Archive for the ‘Tackle & Gear’ Category

Something Fishy Here

Posted: November 8, 2011 in Fishy & Random, Tackle & Gear
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I realize it’s been some time since we last spoke. I’ve been a tad swamped meeting the ends, as it were. Just the same, I’ve been backlogging plenty of fishy stories and experiences to tell you about. Without getting too involved with the details, I can tell you one thing I’ve learned recently; Do not judge a man until you have walked in his shoes.

To that end, I’ve produced a custom pair of Pro Keds, and they are now for sale to all and sundry. If you’d like a little taste of what it must be like to be me, take a stroll in these babies. They’re sure to start a conversation, and maybe get you invited to wet a line.

Custom Pro Keds

In any case, I’d love to hear what you think. If you think you’ve gotta have ’em, click the photo and order yourself a pair.

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One of the most practical devices a kayaker can install is the leash. If you are anything like me, it’s just a matter of time before a slippery grip, rough wave, or flopping fish causes you to be parted suddenly with your prized rod and reel, paddle, radio, knife, or boga grip. Having left more than one expensive tool on the ocean bottom, I’m a big fan of leashes, and internet shopping. Speaking from experience, I know that there is a split second between the time your  rod leaves your hand and hits the water where you absolutely panic. I’m not saying a  leash will ease your panic, but it will make you smile when your prized set up is dangling over the side of your kayak, rather than making a b-line for the bottom.

Commercialy available kayak leash ($30)You can purchase leashes made of various materials for various applications like the one pictured here for around $25-$30.

But, I hate spending money on things I can make myself almost more than I hate losing prized gear. And since this is a Do It Yourself blog post, I’m going to show you how to make an excellent leash for about $5 and 15 minutes of your time. I love this project because it’s easy, cheap, and the finished product is super functional and professional grade.

NOTE: Feel free to experiment with materials other than phone cords. I’ve made these leashes out of simple parachute cord (which I use as my paddle leash) and light duty bungee cord for rod leashes. I like the phone cord leashes for applications that will not get used often, like my cell phone, radio, and lunch bag.

Do It Yourself kayak leash materials

MATERIALS

2 – Plastic Scotty clips (Can be purchased for around $2/each at your local kayak shop or even cheaper through KayakFishingGear.com)

36″ – Curly phone cord (Check your junk drawer, local Goodwill, or 99 cent store.)

2 – 6″ zip ties (small gauge is best)

1 – Needle nose pliers (Note: Should have wire cutting capability)

STEP 1

Cut cord to desired length (cut off plug ends and discard.) The old adage of “measure twice, cut once” is true here. Plan ahead. Think about what you will use the leash for and stretch the cord out to make sure the mostly extended length is long enough to serve its purpose.

STEP 2

Insert one cut end into the narrow Scotty clip slotInsert cord into Scotty clip narrow slot

STEP 3

Fold end of cord over onto itself about 1/4″. Fold it tightly as this will become the tag end that holds the cord in place.Fold the cord end over tightly

STEP 4

Fasten zip tie tightly around folded cord. Make sure there is no wiggle. Use the needle nose pliers to pull on the zip tie if needed.Tighten zip tie around tag end

STEP 5

Trim excess zip tie end, and short tag end of cord so that it fits inside the large round Scotty clip openingTrim zip tie and short tag of cord end

Push tag end into round Scotty clip opening

Repeat steps 2-5 for second side of leash.

Finished Do It Yourself kayak leash

Clip item to kayak and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your equipment will not leave you.

Do It Yourself kayak leash at work


Sandbass love the smell of spinnerbaits in the morning!

While I’m not conjuring a blizzard of Tweets and holding down my full-time day job as a brand marketer, I eek out a few moments to search the web for interesting information related to fishing. This week during a search of YouTube I discovered Evan and Jared, TheBassBoyz and Team Basstic. They are a small posse of up-and-coming hardcore saltwater bass fishermen here in So Cal. Aside from noting the plethora of sponsors, and industry connections these guys have racked up, I was left with a with a few observations of these young guns:  1) These dudes remind me of a much younger me running around the rivers of Oregon. 2) Evan is particularly charismatic, he talks a good game, and based on the videos it seems that he knows what he’s doing. 3) Despite some pretty consistent results of my own, I clearly have a lot to learn about bass fishing the So Cal harbors.

 Even after 40 years of fishing like a madman, I am still a student of the sport. This is due mostly to the fact that I am constantly reminded about how little I actually know.

I tend to find something that worked, and use that until it doesn’t any more. Then I try to figure out the next “magic bait,” and the cycle repeats itself. On the hunt for the next big thing, I paid especially close attention to Evan discussing bait types & color selection. I also watched carefully the footage of his technique and I definitely picked up a few things about retrieve speed, and action. Armed with all these mental notes, I was very eager to get on the water and see if the boys could teach this old guy some new tricks.

Newport Harbor - Coast Guard Station Beach Launch

I called up Matt and talked him into a trip that we would both dedicate to testing the new tactics. He was in, so the next thing I did was raid my little-used freshwater bass gear. I dusted off the spinnerbait box, and pulled out a good variety of dark and light colors. I also went deep into my saltwater swimbait box and brought out some of my lesser used colors to pair with the spinnerbaits. After a couple of hours assembling likely combinations, we were finally ready to go and we loaded the kayaks on his truck for a dawn patrol launch.

We got to the harbor around 6AM and assembled the kayaks with our usual array of toys, gadgets and accessories (I’m working on a future post all about kayak rigging, so stay tuned).We pushed off from the beach and I immediately began fishing. Matt turned left and headed to the bait barge, and I turned right and fished the newly refurbished Coast Guard docks. I was on my second cast when the first of a flurry of fish made my morning worthwhile. To make a long story shorter than it otherwise could be, I’ll let the photos from my first six casts tell the tale.

Double Colorado blade dark "swimmerbait" combo for low-light and off-color water.

Cast #2 - Legal sized Spotted Bay Bass

Cast #3 - Short Spotted Bay Bass

Cast #6 - Short (only barely) California Halibut

They were all caught within 20 feet of each other along a row of freshly installed docks. The spot had produced fish for me before, but usually only when the tide is rising and ripping.What made these three fish even more amazing to me is this:  They were all caught at the very bottom of a minus tide, meaning the water was lower and darker than usual, and damn near brackish. This means that the usually plentiful baitfish were nowhere to be found. According to everything I’ve learned to this point, these fish should have had a severe case of lockjaw for at least the next 4 hours, and possibly longer.

There were other fish, including a bunch more spotties, a great fighting Barred Sand Bass (see photo below), and a good sized legal halibut (I saw it, so I can attest to it’s size – somewhere north of 10 pounds) that snapped my 8# fluorocarbon leader as I went for my Boga-grip. While it clearly sucks to part prematurely with a great photo fish, the real bummer about breaking off the larger model fish was losing the “magic lure”. That lure, the one pictured above, caught me a dozen quality fish. All the other spinnerbaits in my box were either larger, smaller, or just didn’t match the color combination.

Barred Sand Bass

Beached kayaks at the end of the day.

We had a terrific day of exploring and testing our new tricks and tactics. Speaking of new gizmos, I have designed an at-a-glance table to include in this report for those of you who appreciate data. My thinking in creating this dashboard is that it might be a nice way to share the relevant details that an astute angler will use to piece together a future winning trip. It also gives you a quick peek into my planning and what I was thinking before the trip began. Check the new “On the Water” tool below and post a comment, shoot me a Tweet (@HookIdeas), or email me (HookIdeas at Gmail dot com) and let me know what you think. Is it helpful, overkill, or in need of more information? I welcome your feedback. In the mean time, go get bent!

Fishing Report Dashboard - May 21, 2011