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Kayak Fishing for Tarpon with Seaguar

April 10, 2015

I consider myself to be a very lucky person. Not only am I lucky because I get to travel around the world  Kayak fishing but I get to work with some amazingly talented people at Heliconia​. Because of their talents I think our show gets better every year.
Here is a sample of some of their fantastic work, a little promo piece for Seaguar Fluorocarbon​ and Braid.
Great Job Kelsey Thompson, Will Richardson, and Ken Whiting, working together to make our shows what they are.

Huge thanks to all of our great sponsors for keeping this show rolling. We begin shooting for our seventh season on the air next month.

Jackson Kayak​ Raymarine​ DeLorme​ Werner Paddles​ Kokatat Watersports Wear​ YakAttack​ RAM Mounting Systems​ Maui Jim​ Release Reels​ Mountain Khakis​

Some Yellowtail action on the Kraken

April 6, 2015
A nice father and daughter double hookup in La Jolla

A nice father and daughter double hookup in La Jolla

I got out on the water in La Jolla with my daughter Kirstin last week looking for Yellowtail.
We both hooked up at the same time so I didn’t get a lot of the action on video but I did get a cool underwater shot and the landing of her fish.
This was her first yellow so I was super stoked for her. These were decent sized yellows and she really put the hammer to it. We launched in the morning at 7:00 am and were off the water by 9:30 not a bad morning at all.
Not the best video but a great memory for sure.

A couple quick and dirty mods to my Kraken Kayak

March 23, 2015
The Kraken is a fishing machine but can always be made better

The Kraken is a fishing machine but can always be made better

You know that no matter how great a kayak is there are always things you want to tweak to get them just how you want them.

Today I broke out the saw, drill and a few parts to do a couple mods to my Kraken kayak, to get it ready for a long fishing season.

We do at times here in San Diego get into some pretty big fish, my biggest  white seabass for instance was 62 pounds. I have an insulated game bag that fits inside my hull with ice packs that I keep my catch in for those time that I do keep fish. Just to make getting the bag, as well big fish, into the hull a bit easier I cut away the inner lip inside the center hatch. This gave me close to an inch of extra width and length. This easy mod has no affect on the integrity of the kayak or the water tight seal of the hatch.

Like I said quick and dirty, I actually did this with an angle grinder.

Like I said quick and dirty, I actually did this with an angle grinder.

The next thing I did was grab a small hack saw and cut out the back side of my battery tray. I have been using small Nocqua lithium ion waterproof batteries, I love these things but on a real long day I do need to swap them out. By cutting out the back of the battery tray I can still get my batteries up off the floor of the kayak but have a bit easier access to them if I need to swap them out.

Cutting away the back of the battery tray

Cutting away the back of the battery tray

Now I have access to the batteries from the front and back.

Now I have access to the batteries from the front and back.

The last thing I did was swap out the plastic gear track that the boat came with for the aluminum gear track with back plates. The reason I did this was to make the center hatch much more rigid so no flex when punching surf. Also I like to use a small down rigger at times and with the combined stronger tracks and the plates I got from Yakattack for attaching my finder and rigger my hatch is super solid.

New aluminum gear track

New aluminum gear track

additional backing plates

additional backing plates

This is the mounting plate for my A78 Raymarine. I will use a similar plate for my downrigger once I get it.

This is the mounting plate for my A78 Raymarine. I will use a similar plate for my downrigger once I get it.

You can see how it mounts to the gear track in this shot.

You can see how it mounts to the gear track in this shot.

You can see in the above photo how the plate attaches to the two tracks. SUPER solid

Always tinkering with the yaks. I hope this gives you some inspiration to cut into your boat.
Maybe do it a little cleaner than I did.

Making the best of it in Panama

March 18, 2015
Putting in the miles in Panama

Putting in the miles in Panama

I have said many times that Panama is right at the top of places I love to visit and go fishing. I have also said many times that if you have to have good fishing to have a good time you will be disappointed a lot. Fishing is fishing and even at the most remote, little fished areas you can at time hit a cold spell where the fish just don’t want to bite, and this was kind of the case in my most recent trip down south.

Because we had to canceled some trips late in our shooting season, due to weather, we were down a few episodes for the upcoming airing season. I approached our friend Hennie Marias from Paddle Panama to see if he could squeeze us in for a week of fishing at his place in Jaque Panama and he very nicely obliged. Of course because it was a last minute thing we had very little flexability on when we would be able to make the trip and just picked the dates that worked for all of us.  I am not one to generally make excuses for not catching fish but this area was just too pristine and perfect habitat to not catch fish unless there were extenuating circumstances, so here goes, here is my excuse. It was about as bright a full moon as you will find without a cloud in the sky each night. When I am planning trips I generally try to avoid the full moon periods of the month and this trip just proved why.

Now just because we had tough fishing doesn’t mean we didn’t catch fish, it just wasn’t up to the standard I have come to expect in Panama. We worked hard every day to get on fish and when not out fishing had a wonderful time at this amazing location. Heck even if we were not down there to fish this is just an incredible place to paddle and explore. This place is an absolutely beautiful location and it is filled with friendly people.

To start off the trip we flew into Panama city and stayed the night at a small hostel, just a quick nights sleep and we were back at the regional airport for our hop to Jaque,

Heading to Jaque

Heading to Jaque

Joining me on this trip was Andy Gilbert from Raymarine, he was a great guy to fish with and also gave us some good tutorials on how to fine tune our fish finders.

Hennie’s house in Jaque is right on the beach and made the perfect base of operations, perfect for launching for our fishing days, perfect for our nightly surf sessions and perfect for just hanging out and rigging up gear.

Hennies Place

Hennies Place

Jim Rigging up his new FOX travel rods

Jim Rigging up his new FOX travel rods

Andy getting ready for his first run at kayak fishing.

Andy getting ready for his first run at kayak fishing.

AS you can see we did catch a few fish.





Nothing huge on this trip but we did get some decent fish

Nothing huge on this trip but we did get some decent fish

As mentioned we did a bit of kayak and body surfing each night out in front of the house, which in that heat brought welcome relief and was just a whole lot of fun.



kayak surfing is fun.

kayak surfing is fun.

Here is a little video I put together of the surf in front of the house.

If you are just looking for an awesome place to paddle you would have a hard time finding a cooler place.







Jaque is the closest village in Panama to Columbia and because of this we had to check in with the local military each day when we left to go fishing and when we got back. This was rather interesting to me but they were always very friendly about it so other than the few minutes it took out of our day it was no bother.

One of our daily checkpoints.

One of our daily checkpoints.

I think all of us on the trip agreed that the highlight of the trip for us was a visit to a small Indian Village about an hour upriver from Jaque. This was not a tourist destination and the people live a very simple life. They were so warm and welcoming to us on our visit and we had an entourage of from ten to twenty kids with us the entire visit.








Good fishing or bad fishing I don’t think you would ever regret making a trip to Panama with Paddle Panama, it will truly be an experience you will never forget.

A huge thanks to our host Hennie Marais for helping us make this trip happen on such short notice. This really was a trip to remember.

Hennie from Paddle Panama

Hennie from Paddle Panama

Interview with Jim Sammons

March 13, 2015

Have a half hour to stare at your computer screen? Here is a fun little interview I did with Mark Melnyk for his Outdoor Atlas pod cast. I think it gives you a good idea of why I love the many aspects of this sport and also why I am so passionate about keeping people safe while doing it. I hope you enjoy it.

Fully loaded Kraken Kayak up for auction for a great cause.

March 9, 2015

Please help us keep James name alive.

Please help us keep James name alive.

Recently one of our own, our good friend Paul Lebowitz lost his son very suddenly to a brain aneurism. Through a very tough time the Lebowitz family made a courageous decision to donate their son James’s organs, in hopes of helping others. To this point five lives have been saved and many more people helped. In order to keep their sons name alive they have started a scholarship fund at Cal Poly Pomona, the school he was attending when he passed.

Thanks to the support of some of our friends and sponsors we have put together an amazing kayak fishing package that is now up for Auction on Ebay, with all funds going to the scholarship fund. Please read about this great package below and if in the market for a new fishing kayak please consider bidding on it.

This is the link to the Ebay Auction.

See just one of the ways that James was able to help someone else, in this video.

Brand New 2015 Jackson Kayak Kraken
Fishing package loaded with gear.

This is the actual kayak you will win, complete with James's signature

This is the actual kayak you will win, complete with James’s signature

(Item listed as local pickup only but may be shipped for an additional fee depending on location. Arrangements for shipping handled between OEX kayaks and buyer.)

All funds from this auction will be
going to the James Lebowitz memorial scholarship fund at Cal Poly Pomona

Jackson Kayak has donated a custom
Kraken kayak for the fund raiser, with the Cal Poly colors and James Lebowitz
signature molded into the plastic.

Watch the making of this custom kayak here. 


Included in this awesome package.

  • New Kokatat Bahia PFD (Blue)
  • New Werner Hooked series Camano Paddle 240cm
  • NEW Raymarine Dragonfly 7 Fishfinder
  • Fishfinder professionally installed
  • New Full functioning live bait system professionally
  • Battery and Battery box from OEX Kayak Fishing
  • Additional rigging package from RAM and Yakattack.. (Camera mounts, Light pole, transducer mount, phone/gps mount…….)

Package valued at over $3600.00

More information on the Kraken

kayak is designed for some of the most challenging paddling environments in the
world and meant to be for the offshore and big lake kayak angler.

This kayak marks the first
collaborative design between legendary kayak angler, Jim Sammons and Jackson
Kayak’s design team led by Tony Lee.  The end result is a boat shaped and
built to accommodate those hitting the open water, those looking for speed,
comfort, perfect trim and big water management.  It’s a paddlers fishing
kayak!  It’s designed for punching surf, handling rough off shore
currents, swells, beach landings and those wanting ultimate performance when
putting in long distances to get on fish.

Other items included with this boat.

  • Eight rod holders
  • Plano ammo can style tackle box.
  • Nine sections of gear track.
  • Elite Seat
  • Nalgene water bottle
  • JKrate which will be turned into a bait tank

You can read more about this great
kayak and other gear at

The first photo of the Yellow and
Green kayak is the actual kayak you will receive.

Item listed as local pickup only but may be shipped for an additional fee depending on location. Arrangements for shipping handled between OEX kayaks and buyer.

The kayak will be on displayed and shipped from OEX in San Diego. If you would like to discuss shipping options or get a shipping estimate please contact Brent. Santa Clara Point Recreation Center, 1010 Santa Clara Pl, Mission Bay, CA 92106
(619) 758-9531

More information on the Scholarship fund:


The James Lebowitz Memorial Cal Poly Scholarship

James Andrew Lebowitz, 18, was a successful freshman computer science major at Cal Poly Pomona when a brain aneurysm cut short his journey. Always a giver, James offered the gift of life to many in desperate need.

His strong heart went to a fellow California 18-year-old. One kidney saved the life of San Diegan George Martinez, a substance abuse counselor credited with rescuing a family friend who’d watched James fight and win his own battle. The other rescued a child. His lungs give breath to an educator; his liver saved another life, the fifth in all. Two people received the priceless gift of sight.

James was one of one of only 120 students admitted to Cal Poly Pomona’s Computer Science Program in 2014 – a signal achievement for a young man who had to overcome many difficulties posed by an autism spectrum diagnosis. James loved the campus community, and was loved in return. He’d found his place. He was never happier.

In the midst of the worst tragedy any  family could possibly endure, Paul Lebowitz and his wife, Susan, sought to serve the Cal Poly student community by establishing a scholarship in James’ name. The James Lebowitz Memorial Cal Poly Scholarship will be awarded annually to a computer science major, in perpetuity. “Helping other young people much like James is a fitting honor for our son. Long after we’re gone, his name and story will live on at Cal Poly,” Paul Lebowitz says.

You can save lives, too. Please register as an organ and tissue donor today by visiting the Donate Life California Celebrating James webpage (   

Read about James’ lifesaving organ and tissue donations in the Union Tribune ( and Western Outdoor News (

We want to thank all of the sponsors of this auction for all of their support during this tough time. Please help us make James name live on!!

To make a tax deductible donation directly to Cal Poly Pomona, visit Please be sure to write “For the James Lebowitz Memorial Scholarship Fund” in the Additional Information portion of the online form.

JAL Memorial Sticker Sale
YakAttack, Yak Gear, Native Watercraft, and Wilderness Systems are working together to raise money for a scholarship fund at Cal Poly Pomona in honor of James Lebowitz. Stickers are $5.99, with an optional $10 add-on for a raffle entry.

A Kayak Anglers Christmas List

December 1, 2014


look at all the things you can get for that special kayak angler this christmas

Look at all the things you can get for that special kayak angler this Christmas.

Well, Christmas is upon us and I know you are just dying to put something special under the tree for your favorite kayak angler. When my wife looks in my garage and sees all of my kayaking and fishing gear she thinks I have everything I need and couldn’t possibly need one more thing. Well, of course there is always that one thing that I would love to add to my gear pile. I thought I would share a few ideas I have on the subject. Some are items I use that your kayak angler may be interested in, and some are things I would love to see wrapped up at my house this year.

Let’s start out big. How about a kayak upgrade? This Christmas just happens to line up with the arrival of the new Jim Sammons signature kayak from Jackson Kayak, The Kraken, at your local kayak dealer. If your kayak angler likes to go distances in big water and wants a featured packed kayak, this is the kayak you should be looking at. Yeah, I am a bit biased, but if you put this under the tree and you will have one happy kayaker on your hands.

The Kraken on the water and ready to hunt

The Kraken on the water and ready to hunt.

Of course, to push that kayak around you are going to need a paddle. I will tell you flat-out there is none better than those made by Werner. Take a look at the new Hooked series of paddles from Werner to find an amazing paddle. Take a look at the Werner Kaliste if you want the best of the best.

I have been called the PFD Nazi because I push so hard to get guys to wear them on every outing. Of course it is a lot easier to get guys to wear them if they are comfortable, and that is the reason I personally use the SeaO2 by Kokatat. I started wearing this PFD about a year ago and it is, hands down, the most comfortable I have ever worn. Kokatat also makes some great paddling jackets and dry pants that I am sure any kayaker would love.

For days on the water that you want to be comfortable and still look good, Mountain Khakis has a great range of shirts, shorts, and pants worth checking out.

Kayak anglers seem to come up with every angle in which to record their adventures; from cameras mounted on the kayak to drones flying overhead. Well, what’s next? How about getting the shot of the fish actually eating your lure? With the new inline underwater camera by Water Wolf you can now get that shot too.

I think all fishermen are gear heads and love to have all the right tools, that is why we are seeing more impressive electronics mounted on kayaks all the time. One of the best units that I have ever used, that has amazing clarity and is super user friendly, is the Dragonfly by Raymarine. Now available with a 7 inch screen this fishfinder is hard to beat.

MK clothing 1

New Raymarine Dragonfly 7″ set up on one of our trips and Mountain Khakis clothing.

Something that the kayak angler in your life will always appreciate and be in need of is new fishing tools. We are always losing or just flat-out wearing them out. A tool that I have really come to appreciate on my kayak are my Splizzors from Buck. This combination, as the name implies, of scissors and pliers is my go-to tool when it comes to cutting braided line and removing hooks from fish. Of course I really don’t want to lose them or having them rusting so I keep them in a Holdzit sheath and attach a gear retractor.

Likely one of my favorite tools that I use every time I go fishing is my SprayBox . Mounted in the back of my truck, I am able to wash down my fishing gear, kayaks and trailer as soon as I get out of the water. I know this item has saved me thousands of dollars in damage to my fishing gear and vehicle. They make units that mount in your truck bed or that are portable and are really worth the investment.

Of course no fisherman will ever turn down a nice new shiny fishing reel, and if they like to fish for bigger fish, I know they would love reels from Release Reels, made in the USA. With a lifetime warranty these reels will make any angler happy for a long time.


Standard Horizon has a VHF radio for any budget

I know you want your kayak angler to be safe while out on the water so other great items that they may not buy for themselves are things like a Standard Horizon VHF radio, a Delorme inReach GPS Satellite Communicator or even an emergency medical kit and bilge pump.  For waters where sharks are a consideration, the Shark Shield Freedom 7, an electronic shark deterrent, is nice to have for piece of mind and has me keep me for fish.

There isn’t an angler around that doesn’t appreciate a pair of good polarized sunglasses and if you want the best take a look at Maui Jim. I have been wearing these glasses for many years and can’t see myself wearing anything else.

If you are just looking for some smaller items to use as stocking stuffers, how about some spools of Seaguar Fluorocarbon line, packs of Mustad hooks, or a new Buff? The gift of kayak rigging from YakAttack and RAM Mounts will never be frowned upon.

Has your kayak fishing friend gone through more than one cell phone while on the water? If so, I am sure a LifeProof case and life jacket would be very well received. How about a gift that will keep giving all year long, like a subscription to Kayak Fish or Kayak Angler magazines?

Another great gift for your kayak angler is to send them on an adventure. There are kayak fishing guides all over the world and there is likely a trip that your kayak angler would love to go on. I offer trips in San Diego as well as multiday trips to Baja and Panama, pick one of my trips or a trip with a guide anywhere in the world and I am sure you will make your special angler very happy.

Join a guided kayak fishing adventure and you may end up like this happy guy.

Join a guided kayak fishing adventure and you may end up like this happy guy.

For kayak fishing deals online keep an eye on HOOK 1 Kayak Fishing Gear, or stop in at one of their 3 stores if you are in the area, they’re one one of the biggest online retailers for kayak fishing and live and breathe the kayak fishing lifestyle.

I hope this gives you some ideas to help in your shopping for that special kayak angler in your life. Merry Christmas from The Kayak Fishing Show with Jim Sammons!


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