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Southern Kayak Fishing

issue #13

www.sokayakfishing.com NOVEMBER 2017

CLOSE LOOK: Florabama


ATLANTA FEBRUARY 2 & 3, 2018 Free Parking! ®

INFINITE ENERGY CENTER

Fly Fishing is NOT part of the show

IT IS THE SHOW!

The International Fly Fishing Film Festival world premier. One night only, Friday, February 2 at 6:30. Tickets are $15 at the door or $10 in advance or with a paid Fly Fishing Show admission for that day. See www.flyfishingshow.com for more details.

flyfishingshow.com


Editor’s Message

F

riendly faces. We hope to see them everywhere we go, though it will never be 100% of the time. We hope to wear them at all moments through life, but know it could never happen. Things happen daily to people all around the world that make it impossible to be “the best” version of themselves that they can be. Some days, a single misstep in the original plan is enough to wipe the smile off someone’s face. Not a large set-back, but something as miniscule as seeing another car parked in your “secret” fishing spot or another fisherman inching too close to you on the water. Too often do we let these small inconveniences determine when greetings dissolves into arguments, when relaxing trips turn into pressure cookers.

I often have to remind myself that the other fisherman and I are on the “same team” so-to-speak. With every political and economic aspiration our world has, the fishing world grows a little darker. The fact of the matter is, in 2017, there are not many places left that are truly considered “secret” spots. As unfortunate that is, it should serve to support the larger idea that if only you are using a location, there is no reason for the rest of the world to help preserve it. We are having a tough enough time preserving our pristine locations with the support of outdoorsmen all around the world. We need people who care about the area to use it. We need people to park at those spots and fish. Yes, it may be an inconvenience to the person who comes directly after, but at least they are going fishing that day. There could easily be a time in the future where these fishing locations are so refined or the fish are so sparse that “going fishing” will not resemble what we think of today. That will be a very dark time for us. A point in which “exploring” loses all meaning. Connecting with nature, what I view as the most important part of humanity to preserve, will simply be a façade. Each time you run into another fisherman on the trail or on the water, these things need to be running through your head. Sure, they may not respect

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Editor’s Message

Southern

(cont.)

the area like you do. They may have no idea what the hell they are doing. They may be the exact opposite type of person than the one you Publisher Don Kirk would like to go get a beer with. The Don@Southerntrout.com good news is they don’t have to be. Editor Ragan Whitlock Their presence alone means that Ragan@Southerntrout.com some good has been put towards the conservation of the area. Managing Editor Leah Kirk Whether it is in the form of money Leah@Southerntrout.com from fishing licenses, the gear that Assoc. Managing Editor Loryn Latham they are wearing or the hotel they Loryn@Southerntrout.com stayed in during the trip. Whether Technical Advisor Tim Perkins their voice will be heard in the form of petitions, lawmaking or simply Field Editor Steve Moore raising children with the correct view Editorial Conslutant Olive K. Nynne of nature. There is collateral good from the inconvenience of seeing Contributors someone else out there. So, give Rob Baker them a smile. Do not try to find the Tony Chavers flaw with their fishing technique or gear choice to make yourself feel Steve Gibson better. Look at them only as fellow Danny Holmes teammates, striving towards the Phillip Landry same higher goal as you are. Today, Tim Perkins more than ever, we need at least Paul Presson one community out to act that way.

Kayak Fishing

Steve Sammons John Williams Captain Kristen Wray

Southern Kayak Fishing is a publication of Southern Unlimited, LLC. It is produced in conjunction with Southern Trout Magazine and Southerntrout.com. Copyright 2017 Southern Unlimited, LLC All rights reserved.

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July 2017

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This Issue Editor’s Letter

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And the Winner Is... 10 Kayak Hacks 22 Soundproofing Hurricanes: 30 What Do the Experts Say? CLOSE LOOK 43 Florabama Coast Featured Lodging Cape San Blas Inn

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Featured Dining 48 Indian Pass Raw Bar Working the Slosh St. Joe Bay

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Kayak Attacks 66 Fall River Smallmouth A True Behemoth 74 Penn Slammer III 6500HS Blood Lines: 82 Heddon Heritage, Part Two Does a Paddle Type Really Matter?

Jackson Mayfly A Fly Fisherman’s Fantasy Fishing Kayaks: No Motor Zone 6 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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82 96

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And

the Winner 10 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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W

hen most kayak anglers think about a day on the water, they envision solitude and serenity. This is not the case for competitive kayak anglers. Tournaments can be the farthest thing from solitude. For the novice, they can be hectic, confusing, and exhausting.

r is...... November 2017

Paul Presson

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Prepping for a tournament is hard work in itself. Deciding where to fish within the boundaries determined by the tournament directors. Mapping the terrain of the area is a must, know the area that you will be fishing. Most anglers will prefish their predetermined spots days in advance. Checking the winds, tides, and barometric pressure is all part of the game. Equipment preparation is more extensive than just a regular outing. Everything must be checked and rechecked, one frayed fluoro line leader or a bad knot can mean the difference between winning and losing. The captains meeting is usually the night before a competition. This meeting includes receiving your captain’s bag, a bag full of goodies usually provided by the sponsors, measuring tools may be distributed, and this ensures all anglers are using a standard measuring device. A good majority of tournaments are catch and release. Poker chips, playing cards, or other indicators may also be handed out. These items are to be displayed in a photograph with the anglers catch during the tournament. This is to make sure the fish is actually caught that day. When taking a photo, a date and time stamp is also required in most catch and release tournaments. Captains meetings are a place for individuals to “eyeball� your competition. When the meeting commences, the rules are explained in great detail. There are many different categories determined by geographic location (what type of fish) and whether it will be an onshore or offshore endeavor. This is also the time to meet some of the sponsors and buy raffle tickets for fishing gear and trips that have been donated to be given away. When the meeting is over, it is time to go home and check the gear one last time. November 2017

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The day of the competition, the start time is predetermined, usually, first safe light. Typical tournaments span from sixeight hours. This may sound like ample time, but like any other day on the water, the time flies. Upon catching the first fish, the fun begins. Pulling the fish in, placing it on the measuring board, placing the indicator and taking the photograph. This is the time when another hand or two would be very nice. It may sound easy enough, but many tournaments winning fish have been lost while performing this juggling act. Many an angler has been disqualified by not meeting the official weigh-in time. Those anglers that want that “one last cast”, may jeopardize a winning day. At the weigh-in, phones and cameras are turned into officials for the photos to be reviewed The judges will check the measurement for each competitor. As other anglers file in, one can feel the anticipation in the air. Whispers of the “monster” fish that have been caught are swirling. In many tournaments, there are several categories. There are winners for species, biggest fish and there are overall winners, each tournament is different. For the competitors, this is a time to mingle with other anglers and compare fish stories. 14 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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As the master of ceremonies steps up to the stage, the winners are named and the trophies distributed. There is little that compares to being awarded for your fishing skills in front of your peers. Now, it is time to get your favorite beverage and talk about what could have been. 16 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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Participating in a kayak fishing tournament is hard work. Winning a tournament is an affirmation that all the days out on the water have paid off. There are no losers, new friends are made, competitive juices are flowing, and lessons are learned. So, the next time you compete and hear the words.....�And the Winner Is�...... just remember, everyone that competes in these rigorous competitions should consider themselves winners. November 2017

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9th

ANNUAL

2017

Hank Patterson Patrick Folkrod Jeff Trigg Josh Laferty Abbi Bagwell John Miko


1

2


Catch, Measure and Release 888-582-7763

www.measurefish.com

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www.kakukayak.com November 2017

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O

ne of the first things children learn is to not make noise while fishing. While there are differing opinions on whether fish can hear conversations at normal speaking volume, there is no controversy about other loud noises. After all, fish have two ways to hear. First, there is a bony structure in their ears called the otolith that is very efficient at alerting them to sound. Second, for close-up vibrations (and sound causes vibration), they have an organ called the lateral line. The lateral line only comes into play for close-in vibrations, usually within a foot or two. Therefore, unless we trigger the lateral line by being right on top of the action, the primary sources of noise in a kayak are wave slap and anything thumping or scraping the hull/floor. Solving wave slap is easy. Just use an anchor trolley to position the bow or stern of the kayak perpendicular to the waves to minimize the thump against the kayak’s side. Dealing with the floor is a more challenging problem. If your kayak did not come with rubberized inserts already installed (many manufacturers call these traction pads), you could buy a kit from Seadek or just make one yourself for under $15.

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Kayak Hacks

Soundproofing

Steve Moore

Photo: Heath Holland

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The Seadek traction kits are cool, but cool comes at a cost. On their main kayak page, they advertise different packages for a broad range of manufacturers. Click on yours, and the website shows options for various kayaks with another click revealing the dimensions of the included 5 mm thick cutouts. If you want to avoid DIY, it is a slick turnkey solution – just stick the insert in the right spot, and you are ready to go. For DIY enthusiasts, the information on dimensions gives an overview and the estimate of the amount of material required. I own a Native Ultimate 14.5 foot kayak with a spacious, unprotected floor that insists on making noise whenever I put something down in front of me 24 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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with the tunnel hull acting as an amplifier. Before the start to the current season, I worked with Heath Holland, one of the subscribers to my Kayak Hacks Fishing channel to figure out the best DIY solution. My first approach was to go to Walmart and pick up some cheap rubber car mats for under seven dollars. As you can see in the video,


those were a total fail. The material was too thick and far too heavy! Heath found a 3-mm yoga mat for eight dollars at Walmart that was exceptionally light and provided plenty of raw material to work with. The mats come with and without a pattern. The challenge with any modern kayak made from high-density polypropylene (HDPE)

is finding glue that will actually adhere given the low surface tension of HDPE. After an extensive search, I discovered Loctite made a spray adhesive for polypropylene and marine applications. Be sure and use the 300 level (“professional performance� for maximum stickiness in the tough kayak operational environment. By itself, the Loctite spray does not provide enough grip on the sides to hold material down when the edges are rubbed and bumped. I initially thought VHB adhesive tape would be a good solution to locking the edges in place since GoPro uses it on all their adhesive mounts. But, it failed quickly. Instead, pick up some contact cement. November 2017

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Once you have the adhesives, creating a soundproof floor is simple. Get some paper sheets to create a template for the specific areas needing soundproofing or merely place the yoga mat on the floor of the kayak and draw the rough outline using a Sharpie pen. Once cut out, trim to refine the fit. Sharp scissors work fine on the 3 mm mats for detail work. To make long cuts, lay scrap wood underneath the mat and use a razor knife. The blade will dig into the wood and move quickly through the material. Once all sections are cut, apply the adhesive using a two-step process. First, apply contact cement to the outside edge of the yoga mat and along the perimeter where it will stick to the kayak (the spray goes in the middle). You only need a ½ inch line of glue since it is just for the edge. Contact cement requires at least 15 minutes to cure while the Loctite spray only requires a few minutes, so do the contact cement first. After waiting the appropriate amount of time for the glue, spray Loctite on the mat and the kayak. Use newspapers, plastic sheets or painter’s tape to protect from overspray. Wait the additional time required per the directions on the Loctite can. Carefully lay down the mat and press to stick. Once pressed on, the material sticks and does not allow fine adjustments. If it goes on wrong, quickly pull it up and lay down again. So how well did it work? After a full season of hard use in brackish inshore fishing, everything continues to adhere well. There is no curl at the edges, and the Loctite spray has worked like a champ in holding the middle in place. Now, those spooky redfish don’t have a clue when I am lurking nearby! Disclaimer: Do not apply any suggestion if it will ruin the appearance, function or structural integrity of your kayak. You are solely responsible for determining if the above ideas are appropriate for your boat and the author and publisher disclaim any responsibility for your actions and decisions. 26 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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Photo: Heath Holland

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Is Swain County NC a Fisherman’s Paradi Hundreds of miles of native mountain trout streams flow

through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park above Bryson City and Cherokee — freestone creeks with native rainbow, brook and brown trout. Most streams offer all three species.

Trout are also common in our four rivers – the Oconaluftee,

Great Smoky M National

Little Tennessee, the Eagle Nol Chambers Twentymile Hazel Creek Forney Cre Creek Creek Creek Tuckasegee and the Creek Fontana Dam Fontana Nantahala, one of Fontana Cheoah Lake Lake Lake Lewellyn Trout Unlimited’s top Fontana Branch Fontana 129 Lake Boat Village Alark 100 rivers. And now, a 2.2 Cable Ramp Marina Boat D Cove 28N Boat mile section of the Tuck Ramp Almo Lemmons Boat P Branch through Bryson City has Boat Ramp Stecoah 143 been designated delayed 19 Wesser 74 Needmore harvest waters, and Road For more information, Nantahala River promises to have one of contact the Bryson City / the highest trout counts Swain County Chamber of Wayah Road (NC 1310) of any stream in the Commerce 800-867-9246. Upper Nantahala southeast. River Public Access

Public Access

estern oing on at W g is g in th e “Three “Som e that may k a L rivers j a n ta n o ’s F a ust ou n li ro a C p h o tside A pular n Nort th u o S e th in merica ationa g in h s fi t u o tr l ’s most park a trout, s to a just send e id d r o e u o g i t a t e e e eming d for b t might b oth wa angler with into orbit ...I n o s ry s B d , in i a n y n ta g s d and flo surrou place to best sc ating nded b book you a in p e e le n s y e to e r s v y o a h m i n Sout e of th don’t hern A e City so you ” r. e b I f m p e y v palach ou hav No in re e th k i c e a n’t fish . your tru produ ed the ctive r q uaint a ivers o nd Carolin f W e stern N a, you orth don’t k missin now w g.” hat yo u’re

Public Access


ise?

Upper Raven Fork

Straight Fork

441 Clingmans Dome

Mountains Park

Deep Creek

Indian Creek

Raven Fork Trophy Section

Lakeview Drive

19 Tuckasegee River

Public Access

ka Dock Alarka Creek ond Park Alarka Road

28S Little Tennessee River

Bryson City

Whittier Whittier Boat Ramp

EBCI Hatchery Big Cove Road

19

441 Tuckasegee River

Public Access

Conleys Creek

Heintooga Ridge Road

Blue Ridge Parkway Cherokee Indian Reservation Cherokee

land eek

Old 288 Boat Ramp

Raven Fork

Oconaluftee River

You be the Judge.

Straight Fork Road

Bradley Chasteen Kephart Fork Creek Prong

74 Conleys Creek Road

Dillsboro

441

Visit GreatSmokiesFishing.com for profiles of all 26 Swain County fishing locations on this map. All are just minutes from Bryson City, NC.

Two mountain lakes The 30 miles of trout offer trout fishing streams on the The 29-mile long, Cherokee Indian 11,700 acre Fontana Reservation are the Lake and its smaller downstream neighbor Cheoah Lake both have strong populations of trout, particularly near the mouths of streams flowing out of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cheoah is regularly stocked by the State of North Carolina.

longest privately-owned and stocked fishing waters east of the Mississippi. The 2.2mile Raven Fork Trophy section is home to the biggest trout in the Smokies. This specially regulated section is fly fishing only and catch and release.


Hurricanes: What do the Experts Say? One force of nature everyone in the southern United States has to deal with is hurricanes. Unfortunately, this has been borne out several times already this year and

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One force of nature everyone in the southern United States has to deal with is hurricanes. Unfortunately, this has been borne out several times already this year and the meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center (www.nhc.noaa.gov) say there is a high probability another of these potentially deadly cyclones may pay an unwanted visit before the 2017 Hurricane Season ends on December 1. Different areas of the Gulf Coast have been bombarded several times since Tropical Storm Cindy made an early appearance this June. The other storms to impact there included Tropical Storm Emily and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Tropical Storm Emily formed quickly in late July and blew across southern Florida from the West Coast to the East Coast bringing mostly excessive rain, downed trees and broken limbs.

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The nasty stuff started with Hurricane Harvey in mid-August. It slammed into southern Texas and wouldn’t go away for a week. It brought the triple threat of very strong winds, coastal flooding and life threatening excessive rainfall that still hadn’t fully dissipated at this deadline. Hurricane Irma formed on August 30 and ramped up to be the strongest Atlantic Hurricane ever recorded. It smacked southwest Florida, then ran up the center of the peninsula. It was large and strong enough that it also caused significant damage and flooding on Florida’s east coast and the Atlantic Seaboard. Hurricane Jose was a little entertaining as it made a loop off the Bahamas before heading offshore up the East Coast and doing another loop off New Jersey before falling apart, but still brought coastal flooding and excessive rainfall from the North Carolina Outer Banks to the Mid-Atlantic states. Hurricane Maria had wreaked havoc to Puerto Rico and the islands and was turning to head up the Atlantic at deadline. While expected to stay far enough offshore to not cause excessive damage, the North Carolina Outer Banks were evacuated in preparation for flooding. All fishermen have dealt with the passing of storms. If the storm approaches slowly enough the barometer drops slowly there can be a strong bite a day or so before it arrives, but the bite shuts down when the barometer drops quickly. The falling barometer is a signal of weather change and fish tend to feed heavily and aggressively as long as it is low, but when the drop speeds up it signals a significant weather change is coming soon and fish stop feeding and move to their protected areas to weather the storm. This was first chronicled by Hall of Fame Fisherman John Alden Knight in the early 1900s. When a storm passes fishing usually comes back pretty quickly unless there was significant flooding or rainwater runoff. After Hurricane Floyd hit N.C. hard in 1999, the fishing in the lower Cape Fear River and nearshore ocean was wide open before all the debris had washed out the inlet and the water had cleared. The speckled trout took a little longer to become active again, but red drum and flounder were biting well as soon as anyone went fishing. King mackerel were just outside the Cape Fear River Inlet and fishermen were catching 30 pound class kings in water so dirty they had to reel the fish within a foot of the surface to see well enough to gaff them. 32 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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But what were the long term effects?

Dr. Mitchell Roffer is recognized worldwide for his expertise on reading salinity, clarity, current flows and more to lead offshore fishermen to the right places to catch fish. Tournament fishermen using the information from Roffer’s Offshore Fishing Forecasting Service (www.roffs.com) catch the lion’s share of blue water tournament winning fish each year, so Roffer’s knowledge must work. What most fishermen don’t know is that Roffer is an ardent and accomplished kayak fisherman in the Melbourne, Florida area and he uses knowledge gained from years in the business of helping others in offshore waters to help locate good inshore spots for fishing on his kayak. “We easily see the short term effects of a passing storm and how quickly or slowly fish return to normal patterns and feeding activities,” Roffer said. “Fish are surprisingly resilient and often are feeding again in a day or so, but their patterns may change. Those patterns change because of one or more ways the storm affected the local water and it may not just be temporary. Hurricanes can change local fishing in the long term too and I think that is more crucial than in the short term.” Roffer said some of the short term effects of a storm passing are a drop in water temperature, the amount of trash in the water, increased turbidity, water quality and fresh or salt water intrusion. While these usually clear pretty quickly, they aren’t guaranteed to and if they remain a factor long enough, they can affect the habitat and create long term or even permanent changes. This is especially so in areas like the south-central coasts on both sides of Florida that are already dealing with toxic runoff from flooding in the Everglades. November 2017

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Water temperature is easy to see and measure. The rains associated with a hurricane are cooler than the water in all but a few mountain lakes and streams, so the water temperature falls. Any thermometer will verify this. The speed of the storm, not the wind speed, helps here. If the storm passes quickly, it shouldn’t dump as much rain and the water temperature shouldn’t fall as much or as quickly. However, the location in the natural flow of water also affects this. Lakes collect water and a layer of cool water added to the top can cause an inversion. Past hurricanes have overloaded several Corps of Engineers lakes and created serious downstream flooding when huge amounts of water had to be released due to concerns with dams breaching. This flooding reached deep into and often beyond flood plains and causes erosion and picks up debris and effluent not normally in the river system. Flooding also displaces fish. Inland floodwaters have to reach the ocean to dissipate, so they negatively affect coastal waters too. The negatives include increased erosion, plus an influx of effluent, debris and cooler water. There is an immediate shock to the local ecosystem that it may or may not weather, plus the erosion also affects areas you don’t see. Ledges and points where fish like to feed can disappear. Sea grass and shellfish beds may be covered with sediment or killed by a prolonged influx of fresh water. Land may disappear, or even occasionally appear, new inlets may appear and current ones fill. 36 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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Hurricane Katrina created a new landscape along the Gulf Coast in 2005. Many islands were reduced greatly and some disappeared completely in the Louisiana Delta, Mississippi Sound, the Mississippi/Louisiana Marsh, and especially the border islands in Breton and Chandeleur Sounds. While hurricanes are notorious for breaching barrier islands and creating new inlets, Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina in 1999 at just the right angle to close New Inlet and has negatively affected fishing in several bays by eliminating the ocean as a clean water source for them. One of the worst things that happens around lakes, along rivers and in coastal marshes is an abundance of rain stresses the infrastructure. Septic tanks may overflow, sewer lines may burst and sewer treatment facilities may be overburdened to the point raw sewage is dumped into the water to prevent damage to the facility. Needless to say, any of these issues will play havoc with the water quality. NOTE: Thirteen “avoid water because of bacteria� notices were issued in three southeast Florida counties on September 20. This included inland waters and beaches. Flooding and erosion also affect the quality and safety of consuming fish from affected areas. In addition to the known contaminants, agricultural fertilizers and chemicals are washed into and down rivers in large amounts. Fish that are washed away or otherwise move from one area to another may carry viruses or develop them in the new location. Roffer warns that the long-term issues have great potential to be severe and damaging to fisheries. November 2017

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Capt. Marshall Hardin operates Semper Fish Adventures in south Texas. He fishes inshore on Baffin Bay and in the Gulf of Mexico from the inlets at Port Aransas and Port Mansfield. Hardin said Hurricane Harvey has severely affected the area in multiple ways. He mentions that the wind blew the water away from his section of Baffin Bay and when it returned after the storm, there was too much fresh water with it and it took almost a month for the bait and fish to return. He hopes that influx of fresh water for so long doesn’t create other issues. “We were fortunate over around Loyola and Rivera Beaches and didn’t have as much physical damage as they did north of Corpus Christi,” Hardin said. “The infrastructure there is still crippled to the point it’s difficult to get fuel on the water unless you’re a commercial boat. However, the Gulf seems to have recovered and fishing is going off big time. I have friends with boats on trailers that are going to gas stations and convenience stores for fuel and are catching kings and bottom fish well and they tell me the offshore billfish bite is incredible.” Neil Taylor of Strike Three Kayak Fishing in Safety Harbor, Florida said they were pretty fortunate with Hurricane Irma even though the eye went right over them. He said the excessive rainfall and wind pushed baitfish around and the fish followed. “The baitfish and the fish usually move deep or to protected water when storms approach and this time they moved to protected water,” Taylor said. “They moved to the upper bay and creeks and canals off of it to get away from the wind. My first day back fishing was three days after the storm had passed and I couldn’t find bait or fish in any of the spots they had been before the storm. The next day I moved from the lower bay to the upper bay and found plenty of bait, with fish stalking them. November 2017

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Taylor said Tampa Bay is large, with a lot of flow to and from the Gulf of Mexico, and it usually takes about four to six days after a big storm for the extra rainwater to work through and fishing to return to normal. This was a big storm and it took six days. He said he didn’t know where the manatees went, but it had been more than a week and they hadn’t yet returned to where he had been seeing them regularly prior to the storm. Jonathan Grady of Yakn’ Off Outdoors in North Carolina said he was concentrating on the big red drum in the Neuse River at the time the hurricanes were passing and was far enough inshore all he got was a little wind and a lot of rain. Grady said this is pretty close to the salt line in this river and the fish are used to sudden influxes of fresh water and seem to deal with it. “The river is several miles wide at this point and the deluge of rainwater moved out pretty quickly,” Grady said. Even after 5-8 inches of rain from one of the storms, it cleared pretty well in less than a week. One thing that was interesting was that when the river was dirty and had a lot of rainwater in it, the fish were bright orange pumpkins, then, when it cleared, they lost a lot of that color.” Fish don’t feed during storms, they have developed appetites, and when the barometer begins rising again they will usually begin to feed. If it wasn’t a harsh storm or it passed at a distance and the impact wasn’t significant, they should still be in their same haunts. However, the damage from a direct hit, especially from ocean surge or excessive rainfall runoff, may have forced them to relocate. If a storm is late in the season and causes fish to move away, they may not return until the next year. Hopefully the damages to the habitat are not so severe they become long term issues, but it could take a while to find out. 40 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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Southern Kayak Fishing

CLOSE LOOK Florabama Coast

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CLOSE LOOK

Florabama Coast

Cape

San Blas Inn

T

he beauty of kayak fishing is the ability to put in and take out anywhere. We don’t need large boat ramps or deep channels to take us to and fro the fishing. For this reason, we are not tied down to the usual “fishing lodges” that you think of. Because we have our own gear, guides are not a necessity and large bay-boat sized ramps are not the only way to enter the water. In fact, we are at a disadvantage in these locations because we cannot travel as far away from these heavily trafficked ramps as our outboard counterparts. Up and down the bay near Cape San Blas, there are small islands dividing the water in St. Joseph Bay. As most fishermen would note, both sides of islands are always great locations to begin a fishing trip. Perfectly located in a backwater bayou created by Pig Island is Cape San Blas Inn.

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The Inn would be a wonderful lodging option were it hours away from the closest fish, but the fact that it has a dock where you can watch tailing Redfish from a hot tub is almost too good to be true. An average morning after staying in one of the few rooms at Cape San Blas starts with sitting down to a fantastically cooked breakfast at the main table. The fare can range from stuffed French toast to an individual Quiche both served with eggs and bacon. This is a very far step from the “continental breakfast” you get at a Holiday Inn. After walking out of the Inn, which really looks more like the extravagant beach house of an angler’s dream, it is just a short walk to the end of the dock. It should be worth noting that before ever getting out on the water, my first cast from the dock brought in a small trout. Not a bad way to get started. After dropping into your kayak, which can be tied to the dock for the entirety of your stay, you can catch quality Redfish and Trout without ever leaving the Pig Bayou. The lack of other fishermen and the ease in which you can get on the water truly give the feel that this is just a backyard pond of the Inn.

Florabama Coast

CLOSE LOOK

FISH TALES TOLD HERE

Experience the Hardy Effect!

VISITHARDYWV.COM #HARDYCOUNTY

FOLLOW US ON


JOURNEYS OF SGI St. George Island, Florida

CLOSE LOOK

Florabama Coast

If you decided to venture outward a hundred yards, the entire mass of St. Joseph Bay is at your disposal. From here, you can travel in any direction to fish countless islands, sand holes and grass flats within a short paddle. In addition to large redfish and trout, cobia and flounder become prevalent as the water deepens into the bay. In the off day (or hour) between fishing trips, the Gulf beach is just a short walk or drive across the road and Indian Pass Raw bar is within a 20-minute drive for dinner. Regardless of the time of year or the weather, Cape San Blas Inn is a must-visit destination. You can catch huge fish, eat great food and sleep in a fantastic room. What else is there to want?

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240 E 3rd Street, St. George Island

40 E 3rd Street, St. George Island (850)927-3259 www.sgislandjourneys.com info@sgislandjourneys.com

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Florabama Coast

CLOSE LOOK

Others have streams,

we have a trail.

Jackson County is home of the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, which maps out 15 prime spots to catch brown, rainbow and brook trout in the crystal-clear streams of the Great Smoky Mountains. With more than 4,600 miles of wide-open rivers and secluded mountain streams, we have the state’s longest contiguous stretch of Mountain Heritage Trout Waters.

Discover the epic waters of North Carolina’s Trout Capital today.

November 2017

CASHIERS CHEROKEE DILLSBORO SYLVA

l

DiscoverJacksonNC.com

Southern Kayak Fishing

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Florabama Coast

Indian Pass

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ishermen who frequent Apalachicola and St. Joseph Bays are very vocal about the lack of breweries, restaurants and bars near these great fisheries. Once you meander down to these spots for a fishing trip you are very much separated from the luxuries of a growing town. This is a wonderful escape sometimes. Other times, after spending a day in the oppressive Florida sun, relaxing with a cold beer and eating quality seafood made by someone else is a must.

s Raw Bar November 2017

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Luckily, though the choices are slim, one place fits the bill in every category. Standing above all the rest is the oyster bar fishermen dream of while on the water. The Indian Pass Raw Bar is a little slice of heaven in between Cape San Blas and Apalachicola. The casual styling, fantastic food and long-standing “honor system” all make this place a hidden goldmine. Upon arriving at Indian Pass, the first thing you may notice is the outdoor seating. There are dozens of chairs and tables outside, most of which hold a sunburnt, Columbia fishing apparel clad beer drinker. Yes, because of how good this place is, sometimes the summer months include waits for an open table. Luckily, instead of patiently waiting in a line or driving around until your table is ready, you can grab an “honor” card. These cards allow patrons to grab a beer (or three) from the large standing coolers, mark their future purchase down on a card, and relax with a cold one outside. The patio is where the experience first starts to take hold. Everyone outside is primed and ready for crab leg or oyster heaven but there is no sense of rush. I guess when you have the ability to grab a beer with no line, sit in a comfy chair and talk about fishing, all the “antsy-ness” tends to wash away. Conversations are delightful, new friends are made and each one is given a beer-clinking farewell as they are given the green light inside. 50 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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Florabama Coast

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Florabama Coast

The moment of truth when your own name is called creates a feeling that is unparalleled. The closest experience I can think of is having your name called at a college or high school graduation. Still, when you have been working or fishing all day in the Florida heat, I always feel like I have worked harder for the name call at Indian Pass. I certainly deserved it more. After being seated “family-style” near a group you just spent the last 30 minutes drinking and fraternizing with, you finally hand over the menu card to the waitress. Mind you, this menu card has been taunting you since the arrival. Upon getting your drink card you are also given the menu card to look over and make a pre-emptive decision on. Business wise, it shortens the time that each group has to spend inside because the order has already been made when they take a seat. Patron wise, it allows you to salivate over each plate you read or see as you walk to and fro the drink cooler. It is a dastardly move that always ends in an over ordering of food. This is the portion of the article where I am obligated to make a food suggestion, something I believe is the best prepared or freshest food on the menu. I am sorry to say, but that will be impossible. I am an oyster man at heart, so I will default to what makes Apalachicola so well known. Not only are the oysters large and bereft of “sea-taste” but also they are incredibly substantial on the texture front. I love raw 52 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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oysters no matter what, but some people (correctly I must add) believe them to have a slimy or somewhat “snotty” texture. The Oysters from Indian Pass, served raw, will have as much of a coherent texture as those that are steamed at other restaurants. Still, if you go to Indian Pass and only try the oysters, a terrible disservice has been done to the establishment. Shrimp and crab legs must be seen on the table at all times. Sure, you can get shrimp anywhere and they will probably taste fine. It is hard to ruin a shrimp cocktail. I urge you, however, to realize that these tasty morsels do not even belong in the same sentence as the ones you would find at the neighborhood Red Lobster. It would be like comparing Dwayne “the rock” Johnson to Andy Dick; they are barely the same thing. The crab legs follow suit. They are juicy, flavorful and almost beg to be dipped in melted butter. With all this in mind, it would be woefully disrespectful to take a trip to either Cape San Blas or Apalachicola without stopping at Indian Pass. I don’t mean disrespectful to me or the raw bar, I mean disrespectful to you. You would be depriving yourself of one of the best and most relaxing meals you have ever had. Try it once and let us know if your summer vacation plans were just set for the next ten years. November 2017

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Working the S

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Slosh – St. Joe Bay I

t is hard to pinpoint where any beloved outdoor saying or term came from. Some terms are known by every outdoorsman and some are as limited as your immediate hunting and fishing partners. For example, we all learn at a young age what the dreaded term “backlash” means. It means a “birds nest”, a “tangle” or whatever other indoctrinated term you want to choose as the result of poorly using a bait caster. We all know the terms and use them more frequently than we wish we had to. A long list of adjectives often precedes their use. Other terms are specific to a small community or family. Pools on trout streams, blind locations in duck swamps and structure markers in saltwater bays are all given names by those who have noticed the uniqueness in the area. If there is a place you want to go back to over and over again, I highly doubt that it will be left nameless. My favorite of these named beauties has always been a natural duck hunting blind aptly named “the rock.” Yes, there is a rock there, but no it is not the only rock in the swamp. The splendor that comes with placing a generic name on something you hold dear is that the listener must be “in-the-know” to differentiate what you mean. November 2017

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I have long viewed a specific spot in St. Joseph Bay with that level of adoration. This beloved spot is known as the “Slosh” to friends, family and myself. After a long discussion with friends, I finally pinpointed its origin to a tackle shop in Mexico Beach. This is where a local guide gave us the “scoop” on where to go that morning. It was not a golden egg of knowledge, perhaps only a six or seven sentence description of a good place to send an angling tourist. What inevitably happened was my friend and I heard this information, got in the water, and paddled around until we finally found fish. After that first redfish hit the net, we credited the guide with our success. “This must be the slosh,” we said. Over the course of the next several trips to St Joe Bay, we refined the area we now referred to as the “slosh” with obnoxious regularity. A 6-pound gator trout gave us our first notion that this place was special. A 30” redfish with multiple tail spots soon followed. The proverbially “nail in the coffin” came around our 5th trip to the area. We were wade fishing with our kayaks tied to our waists. Lunch brought several more Dale’s Pale Ales than expected and immediate fishing success was not likely. We stuck to our usual plan of attack for these situations, blind casting popping-corks. These rigs are very successful when done correctly, plus they require a semi-constant action that keeps an easily distracted angler focused. After a few fruitless casts, my cork didn’t ascend after I made anaggressive pop. I made the error of preforming what I refer to as the “Bassmaster Classic,” an overly zealous hook-set that results in the line breaking. After I overcame the original heartbreak of losing a fish and the rig I spent too long trying to build, I noticed something that could only be described as a frustrating gift. Of all the knots I tied for the popping cork rig, it seemed as though the weakest link was the one tying the rig onto my line.

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As a result, I could see the cork bobbing along the grass flats as the fish made his escape. Whether it was a desire to unhook the fish from the cumbersome rig or needing to overcome the embarrassment, I tied on a big bucktail jig and started after the fish. Though I was not nearly as good of a swimmer as the monster I expected to have on the other end of the line, within a few minutes I had positioned myself for a cast at the quivering cork. I sent the big hooked jig flailing out in hopes of wrapping it around the contraption I made, but was yards away. This scene played out for a solid hour as I lived a Rapala Fishing mini game, trying to hit the flashing cork with my jig. Finally, after swimming at least 100 yards away from the kayak, I made contact.

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I wrapped my hook perfectly around one of the suspended weights in the rig and set the hook, more gently this time. This fish went running, the fight lasting less than a 10th of the total time spent with this endeavor. The monster I had dreamed up turned out to be a 15” puppy drum. After a brief but very real moment of disappointment, I unhooked the hardest fish I ever caught and watched him swim away to the safety of the grass. The swim/tip-toe back was agonizing without the enjoyable added weight of a hard-sought dinn. Pouring sweat and finally noticing the sunburn that had been creeping down my ears and nose, I got back to the kayaks to hear that welcoming phrase. “Only in the Slosh,” my friend snickered.

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In the subsequent trips, we went on to catch nice sized Flounder and Cobia from that small group of grass flats and sand holes. Each trip served as another “final nail” into the legacy of the location. Now, we speak of the “slosh” as an old friend, much like that guide from the tackle shop probably does. I can only imagine the specific fish that are conjured up in his mind when he mentions the term. We both have had great days in our “lucky” spot that we call by the same name. I am quite sure, however, that the locations are radically different. Over the course of a dozen or so trips, my fishing partners and I took the passing advice given by a local guide and forged it into a successful adventure. That is the only way great fishing locations are found. Of course you attempt to research before hand, but time on the water is the only way to know for sure. With that in mind, I will leave you with an educated estimate of those same 6 sentences given to me a long time ago. Take whatever you deem as useful information, then spend the time figuring out how you can personally catch fish in the area.

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Florabama Coast “The place is full of fish, but you gotta not spend so much time out in the open, there are too many big boats that can zip around out there. Check out Google Earth, you’ll find a ton of sand holes off the back of the major islands like ‘Blacks.’ Push up into ‘em, but not just the deep stuff. Up and down the bay near the shore is a shelf of like 2’ to 4’ water we call the ‘Slosh.’ Damn we have caught some good fish in that.”

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Kayak Attacks

Fall River Smallmouth By Steve Moore

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ou love your kayak! As you fished through the summer, caught plenty of nice fish (or at least that’s what you tell everyone) and now it’s time to hit the river in the fall for smallmouth. Good call! Many experts regard smallies as the hardest fighting fish around on a pound for pound basis. In the fall, they are as ravenous as bear getting ready to hibernate. Perfect! Before launching to take advantage of cold weather smallmouth patterns, recognize that your pattern has to change as well. Air temperatures cool and water temps cool even faster! While hypothermia may not have been an issue in the summer, it is a creeping danger as shown on the water temperature graph from the Potomac River Little Falls gage. The small triangles represent the historical average and in early September, the river is usually a comfortable 85 degrees but plunges to a chilly 50 degrees by the end of October; equating to a worst case survival time of around 1 hour. So, the first and most important part of attacking river smallies is to dress for success! November 2017

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Beyond watching the temperature gage for your own comfort, recognize that smallies are most active when the water temperature is between 65 and 78. Using the example of the Potomac at Little Falls, the best time to be on the water will be from early September and mid-October. After that, feeding activity drops off with 40 degrees being the start of “the skunk� as the smallies move lethargically to deeper water to hold over for the winter. However, the reality is that once their primary forage, crayfish/crawfish, go dormant when the temperature reaches the low 50’s, the season is effectively over. Again, using the historical data from the Little Falls gage, fishing will be pretty bad starting in November. Visit waterdata.usgs.gov to find the historical data for your river and water.weather.gov for a forecast of future levels for planning trips. Sadly, not every gage has temperature data; causing you to have to click on every gage for a particular river to find one with either a current temperature reading or a historical archive of temperature.

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As the temperature moves into the optimum range, the smallies move to the shallows to gorge on baitfish and crayfish. You can find them on all the typical structure – gravel bars, weeds, downed trees, ledges, and eddies – if the water levels create safe conditions. Looking to discharge levels (more reliable than gage height), use the historical averages (the small triangles) to plan a trip that overlaps with the optimum temperature range. [Picture 2] Note also the day by day actual variation caused by storm spikes. In the example from the Potomac at Point of Rocks, you would not have been able to use the river at all during August of 2016, but September would have been great with below average levels exposing a vast amount of structure and consolidating the smallies in a few spots! The low levels may even have kept the power boats off the water, reserving long stretches of the river to kayakers and canoeists. Both low and high levels create challenges as the water behaves differently – rapids may ebb and flow and narrow sections may run far too fast for safety.

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Once on the water, the most critical piece of gear in your boat will be the anchor (a real one‌ not a chain). The accepted guideline is for the anchor rope to be at least three times the water depth. In the Fall, you should have even more than that to execute a stealth approach on low water holes. Anticipate the flow of the current and gently lower the anchor at least 30 feet ahead of the holding position. Feed the rope out slowly and come to a gentle stop. If the water is a bit high and fast, be sure you use your anchor properly. Attach it with a slip knot for a fast release if the current moves the kayak with unexpected force that could cause a tip in cold water. Even experienced kayakers get this wrong; never attach the line directly to the ring on the anchor trolley. Doing that moves the line out of your direct control and may force you to cut the trolley to keep from tipping. Instead, run the line through the ring and tie it with the slip knot to a cleat within reach. Attaching a float to the anchor line allows you to return to it and retrieve it if you have to release for safety or to fight a fish.

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Once in position, most of your summer lures will work just fine. Use soft plastics in crayfish colors – melon and shades of brown worked slowly in rocky areas. For baitfish, select light lures with flash and work them in fast darts and stops. Tubes with rattles can be effective imitations for both baitfish and crawfish. Since smallies tend to gang up as they vacuum up forage, do not spend too much time in any particular spot. If there is no action, move on. With water hitting the optimum feeding temperature after a long summer of hot, sticky weather, fishing in the fall can be exceptionally comfortable and productive! In short, let the other guys go hunting while you have the river to yourself!

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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!


A True Be PENN

Slammer III 6500HS

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ow again kayak anglers have the need to gear to handle bigger fish, especially when we are paddling the blue waters of mid-Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico. Recently we had the opportunity to get a close look at the PENN Slammer III s 6500HS pinning reel. First off, let me interject a comment. The PENN Slammer !!! 6500HS is a damned serious fishing machine that has a bit more brawn that is ever so slightly different 6500 model from last year. Manufactured by of the most trusted names in fishing, PENN. Otto Henze founded the PENN Fishing Tackle Company in 1932 to manufacture the world's highest quality fishing tackle. Now a brand in the Pure Fishing stable, the commitment to excellence has not waned. To that quest, we tip our hats to the current generation of spinning reels.

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ehemoth:

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The reel is part of a family spinning reels that includes the PENN Slammer III 3500, 4500, 5500, 6500, 7500, 8500, 8500HS, 9500 and 10500 spinning reels that weigh from 13.9 to 43.1 ounces, and have drags in the 30 to 60-pound class. Anything else special about this reel? Well, when introduced in 2016 they were an award-winning show stopper at ICAST that year. From the minute we laid hands on this behemoth, we liked it. It is as smooth as we hoped it would be, and it cast big payloads with ease. The PENN Slammer III 6500HS comes with everything you might expect from a top tier fishing reel with multiple innovative features that we have never seen before on a spinning reel. A spinning reel you can depend on to stand up to the most challenging, strong sport fish. Featuring classic open face design, the reel is recognizable thanks to its black and ruby red accents. Solid metal frame, sideplate and rotor for strength and durability are quite impressive. The PENN Slammer III 6500HS has gained in max drag of 40 pounds. However, compared to the standard gear ratio 5.6:1, the 6500HS has an increased gear ratio of 6.2:1. With a higher gear ratio, it’s line is recovered with each turn of the handle. Is 47.5 compared to 42? Perhaps it is not a big deal most of the time, but can often be the margin between a hookup and missed fish. A high gear ratio reel recovers line quickly, but it also has enough torque to fight bigger fish. At a tidy 24-ounces, it is neither too big or too small for kayak fishing. There has been concern among some kayak anglers that some PENN spinning reels lacked a drag system resistance sufficient for serious saltwater fishing action. The PENN Slammer III 6500HS has a solid 40-pound drag setting. PENN increased the resistance level of the brakes in order to efface the initial surge in drag pressure. Bigger sizes have also bigger maximum drag and weight in the 50 to 60-pound class, but they are pretty good size reels that look more like boat reels than they do those designed for kayak fishing. November 2017

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Their Dura-Drag System is durable. Created for heavy duty fishing so it features an innovative drag system that creates ample drag pressure. The Dura Drag system uses a special phenolic formula that protects the reel from water sprays and gives anglers a smooth fishing experience. It is scientifically proven that after thirty hours of drag pressure, a PENN reel with that Dura Drag system performed as it were new, while others had a great damage. In other words, it protects the reel from deterioration during a harsh battle with a fish. According to PENN engineers, this drag system uses the same materials as racing cars manufacturers who are using this formula in the car transmission. PENN Slammer III 6500HS utilizes an Anti-Reverse is a system that prevents the reel from turning backward and engages the drag to release line without any movement of the handle. When a big cobia or mackerel bites and tries to go the other way, there is no pull back on the handle thanks to the anti-reverse system. The PENN Slammer III 6500HS uses a full brass gearing system that is cut using a CNC machine for precision and strength. This includes the entire gear system composed of the drive, pinion and isolation gears and means that you have cranking power that will last over time. Unlike other gears that are often made of aluminum or another composite material, brass is going to stand the test of time. Another benefit of brass gearing is that it produces a smoothness that you just don’t get with other materials. The PENN Slammer III 6500HS utilizes 6 stainless steel ball bearings, CNC (a computer-controlled subtractive manufacturing process) gear technology, and internal CNC brass gears. It is a small wonder that the construction material should make you understand it’s extremely durable. Additionally, its IPX6 Sealed System prevents flex when fighting a fish. IPX6 Sealed means that the reel and its internals are protected from the water and salt water corrosion. It has also a thick bail wire and comes with a handle with a metal ball knob, plus a rubber knob. Both the body and the spool are sealed with an IPX6 rating. It’s about as close to waterproof as they come. 78 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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PENN Slammer sizes from 3500-5500 have an automatic bail trip mechanism that automatically moves the wire from open- to the closed position. The models 6500-10500 feature a manual bail trip. Braided line has a tendency to slip on the spool, but thanks to the anti-skid gasket there is no problem. It keeps your line steady and protected from slipping. Clearly, a behemoth in its class, the PENN Slammer III 5600HS is pretty much in a class by itself. It may not be the perfect kayak fishing reel, but it will probably be among your favorite once most have been retired to the garage. 80 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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Blood Lines:

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s is the custom of “Blood Lines”, the goal of this column is to trace back the lineages of many of today’s popular baits. Many like injured minnows and side-hook underwater minnows came and went. Many like the Heddon Torpedo are still go-to-baits found in about every kayak angler’s tackle box. If there is a better bait for taking river smallmouth bass than Heddon’s Tiny Torpedo, I have yet to cast it. First introduced by Heddon in the 1920's, all of the early versions of the Heddon Torpedoes sported what is now referred to as “L-rig” hook hardware. The L-rig is a fascinating two piece or surface hardware design that was state-of-the-art in its day. Progressively morphed Heddon Torpedoes in wood offered by the famous 82 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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Heddon Heritage, Part Two

tackle maker ended in 1936 (some say 1939). As is the case even until now, lure inventors gave their creations catchy names like “Dreadnaught.” One of the most feared weapons in the First World War was the propeller driver torpedo. Factually speaking, the Torpedo was not an earth-shaking entry into the fishing market. For thirty years prior Heddon had become the country’s leading tackle company by selling wooden lures that many say look like a wooden cigar. Heddon’s long skinny, double propped Torpedo was quickly copied by PawPaw‘s Slim Lindy Torpedo (cashing in on the 1920s Lindbergh craze). In more recent times Smithwick introduced the Devil Horse, another skinny torpedo style bait, as is A.C. Shiner with is stubby Double Torpedo. November 2017

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Heddon’s the long skinny Torpedo Spooks (#9139 and # 9129 were first shown in the 1934 dealer catalog, says NFLCC member, Alan Schwaber of Arlington, VA. Over the years Schwaber has put together an eye-popping collection of these extremely difficult to find Heddon Torpedo Spooks. While exceptions do exist, as a general rule the addition of “spook” to an old wood series of Heddon baits denoted that it was a plastic version. The Heddon Baby Torpedo is the “flagship” the company’s modern series of torpedoes. This 2.5”, 3/8 oz stick of dynamite is a proven topwater bait that smallmouth and largemouth bass can’t resist. Its single prop spins and spits water. The Baby Torpedo can be worked slowly with twitches and pauses or reeled constantly at a medium retrieve like a buzz bait. In rivers, work the bait in shallow shoreline water, in eddies, near submerged rocks and in fast-moving riffles for giant smallmouth. In ponds and lakes, pause the Torpedo near wood and weed cover, gently twitching it to entice big largemouth. The most popular the torpedo trio, Babys are available in 16 color/patterns that include traditional favorites such as Black Shore, Frog and white/ redhead.

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Available where ever “Anglish” is spoken, the currently available, Heddon Tenny Torpedo is a highly effective, killer bait in lakes for largemouth bass, and even deadlier on river smallmouth bass. Smaller than my thumb, this little spook in black shore minnow is my first "go-to" topwater bait. The Tint Torpedo is still the perfect cross between a buzz bait and a walker. I really love the "small lure buzz bait" action it provides. Tipping the scales at 1/8 ounce, its compact design, aerodynamic shape and balance allow anglers to be accurately cast considerable distances. The 1.5”Teeny Torpedo currently is available in ten color/pattern. Discontinued color/patterns such as Black Shore are pretty easy to pick up online or at older tackle stores. The Baby ad Teeny’s big brother, the Magnum Torpedo, has been the world´s top-selling,

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a top-producing spinner-equipped lure for generations. The 3 5/16 “, 5/8 oz. Brought back by popular demand, it is the super-sized version of the popular Torpedo family designed for those seeking a heavyweight lure for giant fish. Equipped with heavy-duty hooks and hardware, the Magnum Torpedo stands up to the abuse big fish dish out. Magnums create an impossible to ignore wild splashing surface disturbance, making them the perfect lures for schooling fish. Use quick, short and erratic twitches to make Torpedos perform at their best. Their shape and weight allow anglers to cast these lures a little farther than many other prop-baits, allowing them to reach those special fish-holding spots quicker and easier. Magnums are available in two scale patterns and two frog patterns. I’m guessing that about everyone reading this is a fan of torpedo lures. As Paul Harvey used to say at the conclusion of his daily broadcasts, “Now you know the rest of the story.” November 2017

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Does a Paddle Typ D

rift boat and raft fishermen can answer this question easily. Yes, of course it matters. One perfectly aligned thumb crunch, the result of slightly too long oars, is enough to justify that answer. Luckily, kayak fishermen do not really have to deal with the door jamming pain that come from multiple oars. Most issues kayakers face are effectiveness based. Still, the answer to the question is a resounding “yes”. The paddle certainly matters. Here is a quick guide about how to make the perfect match of paddle to kayak and kayaker:

1. Length is the #1 culprit of a disappointing match. a. The worst-case scenario out on the water is having a paddle that can barely reach over the side of your vessel. Certain kayak brands are notoriously wider than others, those with a designated trolling motor area almost always fall under this category. By no means will the same paddle work for a streamlined, speed oriented kayak as well as a wide fishing kayak, built for stability when standing. b. Most standard paddles range from 210cm to 260cm. For a low-angle paddle, what most non-river fishermen would need to focus on, I prefer a 250cm. Granted, I am 6’5” and use a kayak with a 32” wide deck. For the average 5’10” 88 l Southern Kayak Fishing

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pe Really Matter?

person, using the average 28� wide kayak, I would suggest a 230cm o4 240cm paddle. REI has a great online chart for those wishing to reference their specific length. From my personal experience, always guess longer if in a bind. November 2017

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2. Paddle composition should be considered. a. While it is less important than the length of your paddle, what the paddle is made of can still play a big factor. The most common blade materials are carbon fiber, fiberglass, and plastic/aluminum. b. There are pro’s and con’s to each type but the clearly superior composite, carbon fiber, has only price as a hindrance. Plastic is by far the least expensive of the bunch but much less reliable. c. Fiberglass and aluminum are relatively cheap and low-cost paddles. Recreational kayakers should certainly stick to these options and the quality of the product has begun to match the needs of avid fishermen. Still, if you plan on fishing for more than a few hours or more than a few days in a row, carbon fiber is the way to go for the shaft. Your arms and shoulders will thank you after a few thousand paddle strokes. d. Matching a fiberglass or high-quality plastic blade to a carbon fiber shaft is my go-to every time on the water. Though they are expensive, Werner is a incredibly reliable maker of these. The Cyprus Carbon Straight Shaft is worth every penny.

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3. Blade design: Low Angle or High angle, feathered or not feathered? a. The one area most kayak fishermen are not very well versed on is what the differences in blades actually mean. Most cheap, plastic paddles come in one generic style of blade and the expensive brands seem to focus more on the aesthetic than functionality. b. Ultimately, this will not really make too much of a difference. For those who do not know, feathering is simply a design in which the blades are not in alignment. Offsetting the blades reduces a small amount of wind resistance and helps wrist fatigue, as you do not have to twist as much for each stroke. If you are given the choice, choose feathered. If the paddle that fits you best isn’t, there is no reason to worry about it. c. The angle of the paddle is worthwhile only if you know the specific type of Kayak and fishing areas you will frequent. For example, I frequently use a Jackson Mayfly, a kayak built for fly fishing. Because of its build, the seat is remarkably high on the kayak. This sort of style is perfect for a high-angle paddle. If you are in a kayak built for stability in the ocean, with lower seating, you may want a lowerangle. d. If you plan on doing any sort of standing and “poling” through flats with your paddle, you should absolutely get a high angle. The width of the paddle will help to displace more water and there will be a more natural movement through the water from the standing position. November 2017

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It is also important to always have a spare paddle on a long or multi-day journey. As long as someone in the group has a cheap, plastic one stored, it should be okay. The risk of losing a paddle is low, but rocks and crevices in rivers are notorious for shattering anything that gets caught. No to mention the ease of losing it in a vast open water bay. Nobody wants to drag someone for the remainder of a trip, and certainly nobody wants to be dragged. In reference to the maker of quality paddles, Feelfree, Werner, Carlisle and Seattle Sports are top notch. Coming in at around $100, the Carlisle Predator is a great fiberglass option. The Seattle Sports Seawhisper is an affordable carbon fiber option, sold on Amazon for $110. I always suggest spending slightly more for something that has the ability to last years longer than the cheap option. Regardless of which one you purchase, make sure you always keep it on a carabiner and attached to your kayak in some fashion. A rope attached to the middle of the shaft, and tied to the carabiner is always a good option. For those of us who have a higher propensity for losing things, reflective tape or flotation bands are wonderful, low priced options to help make sure your new toy does not go to waste.

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BOOK ONE O

1 - Sportmans Lodg

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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

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Jackson MAYFLY A Fly Fisherman’s Fantasy 96 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l November 2017


I

t may be easy to think that Kayaks are all pretty similar. Some are wider, some are taller and some have an inordinate amount of bells and whistles. From afar, however, they all look the same. Almost any kayak gives people the opportunity to sit with a single rod and catch a fish. Apart from that, things start to vary significantly. Many people, certainly including fly-fisherman, need a few more options with their kayaks. What if you need to stand up and sight-cast to fish? Just this simple, obvious issue takes a lot of addressing by manufacturers. First off, the kayak must be wide and stable enough to accommodate a large person balancing while standing up. Next comes the gear storage issue. Fly-fishermen are happily high maintenance with regards to the gear they need. Obviously, the rods are significantly longer than what you would use otherwise. My standard spinning rods are 7’ while every one of my saltwater fly rods are 9’.

November 2017

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 97


Most fishermen, fly or spin, carry at least two rods with them at all times. A standard rod holder that points the rod in the air behind the fishermen may be fine when you are using a spinning rod, but doesn’t fit the fly-fishing world. Imagine trying to cast to a tailing redfish with a 9-foot hazard directly in the line of your backcast. With the limited space on a kayak, this is not an easy problem to remedy. Apart from the long rods, there are other gear issues. Unless the floor is completely uncluttered (unlikely), fly fishermen need to bring along a strip basket. Fly fishermen also need easier access to their fly boxes and other gear than spin fishermen do. Finally, the way the seat is positioned and the way the kayak travels are significantly underappreciated factors. A fly-fisherman is put in the position of having to stand almost every time they wish to cast. Sitting low in a kayak is a terrible idea for this sort of constant movement. It is common sense that the lower you sit, the harder it is to stand up. In the small area given to the angler by a kayak, this is a recipe for falling. Even if you manage to avoid a rod breaking or overboard inducing fall, you will certainly create a larger wake that scares away any fish nearby. Another easy way for fish to be spooked is by an unnatural movement of the kayak through the water. Fly-fishing is a stalk-oriented form of kayaking. You need a kayak that has a low-sight profile and moves smoothly through the water. Anything else will just create headaches as you watch tails turn into v-shaped wakes darting in every direction. 98 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l November 2017


November 2017

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Southern Kayak Fishing

l 99


Luckily, there is a kayak company that has found a way to remedy all of these worries. Jackson kayak has manufactured the fly-fisherman’s dream vessel. I will inevitably fall short in describing every thoughtful addition to this kayak, though half of them should be enough to spark interest from the long-rodders. To start, the width of the kayak is quite large. From end to end, the kayak sits at 35”. This allows fly fishermen, even tall ones like myself, to fish standing up without worrying about an embarrassing or costly fall. Standing fly fishermen should also be glad to hear that the floor of the kayak has been significantly altered. There is a new “snag-free” decking on the kayak that resembles how you would feel atop a casting platform. This allows piles of fly line to easily land near your feet without worry that it will catch on some element of the kayak. A very underrated new feature to the kayak comes in the form of storage. You would expect to sacrifice elements of gear storage when the deck has been cleared for fly-fishing. Instead, Jackson decided to mount two compartments on either side of the kayak walls for fly-storage. You can fit your own boxes into the compartment or simply attach flies to the imbedded fly patches. 100 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l November 2017


November 2017

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 101


Even though fly-fishermen will spend a large amount of time standing, an easy transition between paddling and sitting to standing is a must. The Mayfly features the option of very high seat and several luxury improvements. First, the seat is made of a breathable mesh that won’t stick to the sweatiest of backs. The seat also has an inflatable Therm-arest lumbar support pillow, a small addition that pays big dividends the day after fishing. There is also a dry storage bag that hangs off the back of the seat as well as a Platypus hydration bladder with a direct line to the front of the seat. As if the seat needed anything else, there is a sliding tray under the seat is rated to hold two Plano 3600 series tackle boxes, or in my experience, two spare reels, a large fly box and a bottle of sunscreen. The Mayfly also offers a fairly obvious improvement to the flyfishing game that not many other companies have considered. These game changers are known to skiff fishermen as tubed fly rod holders. Yes, those holders that allow the tips of the rod to snuggle securely inside the kayak walls and with the reels securely strapped down into a recess. It is hard to explain how great it feels to carry two different 9’ rods without having to sacrifice an inch of space within the kayak. 102 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l November 2017


November 2017

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 103


There are many more additions that would just be exhaustive to cover. It almost feels like overkill to mention the Power-Pole accessible slot on the back of the kayak. Just know, from the two additional spinning rod holders to the nine RAM accessory mounting tracks, this boat is the most well thought out kayak on the market. If you are interested in purchasing a new kayak, there is one question you must ask yourself. Have you ever had the dream that many fly-fishermen share? That dream of spotting a beautiful tailing redfish nestled in the spartina grass, gently grabbing your favorite fly rod and casting that shrimp or crab fly within inches of its face. Watching the quiver of an excited fish about to make a deadly mistake. Seeing that beauty turn its head, and grab the fly. You set the hook and she takes off, sending an unmistakable “v� in one direction then another. The tail remains out of the water as she darts back


and forth, dragging you across the flat with each ounce of classic redfish energy. Even though it is a dream, you can almost feel the excitement every time you think about it. If you have ever felt yourself drifting off at school or work, thinking about being in this exact situation, then I am speaking to you. You can either buy a kayak that will make this dream more difficult, or you can buy the one specifically built for it. One trip in the Mayfly will remove any doubt that this is the only kayak flyfishermen should ever look at. Jackson has reached the mountaintop, now we get to reap the benefits.

BRADYS HANDMADE NETS

BradysHandmadeNets.com For custom designs, please email us at bradyshandmadenets@ gmail.com

Tel: 1-864-216-5878 Location: Spartanburg, SC


Fishing Kay

No Motor Z

106 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l November 2017


yaks:

I

Zone?

t may be easy to think that Kayaks are all pretty similar. Some are wider, some are taller and some have an inordinate amount of bells and whistles. From afar, however, they all look the same. Almost any kayak gives people the opportunity to sit with a single rod and catch a fish. Apart from that, things start to vary significantly. Many people, certainly including fly-fisherman, need a few more options with their kayaks. What if you need to stand up and sight-cast to fish? Just this simple, obvious issue takes a lot of addressing by manufacturers. First off, the kayak must be wide and stable enough to accommodate a large person balancing while standing up. Next comes the gear storage issue. Fly-fishermen are happily high maintenance with regards to the gear they need. Obviously, the rods are significantly longer than what you would use otherwise. My standard spinning rods are 7’ while every one of my saltwater fly rods are 9’. Most fishermen, fly or spin, carry at least two rods with them at all times. A standard rod holder that points the rod in the air behind the fishermen may be fine when you are using a spinning rod, but doesn’t fit the fly-fishing world. Imagine trying to cast to a tailing redfish with a 9-foot hazard directly in the line of your backcast. With the limited space on a kayak, this is not an easy problem to remedy.

November 2017

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 107


Apart from the long rods, there are other gear issues. Unless the floor is completely uncluttered (unlikely), fly fishermen need to bring along a strip basket. Fly fishermen also need easier access to their fly boxes and other gear than spin fishermen do. Finally, the way the seat is positioned and the way the kayak travels are significantly underappreciated factors. A fly-fisherman is put in the position of having to stand almost every time they wish to cast. Sitting low in a kayak is a terrible idea for this sort of constant movement. It is common sense that the lower you sit, the harder it is to stand up. In the small area given to the angler by a kayak, this is a recipe for falling. Even if you manage to avoid a rod breaking or overboard inducing fall, you will certainly create a larger wake that scares away any fish nearby. Another easy way for fish to be spooked is by an unnatural movement of the kayak through the water. Fly-fishing is a stalk-oriented form of kayaking. You need a kayak that has a low-sight profile and moves smoothly through the water. Anything else will just create headaches as you watch tails turn into v-shaped wakes darting in every direction. Luckily, there is a kayak company that has found a way to remedy all of these worries. Jackson kayak has manufactured the fly-fisherman’s dream vessel. I will inevitably fall short in describing every thoughtful addition to this kayak, though half of them should be enough to spark interest from the long-rodders. To start, the width of the kayak is quite large. From end to end, the kayak sits at 35”. This allows fly fishermen, even tall ones like myself, to fish standing up without worrying about an embarrassing or costly fall. Standing fly fishermen should also be glad to hear that the floor of the kayak has been significantly altered. There is a new “snag-free” decking on the kayak that resembles how you would feel atop a casting platform. This allows piles of fly line to easily land near your feet without worry that it will catch on some element of the kayak. A very underrated new feature to the kayak comes in the form of storage. You would expect to sacrifice elements of gear storage when the deck has been cleared for fly-fishing. Instead, Jackson decided to mount two compartments on either side of the kayak walls for fly-storage. You can fit your own boxes into the compartment or simply attach flies to the imbedded fly patches.

108 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l November 2017


Even though fly-fishermen will spend a large amount of time standing, an easy transition between paddling and sitting to standing is a must. The Mayfly features the option of very high seat and several luxury improvements. First, the seat is made of a breathable mesh that won’t stick to the sweatiest of backs. The seat also has an inflatable Therm-a-rest lumbar support pillow, a small addition that pays big dividends the day after fishing. There is also a dry storage bag that hangs off the back of the seat as well as a Platypus hydration bladder with a direct line to the front of the seat. As if the seat needed anything else, there is a sliding tray under the seat is rated to hold two Plano 3600 series tackle boxes, or in my experience, two spare reels, a large fly box and a bottle of sunscreen.

November 2017

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 109


The Mayfly also offers a fairly obvious improvement to the fly-fishing game that not many other companies have considered. These game changers are known to skiff fishermen as tubed fly rod holders. Yes, those holders that allow the tips of the rod to snuggle securely inside the kayak walls and with the reels securely strapped down into a recess. It is hard to explain how great it feels to carry two different 9’ rods without having to sacrifice an inch of space within the kayak. There are many more additions that would just be exhaustive to cover. It almost feels like overkill to mention the Power-Pole accessible slot on the back of the kayak. Just know, from the two additional spinning rod holders to the nine RAM accessory mounting tracks, this boat is the most well thought out kayak on the market. If you are interested in purchasing a new kayak, there is one question you must ask yourself. Have you ever had the dream that many fly-fishermen share? That dream of spotting a beautiful tailing redfish nestled in the spartina grass, gently grabbing your favorite fly rod and casting that shrimp or crab fly within inches

of its face. Watching the quiver of an excited fish about to make a deadly mistake. Seeing that beauty turn its head, and grab the fly. You set the hook and she takes off, sending an unmistakable “v” in one direction then another. The tail remains out of the water as she darts back and forth, dragging you across the flat with each ounce of classic redfish energy. Even though it is a dream, you can almost feel the excitement every time you think about it. 110 l Southern Kayak Fishing

l November 2017


If you have ever felt yourself drifting off at school or work, thinking about being in this exact situation, then I am speaking to you. You can either buy a kayak that will make this dream more difficult, or you can buy the one specifically built for it. One trip in the Mayfly will remove any doubt that this is the only kayak fly-fishermen should ever look at. Jackson has reached the mountaintop, now we get to reap the benefits.

November 2017

l

Southern Kayak Fishing

l 111


A Museum for the Southern Fly Fisherman

The Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians — originally

located in Cherokee, NC — has a new home in neighboring Bryson City where it shares a building with the Bryson City / Swain County Chamber of Commerce. It’s centrally located on the town square across the street from the visitor center. The Museum is open Monday thru Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and admission is free.

The scope of the museum covers an

area with more than 14,700 miles of accessible trout streams — the nine Southern Appalachian States of North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama; the Qualla Boundary, home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; as well as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway.


Bryson City, NC

PHOTO BY JIM HEAFNER

Through exhibits and videos you’ll

learn about legendary “Stream Blazers,” the evolution of rods and reels, basic knots, fly-tying, types of gear, types of gamefish, regional fishing waters, and the history of fly fishing in the Southeast. Whether you are a long-time fly fisherman, or have only attempted or never tried fly fishing, you will find something to enjoy and to learn from in the museum.

FLY FISHING MUSEUM

OF THE SOUTHERN APPALACHIANS

Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians 210 Main Street Bryson City, NC 28713 800-867-9241

FlyFishingMuseum.org


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

Southern Kayak Fishing Issue 13  

Southern Kayak Fishing Magazine with a CLOSE LOOK at Florabama.

Southern Kayak Fishing Issue 13  

Southern Kayak Fishing Magazine with a CLOSE LOOK at Florabama.