The scout-master barked orders, and his minions pulled on tie-downs and straps until each Old Town and Coleman was firmly and appropriately packed. They were efficient, and the ramp was cleared within minutes. I waved my hand in approval and appreciation to the troop, and backed my kayak-filled truck down the now-empty ramp. February 2016

l

Cardinals flitted from the branches of the surrounding undergrowth, which featured an almost exclusive infestation of Japanese privet. Ironically, the plants were infested by Japanese beetles, although the red birds were doing their best to stem the invasion. Downstream, at the end of the first pool and just beyond an old railroad trestle, a kingfisher noisily claimed its territory. A few feet from the bank, painted Southern Kayak Fishing

l 107


turtles sunned themselves on a fallen, partially-submerged hackberry. They were arranged in order by size, with the biggest critter being on the far left, and the runt of the group being on the far right. As our kayaks slid into the river, the turtles did the same. The water was bright green, but relatively clear, and offered great visibility of what lurked below. My nephew piloted an olive-colored, 10-foot, sit-on-top yak, while I flopped onto my orange 12-footer. My stern was loaded with a cooler of drinks and lunch, an extra life-jacket and a couple of tackle boxes. He only brought his spinning rod, but I had a couple of fly-rods, one of which I knew he’d end up using throughout the day. We slowly paddled to the middle of the large pool directly across front of the ramp. A sluggish current nudged us downstream. Amidst the chirps of cardinals, the calls of the kingfisher and the muted voices of people using a nearby walking path, we heard little “bloops” as gar broke the surface of the water with their narrow beaks. Taking advantage of the lazy push, we dropped anchors in the middle of the pool. I pointed out the dozens of gar loitering in the dark water under a cluster of stream-side oak trees. Fly lines whistled. Our rope flies plopped into the water. My nephew remembered the pretrip lesson, and retrieved the fly perfectly. The ugly clump of nylon and flash came alive when wet; it darted, tossed, pulsed and flashed in a perfect imitation of a wounded minnow.

108 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 109


We had follows on nearly every cast. Due to the relative clarity of the water, you could pick your fish, and often, it was the one tracking your fly. Other times, a long, dark shape would creepily emerge from the murk below and with subtle waves of its paddle-shaped tail, slowly and curiously stalk the writhing strands of nylon.

110 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

While the gar were both abundant and curious, “hookups” were few and far between. I managed to fool one medium-sized fish, but my nephew wasn’t as fortunate, and after an hour of casting, we decided to pull anchors and head downstream to another hole. Along the way, we stopped at a promising riffle, carefully beaching our kayaks on small gravel island heavily fortified by snake weed. I strategically ignored my nephew’s suggestion that we go swimming in the downstream hole, and instead, handed him a fly rod. He grumbled a bit, but began casting a black and white “bream killer” fly into the quickly moving water and skillfully danced it among the rocks of the river bottom. A brief flash and the fly disappeared, and a chunky smallmouth exploded from the water and angrily shook its head. The kid giggled. January 2016


After the catch, photo and release, he went back to fishing. Meanwhile, I was elbow-deep in the cooler, fishing out sandwiches and Pringles, when I heard another splashing smallie. I had fished this stretch of river for longer than my nephew had been alive and I had never caught a smallmouth. Before we were done with lunch, he had caught eight — the biggest of which he played with one hand as he used the other to hold his sandwich. The dude can fish.

Throughout the afternoon, we shoal-hopped, as we stopped at promising riffles to wade and to fish and paddled through the deeper, slower stretches. My nephew used a buzz bait to fool several smallmouth and largemouth bass, and I managed a few panfish on the fly. While we encountered numerous gar, I was the only one who got lucky enough to fool a couple of medium-sized fish.

February 2016

l

He also finally beat me down on the swimming suggestion, and I reluctantly agreed to hop into the water with him. He jumped in the warm water, while I waded carefully, removing my cell phone from my pocket before stepping into deeper water, and remembering that my truck only had one towel in it. We laughed, he dove and flopped and splashed. While I got wet, I didn’t swim, despite the incessant pleading from my nephew.

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 111


After getting our fill of getting wet, we sloshed our way back to our nearby kayaks. My nephew suddenly stopped, and a concerned frown covered his face. “I think I lost my GoPro.” “Where did you lose it?” (realizing instantly I sounded like my mother.) “I had it in my pocket when we were swimming.” After a long pause … “Why did you put it there?” “I dunno.” “The water’s kinda murky here. What color is the camera?” “Black.” “Black?!” “Yeah.” “Wonderful.” We searched the pool, but our hopes for discovery were clouded by the silt kicked up by our sandaled feet. After 45 minutes, we abandoned the recovery effort and moped back to the kayaks. I offered condolences and discussed coming back the next day with a snorkel and mask, but we both knew the camera was gone. I tried to console,

112 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


but the best I could do was to offer him some Pringles. He smiled slightly, took a few chips and resumed the sulk. We began paddling upstream and back to the ramp, as I punctured the pregnant pauses with bad jokes and purposeful conversation about the number of species we had caught (seven — smallmouth, largemouth, spotted bass, longeared sunfish, bluegill, warmouth and longnose gar). By the time we crossed the small riffle at the tail of the deep pool near the ramp, he had put the loss of the camera behind him and resumed fishing. The sun fell behind the trees, and we gently patrolled the deep hole near our launch site. The river was quiet, save for the occasional ripple made by breathing gar. I paddled towards the bank and turned my kayak to face my nephew. I marveled at his efficient casting … a two-handed technique that used the water’s friction to load the rod as he began the backcast. The forward presentation featured a perfect, gentle loop which reflected off the black water and caught the last of the sunlight as it softly fell into the river. I said “one more cast” about a dozen times as he determinedly stripped the fly. I glanced over my shoulder and saw the empty parking lot at the ramp, but when I turned back around, his fly rod was bent and dancing, the line tight to the water, the fly entangled in the toothy beak of longnose gar.

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 113


IT COSTS NO MORE T O G O F I R S T C L A S S ... America’s #1 Trout Fishing Resort is Gaston’s. Our White River float trips for lunker trout are legendary from coast to coast. We do the work. All you do is fish – in style and comfort. Then there are the extras that make “resort” our last name. First-class lodging. One of the South’s finest restaurants, featuring a spectacular view. A private club. Tennis and a pool. A nature trail. A conference lodge for your group meetings or parties. Even a private landing strip for fly-in guests.

1777 River Road • Lakeview, Arkansas 72642 (870) 431-5202 • E-Mail gastons@gastons.com Lat 36 20' 55" N Long 92 33' 25" W

www.gastons.com


On The Fly Magazine Highlighting the Passions and Lifestyle of Fly Fishing and Bird Hunting

www.ontheflymag.com


kayak gear review

MUSTANG Elite 28K Personal Flotation Device Here at Southern Kayak Fishing magazine, from our very first issue we’ve tried to bring our readers lots of information about PFDs. No, this is not as exciting as reading about catching big fish in remote locations, but having good information about these potentially life-saving devices just might be the most important information we provide. Here’s a new PFD that kayak anglers really need to find out about. The new Mustang Elite 28K is a kayak angler’s dream for a PFD which fits the bill for a kayak angler’s needs. This unit, like all of Mustang’s PFDs is a selfinflating model which can be put in its life-saving inflated mode by either a hand-pulled trigger or by a self-inflating mechanism in 116 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


kayak gear review in the even of a very bad man-in-the-water incident. This PFD is well-thought out, and it is very well constructed. We recommend the Mustang Elite 28K PFD very highly- it might just save a kayak angler’s life. For more information, contact

mustangsurvival.com case the kayaker is not capable of pulling the trigger cord. Small CO2 cartridges supply the inflation. This system allows the PFD to be, when not saving someone’s life- very small and compact- a very good thing for kayak anglers. The Elite 28K is very lightweight and made of breathable materials- it doesn’t hold water, and being small, doesn’t catch wind. There are lots of attachment points on the jacket for gear, and there are secure pockets of a knife and other gear/ The automatics inflation systemHydrostatic Inflation Technologymeans that this new jacket is very slim, and it rides well in a kayak seat. Especially good for kayak anglers is the super-slim back of this PFD- it doesn’t conflict with the seat of a kayak, so the angler is more likely to actually keep the jacket on while fishing or paddling. There are lots of chartreuse reflective patches on this jacket which will make location and rescue February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 117


The Right Kind of Reunion By Ed Mashburn

Reunions are a pain, usually.

We’ve all had to suffer through reunions- mostly these are family get-togethers, sometimes they’re school classrelated- but most reunions are pretty bad. They involve people we don’t really want to talk with. We have to suffer through pictures of weddings and graduations that we’re not interested in. These kinds of reunions most of us could do very well without.

Most reunions are pretty bad. But there are some reunions that are pretty good. In fact, this year’s reunion of a group of anglers related only by their love of small-water fishing and kayaks who have met online is my favorite kind of reunion.

Again this year- At Grand Isle For the past five years, the members of a well-known and popular online forum- The Alabama River Fishing Forumhave met at various locations for fishing and eating and football-watching reunions. Some year’s reunions have more folks in attendance- some have less. But no matter how many online friends can make it, each year’s trip is a memory making occasion on its own. The Alabama River Fishing Forum reunion this year was held again at Grand Isle, Louisiana, and if there’s a better place for a fishing oriented reunion than Grand Isle, most of us have never found it. It made no difference that the remnants of Hurricane Patricia came in and rewarded the 2015 reunion members with high winds and very high water- it was still a fine reunion. 120 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


- Grand Isle 2015

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 121


122 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


The Folks at the Reunion

Even though the name of the sponsoring forum is “Alabama” River Fishing and most of the folks present were Alabamians, several kayak anglers from Georgia, Mississippi, and of course, Louisiana attended. And it says something about the quality and level of the anglers who made this year’s reunion that even with several Auburn Tiger fans, Alabama Tiders, Arkansas Razorbacker, Mississippi State Bulldog, and Louisiana State fans, and with a bunch of Southeast Conference football games on television- with widely varying game results- not a single fight broke out, and very few- well, perhaps a few- harsh words directed toward someone else’s team were uttered. A great deal of self-control was shown. Lots of cigars were smoked, various spirituous liquids were consumed, and many, many fish stories were told this year. To me, and I suspect many others, one of the best things about this sort of reunion is the total lack of organization and structure for the long weekend. Folks get up when they want. Folks go fishing when they want. Folks cook and eat when they want. This lack of control and schedule is most refreshing. For instance, each day, I got up early before dawn, cast a fly line behind our rented house under the dock lights for white and speckled trout, and then went in for a little dawn nap. Then I got up, ate a breakfast as simple or complex as I desired, and drove the kayak to various places in the marsh for morning fishing. Then I went back to the house, made a lunch, and took a nap. I woke up, loaded back up, and went back to the marshes. I came back in the afternoon, showered up, started a contribution to supper, and napped in the fine breezeway below the house in a sling chair while food cooked.

I can live with this sort of arrangement of time. February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 123


The Food A High Point

First off, at the Alabama River Fishing Forum reunions, we are not talking about desperate souls living on Viennies and crackers. We eat very, very well. There is a surprising level of culinary skill present in the members of the club. For instance- and this is not a full list of prepared food- we had marinated venison loin grilled with green peppers and onionexcellent. We had lots of grilled seafood- redfish on the half-shell- delicious. We had a scratch-built taco soup- superb over chips with grated cheese. We had a decent etoufeenot bad. We had really excellent breakfast burritos. We even had a member’s caring mom send us a home-made pound cake for dessertvery, very good. At this reunion, the folks who attend don’t get poor with lack of food. As Jason Davis of Clanton, Alabama says,” If you leave here hungry, it’s your own fault!” 124 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 125


The Fishing- Not Great

To be honest, the fishing this year was bad. Strong southeast winds pushed lots of water up into the bays of Grand Isle, and the fish were scattered far and wide. This made it very hard to pattern where the fish were and what they wanted to eat. The strong wind made fly casting very difficult. In fact, the best fly fishing came off the dock right behind the rented house where the reunion was headquartered. Anglers could fly fish under the lights at night and catch white trout and speckled trout with regularity. This arrangement also allowed anglers to try different fly rigs and equipment belonging to other attendees. Although the fishing conditions were tough, we caught fish. Several folks were able to find protected ponds out in the marshes with oysters on the bottoms, and this is where the reds were holding. Most redfish were caught on spinner baits and spoons. Several slot reds came to jigs with soft plastic bodies. A number of delicious flounder were caught, and a few black drum were brought in. The fishing was not good, but even bad days fishing at Grand Isle are better than good days in most other places. 126 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 127


128 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


And Next YearMaking Plans Already

As this year’s Alabama River Fishing Forum reunion came to an end, members were already talking about next year’s get-together. And that’s the best thing about reunionsthere will be another one next year. John Hammond of Madison, Alabama said it best,” This is the trip you don’t want to miss!” I know one member who is already looking forward to the 2016 Alabama River Fishing Forum reunion. To find out more about the Alabama River Fishing Forum: alabamariverfishing.net

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 129


We take you fishing.... Southern Drawl

Kayak Fishing offers saltwater and freshwater trips. We fish the saltwater backcountry from Tampa Bay to Pine Island Sound, targeting snook, redfish, spotted seatrout, tarpon and other species. In addition, we fish freshwater lakes and streams in southwest Florida for bass, bluegill, shellcracker, tilapia and exotics such as oscars and Mayan cichlids.

2519 Wood Oak Drive Sarasota, FL 34232 (941) 284-3406 www.kayakfishingsarasota.com


not for a boat ride!


The Winningest Angler in Riverbassin’ Tournament History- Tim Perkins Photos by Jonathan Fordham

Editor’s Note: We’re awfully proud of this year’s accomplishment on the kayak fishing tournament trail by our Technical Advisor, Tim Perkins. Tim and his tournament partner, Lance Coley, won the Team Championship, and Tim was named the Winningest Angler in Riverbassin’ history. Good work, no doubt. We asked Tim to tell us about this work on the tournament trail, and how he goes about his work. Let’s summarize what must be admitted was a pretty good year on the kayak tournament fishing trail. Here’s what our buddy Tim Perkins did: He fished six states- Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. He drove over 10,000 miles. He fished nine national events as an individual He fished six national events as a team member. The results: Crawfordville, Florida- 4th individual 2nd team Charlottesville, Virginia tied for 1st individual with teammate Lance Coley 1st team Knoxville, Tennessee 5th individual 2nd team Raleigh, North Carolina 1st individual Columbus, Georgia 1st individual 1st team Wetumpka, Alabama 3rd individual Silver Point, Tennessee 1st tied with teammate Lance Coley 1st team Nationals- Silver Point, Tennessee 2nd individual (behind Lance Coley) 1st team Named Winningest Angler in Riverbassin’ history.

That’s a pretty good year. 132 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 133


How He Went About this Year’s Tournaments

When asked what were his plans for 2015, Tim says,” My goal as an individual was to be in the top three in the national points race going into the national tournament. As a team, I wanted to be in the top two, points-wise, going into the nationals.” He adds,” I think we went into this year with a little chip on our shoulders. We watched last year slide out of our grasp. We lost last year by ¼ of an inch. We led the whole year and we were ranked first. It was a difficult week the week of nationals last year for me. My father passed that week- I’m not making excuses. Things ultimately happened the way it was supposed to. I ended up as the runner-up team and runner-up for angler of the year.” Tim says,” We both got commitments from our families which is so important. We turned our attention to the Trail this year- not to take anything for granted. I think last year’s disappointment set the tone for our focus this year.” 134 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


What was done differently this year?

When asked to account for this year’s success, Tim says,” I have used Premier League Lures since I started in 2011. PLL let me spec out a lure that I use and have had great success with- the “River Series.” In saying that, this year, I had extra help with a couple of PLL lures that weren’t on the market yet. One of the baits was a black ¼ oz Fade Blade spinner bait. This little bait earned its way to be on our “A-Team. This is a spotted bass weapon. The other bait was a 1/8 oz buzz bait- the “Spit Fire”. This little bait rounded out our arsenal. It was responsible for several wins on the River Bassin’Tour this year. It is definitely a surprise big bass bait.” Tim Perkins says that their team plan was to hit as many regional tournaments in the Southeast- their home area- for these tournaments offered more points than local tournaments. The team put a lot of time into the events they chose to fish. Preparation for a particular tournament may sometimes take months. Tim says that Lance and he have fished four Riverbassin’ seasons together, and they have daily communication during the season.

February 2016

Tim Perkins adds,” Both baits are part of the two kits that Premier League Lures is offering to the public. Bass anglers should ask for “The Riverchamps” basic kit or the deluxe kit. These kits are a collection of baits Lance Coley and I have successfully used the past few years.”

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 135


This Year’s Toughest Tournament?

Tim shakes his head and says,” Knoxville, Tennessee- without a doubt. We have somewhat perfected our preparation process for upcoming tournaments. This tournament was located in northern Tennessee, and this really challenged our process. There are countless waters in that area. You have these massive rivers in the area or those little trout streams. Winning tournaments is all about eliminating unproductive water. We probably spent more time on this area that all of the other six states put together.”

And Your Best Tournament this Year?

Perkins brightens up considerably when he answers this question. He says,” I actually had four this year! I don’t actually measure my performance by a win. I look at how I executed on the controllable variables- for example, hook up to boat ration. I also look at how I made my adjustments to the uncontrollable variables such as changing baits for an increase in fish reaction. In each of the three tournaments, it comes down to making the right adjustments as well as flawless execution. Besides, if you average over 18 inches per fish, you’re doing something right!” Perkins adds,” At the Charlottesville, Virginia tournament, I came in second place with an 18.6 inch average. I gave up a stretch of water to my partner, and I had to make adjustments all day on the water I had to fish. I makes me feel great to make the right adjustments for myself and the right adjustments for my partner. My partner didn’t have the opportunity to get on the unfamiliar water like I did- but that’s what teammates are for- and my partner won!” 136 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


The Nationals- a Big Win

Tim says,” First, let me say Silver Point, Tennessee area was not unfamiliar territory for Lance and me. This area actually dates back to 2011 for me. I won my first River Bassin’ tournament in that area. Also in 2014, I had a top three finish there. So, needless to say, when the 2015 River Bassin’ schedule came out, I felt like we could make a legit run for the championship there.” Perkins continues,” We had a few days to practice the week before the Nationals- we got a little concernedpractice was too good! It usually takes around 50 inches to win in that part of Tennessee, and we both had considerably more than 50 inches in practice. We had to come home and spend the next week sleepless, praying conditions wouldn’t change. After driving up to the tournament location the day before the contest, Tim and Lance checked their launch points, checked into a motel to get a good night’s sleep. The next morning started at 3:00- a hard day’s fishing, and then go to the weigh-in. An almost four hour drive back home would come after the tournament. A rain was falling the next morning, but that worked into Perkin’s plans. After breakfast, we shared a prayer for safety, and arrived at their launch points. February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 137


Perkins says,” Before I got in my boat, I looked at the water for a quick read, and my gut told me to make allure change before my first cast. I tied on the new Premier League Lures buzz bait the “Spitfire”. On my second cast, a 19 inch largemouth struck. When I reached my prime area, I didn’t even get a strike. This 200 yard stretch of river had big chunk rocks, but the dropping water level had pushed the fish out of the area. Also, lots of leaves were falling from the trees into the water. I found that I had to use my rod tip to direct my baits through trails in the leaves. The bass were there under the leaves. I kept up with the leaderboard all- Lance was doing great- he actually led all day. Then with about two hours to go, I culled my last fish and to my surprise, we were tied. I put my rod down and paddled out. I touched base with Lance, we met up and drove out.” Perkins tells us that his confidence was not misplaced. “We did win! Number one team in the country. Number one and Number two Angler of the year- and we did it together. We had already decided- to everyone’s surprise- no matter which one of us came out on top, we would split everything down the middle. I’m so thankful I asked Lance to be my partner in 2011, because the rest has been epic. Also, I’m blessed that I don’t have to fish against Lance. All the records and titles- I owe to my partner, Lance Coley- and also to our wives and families.” When asked to summarize the year’s achievements, Tim Perkins is quick to respond. He says,” I appreciate the dedication and support of my beautiful wife, Michelle. This is such a commitment and sacrifice for my wife and kids- most people have no idea. The dedication of our team- the “The Riverchamps”. We worked out everythingtime, effort, baits and split everything. I’ll never forget that. I appreciate my sponsors Premier League Lures for their support as they went above and beyond providing us with the best lures on the planet. I also appreciate Wilderness systems Kayaks for their support for the best kayak on the water. Finally, I appreciate the outpouring of support of friends and fans. Whether on Facebook or at the Nationals, I appreciate each and everyone who took time to follow us.

138 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


608 Emmett Rd. Bristol, Tennessee 37620

www.southholstonriverflyshop.com

C ay l o r

Custom Flies Quality flies since 1991

www.CaylorCustomFlies.com 9451 Abb Pitman Road Milton, Florida 32570

850-957-4071 phone roger@caylorcustomflies.com February 2016 l Southern Kayak Fishing l 139


140 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

November 2015


December 2015

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 141


Three Days, Three Rivers, One Life Vest By Bill Amshey

142 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


O

ver the winter, my fellow Potomac River Smallmouth Club (PRSC; www.prsc.org) member Jamie Gold and I received an invitation from sports writer Bruce Ingram to fish three rivers in three days. Bruce planned a trip to the New, Maury, and James Rivers. Jamie and I of course quickly accepted, but had to patiently wait through the long winter and spring before Bruce finished up his classes at Botetourt County High School. Bruce’s home in Botetourt County, named after Lord Botetourt, a popular Virginia Colony governor, put us within easy reach of all three rivers. The afternoon we arrived, Bruce planned a late afternoon, early evening float from the put-in just below Claytor Lake to the take-out at Radford. The New River is well known for a good evening bite. This would be a 4- to 5-hour float depending on how hard we fished. There are some riffles on this float, but really no significant water obstacles. Bruce’s gracious wife, Elaine, fixed us up with roasted venison sandwiches and off we went. We threw just about everything that evening short of the kitchen sink: Bruce’s favorite poppers by Anthony Hipps of Lexington, North Carolina; Jamie’s chartreuse Walt’s poppers and Sneaky Pete’s, Clouser minnows in various colors, Chuck Kraft clawdads, Senkos, and other plastics; and my Senko’s, Case plastics, broken back Rapalas, and my go-to red Bandit crawdad imitator. Not much worked. The best we can say is that we didn’t get skunked. February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 143


144 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


Early the next morning, we set off for the Maury River, which Bruce said was a bit low for this time of year. The float we agreed to was from the Jordan’s Point Park in Lexington to Ben Salem Wayside, a full-day float. The Maury River has to be one of the prettiest and cleanest rivers I have ever fished. In many places it is hemmed in by high rock walls and overhanging hardwood trees. There are no chicken farms along its 43-mile length, and thus there have been no fish kills like those that have plagued several other rivers in Virginia. I found the river fairly narrow and shallow, no more than 3 feet deep in most places with occasional deep holes. Our float included Class I and II rapids and lots of long riffles. Amazingly, we saw only one other fisherman the entire day, and even more amazingly he turned out to be a distant, unknown relative of Bruce’s. Now, what are the odds! The fishing again proved to be slow. We attributed it to the crystal-clear water and the bright blue skies. I had some luck on a small Yamamoto shad-shape plastic jerkbait. Jamie and Bruce worked their fly rods with some success. While we all caught fish, we didn’t pull in any that would give us big-fish bragging rights. Meanwhile, I was having problems in my sit-on-top kayak navigating the boney Maury waters. I am sure that my fishing buddies were as frustrated as I was, as I proceeded to get hung up on virtually every riffle and stretch of whitewater we came upon. At the last significant stretch of whitewater, I got hung up real badly on a ledge and just could not get freed. When I did, the kayak and I parted ways, with me hanging on to a side handle. Jamie was the first to try and stop my kayak and me as I was pushed through the rapid. Bruce did catch one end of my kayak and pulled me into calmer water. Thank goodness, as the rocks ahead really would have hurt. February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 145


From a safety perspective, I was wearing an oldfashioned big and bulky life vest, which I have to confess that I do not usually do. The vest helped me keep my head above water, and it also protected my upper body from a lot of hard hits on rocks. I had bruises up and down my arms and legs, but none in between. And thanks to watching a safety YouTube video by my fishing buddy Jeff Little (www.tightlinejunkiejournal.pivotshare.com) I was wearing long pants that day that protected me from numerous scrapes and cuts, suffering only one cut on my left ankle. At the take-out, we discovered the reason I looked so inept. My kayak had developed a leak in the seam and had taken on several gallons of water. I’m not exactly a small guy, so my kayak already sits pretty low, but the added weight of the water turned me into a catastrophe waiting to happen, which it did that day on the Maury. The next day, Bruce and Jamie fished the short Horseshoe Bend to Springwood float on the James River. Jamie was hoping to tie up with a musky on this float, which has a long series of deep pools and long riffles. But Jamie had to settle with some rock bass and Bruce with some smallies caught on a fly. In our three days of fishing, we could not find any consistent success with anything. The overall best baits were the soft plastics. Bruce’s and Jamie’s fly rods were unproductive on all flies. While I was sore and limping at the end of our three days on three rivers, the one life vest saved my butt, and I have a much deeper respect for water safety. We all know stories of fishermen who weren’t quite so lucky. I urge all readers to remember to be safe when out fishing. 146 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 147


For readers who don’t know Bruce Ingram, he is an outdoor writer/ photographer who has written several books, including The James River Guide, The New River Guide, The Shenandoah/Rappahannock Rivers Guide, and Fly and Spin Fishing for River Smallmouth. These books cover the wide range of float trips available on these rivers, plus information on access points, rapids, fishing hot spots, and trip planning. Bruce regularly writes for such magazines as Virginia Wildlife, Wildlife in North Carolina, Whitetail Times, Turkey Country, Turkey & Turkey Hunting, Game and Fish Publications, and many others. His email address is: https://sites.google.com/site/bruceingramoutdoors/

148 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 149


Charlie Call me old fashioned... I could camp a week or few here with a fly rod and a rifle.

Dano I have heard some really good (1st hand) reports of the Penobscot River in Maine. Island hopping the Florida Keys, or sea of Cortez.

Kayak Anglers’ Bucket List - Very Revealing Responses, We Think So what do magazine writers do when things are slow? We bother other folks with questions. On a quiet day this fall, we decided to ask some of our favorite people- the readers and writers of two great online forums- Alabama River Fishing Forum and Southern River Fishing Forum- a simple question: Where would you like to go kayak fishing if you could go anywhere? What’s your Bucket List destination? We got some very interesting responses, and we’d like to share them with you. And we’ll ask you, too. Where would you go if you could go kayak fishing anywhere in the world? And if money were not a factor- We might as well dream big while we’re at it! jeubank3 washington state is the place to go. not only salmon kreekn runs, but bald eagles like pigeons in NYC. they are evDevil’s River, TX with erywhere up there. flyrods, guns, and this bunch of miscreants. edit - actually, if given the chance i’d rather go to alaska

152 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l

January 2016


lc10and2 from Christmas Island for big bones and trevally Culebra for bones, permit, tarpon 1 week camping in The Everglades for reds, snook, tarpon (this WILL happen) Guanaja for the bones and solitude Ambergris for bones

AUtrkyhntr It’s not necessarily kayak related but I want to see a Salmon run before I leave this world. There’s something about that phenomenon that affirms my belief in a higher power due to the way it breathes life into so many people and animals.

I just want to spend a few weeks catching bonefish jdavis22

Yellowleaf Kamchatka Peninsula, I want to fish for those browns that eat mice like bluegill on a boogle bug.

Let’s see, bucket list trips: 1. Fly fishing for trout in Western NC with Purple Squirrel: almost had to swim out of the river....twice. 2. Carp fishing with Kreekn: got skunked. 3. Fishing Hatchet with Pope: enough said. Cracked the kayak, had to be rescued several times. Almost gave up kayak fishing forever. 4. Grand Isle with the usual crowd: endured gale force winds and a flood. 5. Dolphin Island with the usual crowd: hotter than seven hells. 6. Pensacola with Purple Squirrel and Yellowleaf: once again, gale force winds, flipped over tents, food attacked by raccoons. I love fishing with you guys. When do we go again? Thats right in about 4 days. Seriously, I would love to spend a week or 2 out in Montana traveling around and fishing the rivers I have only read about. Belize for bones and permit. Tarpon anywhere. BrianWWilkes Without question it would be a three day trip on the Devil’s River in Texas.

Buzzbait Quetico Providential Park for some fat unmolested smallie action.

blake Quentico/Boundary waters, John Day, Devils River (pre-flood), Salmon (Main stem), St. Croix (ME) , ut regionally Big South Fork of the Cumberland (scenery), something multiday for Shoal Bass, Santa Fe 100 or so miles on the Duck (TN), New River (VA/ WV) or James (VA)

February 2016

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 153


The Measure Net

by JTA Products, Inc.

Catch, Measure, Release ph: 888-582-7763 | fx: 888-582-7764 email: jeff@measurefish.com web: MeasureFish.com

FREE SAMPLES AVAILABLE FOR POTENTIAL NEW DEALERS

Guide JR Guide Large Small Measures up to 20”

Medium Measures up to 24”

Measures up to 40”

Measures up to 36”

Measures up to 28”

Product Ask About Nylon Options.

ITEM #

SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE

Small Net with Rubber bag (measures up to 20”)

ALSM-R

$31.00

Medium Net with Rubber bag (measures up to 24”)

ALME-R

$35.00

Large Telescoping Net with Rubber bag (measures up to 28”)

ALLL-R

$46.00

JR Guide Telescoping Net with Rubber bag (measures up to 36”)

JRGN1

$74.00

Guide Telescoping Net with Rubber bag (measures up to 40”)

ALGN1

$81.00

The Measure Net by JTA Products, Inc. ph: 888-582-7763 | fx: 888-582-7764 | email: jeff@measurefish.com | web: www.MeasureFish.com


What Do You Want To Catch Today? Brown Trout Rainbow Trout Brook Trout Palomino Trout Steelhead Smallmouth Bass Largemouth Bass White Bass Kentucky Spotted Bass Walleye Muskie Crappie Bluegill Yellow Perch Flathead Catfish Channel Catfish Carp They’re all waiting for you in Swain County, NC one of

the most diverse fishing habitats in the world with four rivers, dozens of mountain streams throughout the Smoky Mountains, and the deep, cold waters of Fontana and Cheoah lakes.

Visit GreatSmokiesFishing.com for a map and profiles of 26 great fishing locations near Bryson City, NC.


Profile for don  kirk

January/February Southern Kayak Fishing  

January/February Southern Kayak Fishing  

Advertisement