Monday, December 2, 2013

Breaking in the Cuda

Took the brand new Jackson Cuda 14 out for a paddle today.  Weather was decent for December.  No winds, relatively warm at 39 degrees and 38 degree water temp.  The bite was slow but I did manage to land one pig at 19" and lost three others next to the boat.

On to the boat!  The Cuda paddles the same as expected as my last Cuda did.  Some features I really fell in love with on the water is the lumber support, the new center hatch, and my rudder add on this year.  In the old seat I would occasionally get a stiff back after a long day on the water.  I spent 6 hours in the kayak today and had ZERO back issues.  The new center hatch is probably my favorite change to the new cuda.  In the past it was difficult to open both straps on the hatch without crawling up the boat some and I rarely used it on the water.  Today I found myself in the new hatch at least nine or ten times getting things in and out of it.  It was easily the best upgrade that has been done to this boat.  Lastly the rudder, although not new to this year I didn't have one last year and used it alot while drift fishing today.  Here is a short video of the day.  

Friday, November 29, 2013

2014 Jackson Cuda 14

I just picked up my newest kayak the 2014 Jackson Cuda 14 with a rudder in Yellow Jacket.  This is a sweet looking kayak for sure!  This is the replacement for my 2012 Cuda 14 and it surely has some nice feature upgrades.  Check out the video below for a quick overview of before and after I rigged it.  If interested in this boat Shank's Mare Outfitters can order one for you!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Off Season Kayak Fishing Training

Although I kayak fish year round my time on the water significantly slows down in the colder months November through February.   One question I get a lot is what do I do in my time in the winter when I'm NOT on the water.  Well the answer is pretty simple.  I train for the next kayak season!  What do I mean I train?  Well in the "off" season I'm in the gym five days a week preparing my body for next year.  Here is brief breakdown of what I do.

Wednesday-Back and Biceps

By no means am I a body builder, or even overly strong.  However I do consider myself in shape and fit.  Now how does this translate to kayak fishing you may ask?  Honestly it translates quite a bit.  Lets start generic and just talk about upper body.  How does training my upper body help?  Several ways!  First it helps me load the kayak!  As most of you know fishing kayaks are NOT light.   I've had kayaks in the 60lb range to the 100lb range.  Obviously the stronger and more in shape you are the easier it will be to load these heavier kayaks.  Sticking with upper body, lets talk about paddling!  I'm not trying to be a "hulk" but it certainly does help with paddling stamina.  The more in shape your upper body is the longer you'll be able to spend on the water.  Your muscles just won't tire as easy!  And if any fishes with me they know I like to spend 8 + hours on the water in the summer time.

Next lets talk about lower body or LEGS!  You don't peddle a Hobie and wonder how legs go into kayaking?  Easy!  Ever heard the saying lift with your legs and not your back?  Strong legs will certainly help you load your kayak on top of your vehicle.  Also I've been known to have some long drags over rough terrain to get to some of those sweet spots of fishing.  I don't want to have to stop every three seconds to take a break.

Nothing to do this off season and kayak is already hung up in the garage for the winter?  Hit the gym, work out at home, stay active.  Whatever fits your lifestyle, any workout is better than no workout at all.  Take some of this down time and prepare yourself for longer days of fishing for next summer!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cold Weather Kayaking

A recent discussion I've seen all around different forums and social media sites in the kayaking world is cold water safety.  I decided to team up with one of my sponsors at Shank's Mare Outfitters and make a small video session on proper gear in cold water.  After you watch these videos the biggest thing to take away from all of this is do not go out in conditions above your skill level even if you have the newest, best, and most expensive gear.  In cold water conditions mistakes happen and people don't always make it home.  Even I stay off the water from time to time.  This is a topic that we will expand on and have more videos on as well in the future.  In the following videos you will see Kyle, myself, and Devin all discuss parts of this important topic.  Be smart, be safe, and always have fun.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fall Fishing

I just got back from a spot I hit last week.  It's definitely a hidden little gem but its a hike with a kayak to get back into it.  Last week I had about 7 bass at this lake but somehow I managed to delete the gopro footage before I made a video of it.  So in my mind I had to get back to make a video of this amazing place to paddle.  The air was cold today, the water was below 50 degrees, and it was windy.  Not my ideal fishing but I still managed to get on some fish.  I landed around 6 bass and 1 pickeral.  All my fish were caught today on butter-it baits.  Check out the video!

And don't forget to check out Shank's Mare Outfitters for Jackson Kayaks and Werner Paddles!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Solo Loading Kayaks

As with every new vehicle the question is always in my head how am I going to load my kayak on this?  I didn't give it much thought with my new F150 with a simple answer as I'll just slide it right in the bed of the truck and strap it down.  Easy right?  Well after a month of having it I decided to buy a truck cap for it so I had more bed storage.  New problem.  How am I going to get an 80 lb boat on a truck roofer taller than me?

I did figure a few  ways out to get it on the roof however none of them were pretty, and I even scratched my new cap after a week.  *****!! I went down to Shank's Mare Outfitters and talked to them about some different loading options.  I really went into the shop looking to spend some $$$ on a top dollar Thule rack that may or may not have worked for what I needed.  After discussing it with them they talked me down to a much cheaper option being a single roller that suction cups on my back window.  The price for this was around $40!  EVEN BETTER!  I got home and immediately tested it out.  Watch the video to see the ease of use on this roller.  This was my FIRST time trying this and I didn't even read the manual....

Head down to Shank's Mare Outfitters to pick up yours today!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lake Clarke 10.18.13 Report

I went out on the Susquehanna River at Lake Clarke in Wrightsville on 10.18.13 and launched from Shank's Mare Outfitters.  Last time out I had great success going down river towards the dam so we tried this at first.  NOTHING!  We then decided to go upstream and hit a creek mouth.  The winds were 10-15mph constant with white caps on the river.  It was a tough paddle but we made it up there.  Once in the creek mouth I started throwing Lure Concepts Spinner Baits and started to hammer some nice smallies!  SUCCESS!

We each caught several fish in here until we decided to go on the other side of the bridge.  Bridge was low and water was high we had to take down all rods, gopros, and visi carbon poles to get under.  On the other side we found some nice water but could not locate any fish.  On the way back under the bridge I forgot my gopro was on my blackpak and made a nice scratch across the lens case.  This ended up being a $40 mistake...OOPS.  We then hit the bridge again from the side where we started and the fishing shut off.  We made the paddle back to the launch in the waves and called it a day.  Although I am still learning the lake this is quickly becoming a close to home favorite of mine to hit.  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ram Tube Jr. Product Review

I was lucky enough to have Shank's Mare Outfitters pick me up a Ram Tube Jr. to test out for them.

When I first got this I just though OK, another holder by Ram, what's so different than the other one's I currently use.  Well once I got it out on the water I realized the potential with this thing.  It is actually a three in one holder in my book.  First off for spinning reel guys it is notched to hold the spinning reel perfectly!

Second for the bait casting crowd, if you flip around the hold to the opposite side it has a notch for the "trigger" of the bait caster and will hold in place even when trolling for big fish without the need for extra ropes and cords used for leashes.

And last, but certainly not least!  This is by far the best feature on this holder.  Stake out pole holder.  YES, a stake out pole holder!

I did all of the adjustments on this from the seat of my kayak without having to get out.  This is something I will be replacing all of my ram holders with in the very near future.  And as always check out Shank's Mare Outfitters for this great product that is coming out in 2014!

Quick Loop Tie Down Review

I've recently purchased a new vehicle that is a lot larger than my last.  When it came time to load my kayaks on top I realized that the kayaks sit so far back on my f150 that I needed two ropes to reach the front tie downs on the kayaks.

So I went to the drawing board and headed down to Shank's Mare Outfitters and picked up a pair quick loop tie downs.
These are one of the easiest products I've ever had to use.  Simply pop the hood, put them in place, shut the hood and you have tie downs much closer than before.  These also are a perfect addition to vehicles that do not have front tie downs and you do not want to tied around a bumper or grill.  
Make sure you visit Shank's Mare Outfitters in Wrightsville to pick a pair up for yourself!