Kayak Fishing Venice, Louisiana

We have just returned from our latest shoot—an extremely successful trip to Louisiana. Jim and Jameson Redding of Jackson Kayak headed to the Gulf town of Venice in the southernmost part of the state to hook up with Brian from Seaguar and the folks at Mexican Gulf Fishing Company.

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Day 1 success on The Pale Horse

High winds courtesy of Tropical Storm Emily threatened to end the trip before we could even get started. After examining the forecast and weighing our options, we decided to keep the kayaks on shore spend our first day on the water learning the fine art of yellowfin fishing from the safety of our charter boat, The Pale Horse. In the span of just a few hours, we beat up on nine monster tuna and the guys felt confident that even with high winds, they could handle the big fish in their kayaks the next day.

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With Emily looming on the horizon, we hit the water early knowing that our window of opportunity to fish from the kayaks would be short. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect; within seconds of hitting the water Jameson was hooked up and Jim quickly followed suit. The guys spent the next hour dealing with their first two lunkers from their kayaks. As soon as they were landed, fresh bait was dropped and we hooked up a second time. Jameson, burnt out from two big battles with yellowfin, handed his paddle over to Brian. Unfortunately, he lost his first bite and before he could drop a second bait the thunderstorms hit and we were forced to make a run for the shore.

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The rain didn’t stop for several hours and the forecast threatened two days of unrelenting storms. With the dismal forecast, Brian decided the best course of action was to call it a day and head home. With footage to capture and hope for another break in the weather, the rest of the crew geared up and waited for the storm to pass.

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36052459850_fafb020c25_oWithin a few hours and with a little bit of luck, the storms shifted and we saw our window to hit the water without a guide or a camera boat. In the end, Jameson and Jim landed nine beauty slot redfish and the guys rocked a ton of awesome tips and banter.

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Next up, we’re headed back to Belize and Belize River Lodge with our good buddy Damon, where we’re hoping to hook in to some permit, bonefish, and tarpon.

Kayak Fishing Alligator Gar in Texas

Our heart rates are only just beginning to slow down after a crazy weekend of fishing with Bubba Bedre’s Garzilla Guide Service in Palestine, Texas.

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Long-time friend of the show, Damon Bungard, joined us on this shoot and both Damon and I landed our first alligator gar! It was incredibly rewarding reeling in these monsters from our kayaks. On this trip, I alternated between paddling the Coosa HD and the Coosa FD. It was different pedaling instead of paddling but I all got the hang of it after awhile (even if I did reach for my paddle every now and then).

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Bubba taking a well deserved break on the Coosa FD

Damon was paddling the Mayfly throughout the shoot, and even managed to snag a gator gar on the fly, which was impressive! As an avid fly fisherman, Damon really enjoys the features of the Mayfly —especially because it makes for a great standing platform for sightcasting.

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Damon enjoying the view from his Mayfly

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Damon and I celebrating another monster from our kayaks

We rejigged our kayaks to accommodate these behemoth fish on arrival and began our hunt for gar under Bubba’s guidance. During our first long day in the sun, I managed to land a small 20lb alligator gar while Damon landed a couple of other species on the fly.

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Getting our kayaks ready for another day on the water

Our second day on the water proved to be even hotter and a bit slower but in the final moments of the day I hooked a beast! A long fight ensued—which involved maneuvering the fish out from under a log—and with assistance from Bubba, I landed a respectable 140lb monster.

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Bowed up!

Our third day on the water mirrored day two almost exactly, with high temps and a slow day. Just as we were about to head in to seek shade, I hooked into another beast, weighing in at a decent 130lbs.

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Bubba and I with one of the many monsters caught on this trip!

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…and another one!

This shoot was fantastic: With jumping prehistoric monsters, tons of laughs and wild characters—we can’t wait to get back down to Texas and get some more gar on the board!

Kayak Fishing Virginia

VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS and it’s where we just wrapped up Season 8 of The Kayak Fishing Show doing what we love most–fishing!

On the hunt for big striped bass, heavy catfish, and even a little fly-fishing action, Richmond, Virginia has been on our destination list for quite some time.

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To kick things off, we loaded up our Malone MicroSport trailer before we hit the water in the heart of downtown Richmond on the James River set against the backdrop of the city. Guided by Jackson Kayak angler, Josh Dolin, and Luther Cifers of YakAttack, we fished an incredibly scenic section of river known as a great spot for fly fishing.

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We continued a mile downriver where we were shown a great section of that promised big catfish. For this type of fishing, I opted to use 80lb Threadlock with 50lb Fluorocarbon leader from Seaguar in the hopes of landing a monster.

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Our initially positive weather forecast turned foul, and heavy rains caused the river to rise rapidly and turn muddy. With no shortage of wind and rain, I was very happy to have all of my Kokatat gear! I luckily packed my Sea02 PFD, Gore-Tex Paddling Jacket, Whirlpool bibs, and Gore-Tex Tempest paddling pants. The whole Kokatat system kept me toasty warm. Even with the poor conditions, we managed a few shad and some mid-sized catfish but the monsters remained elusive.

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For the second half of the shoot, we ventured over to the other side of the city to meet up with Wes Seigler of SEiGLER Reels. This is where Jim was able to get his hands on his new Jim Sammons signature edition reel for the first time. Eager to test it out, we hit the saltwater where we targeted speckled trout and big stripers based on some local intel that folks were hooking up on 53lb stripers leading up to our arrival.

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No big ones were landed but an impromptu fishing competition between the group made for great entertainment. In the end, we managed to hook up on some small stripers throughout the day. With great company, even the worst weather conditions can’t dampen the good times we had on the water!

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With that, we wrap yet another awesome season of the show. We’re already planning for Season 9, which is shaping up to be another incredible season of searching for big fish on big water!

Kayak Fishing the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia

We are just back from our latest kayak fishing adventure—a shoot with friend and fellow Jackson Kayak teammate, Chris Funk. Chris and I both paddled Jackson Kayaks, with Chris in his signature DT, while I got to try out the Mayfly for the first time. The Mayfly is a fly fishing specific sit on top, and I really enjoyed paddling it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of my fly fishing equipment with me this time, so I couldn’t put it to the ultimate test, but I’ll definitely be paddling it again!

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Paddling the new Mayfly from Jackson Kayak

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Chris Funk fishing in the Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia.

For years, Chris has waxed on about a special spot that he has urged us to come and experience it firsthand. In the end, our curiosity got the better of us and we met up with Chris to explore the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia —a spot that may not sound like an exotic destination, but is truly out of this world. We stayed in a cozy cabin at the gateway to the swamp in Stephen C. Foster State Park, a 402,000 acre refuge chock full of herons, turtles, alligators, and—most importantly—bowfin!

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Paddling below the Spanish Moss that was everywhere in the Okefenokee

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Not a bad place to spend a day!

Throughout the week, both Chris and I landed numerous pike and bass, but the majority of   our time was spent chasing bowfin. We quickly learned that the trick with bowfin in these parts is to land them quickly to avoid getting the attention of the big gators also keen for a catch! With murky water and an abundance of toothy critters, we needed to straight tie our lures to something strong, and Seaguar Kanzen Braid was the ticket! The Kanzen casts really well, and it’s easy to dump the leader and straight tie when visibility is not an issue. Fishing among the hundreds of alligators and endless birdlife was definitely a highlight of this trip for us.

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Fishing with the locals

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Giving the gators right of way in the swamp

The water temperature was low due to a front that  had passed through the week before we arrived, which slowed the fishing down, but only marginally, so we still caught enough for our liking. The cold front also meant that there was a broad variety of temperatures and weather during the week, so that meant versatility was key. I was very happy that I brought along my Kokatat paddling top – it was perfect for the cool breeze in the mornings and easy to pack up and stow away when the weather got warmer in the afternoon.

The cold water also handily slowed the gators down, so they were not too aggressive and could be seen much of the day laying on the banks warming themselves in the sun. Paddling and fishing alongside gators does have an added element of danger, but it just made catching the local bowfin all the more exciting! This was also my first time catching bowfin, so I was pretty excited that I got to add a new species to the list on this trip.

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Another species added to the list

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My new otter friend. Photo: Chris Funk

Besides all the gators and birds we saw in the swamp we had a close encounter with a REALLY BIG otter. I was actually standing on shore at the time when he came running right up to me, he saw me and did a quick right turn back into the water.

Next week we are off to Virginia to meet up with friends Wes from SEiGLER Reels and Luther from YakAttack for a week-long kayak fishing road trip – stay tuned for more updates on that on our Instagram and Facebook page!

Kayak Fishing Vancouver Island, Canada

We are back from lovely Vancouver Island and are very happy to report on this amazing trip. The folks from Nootka Marine Adventures along with BC tourism did an amazing job at welcoming us, making us feel right at home and most importantly, putting us on some amazing fish.

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We arrived late at night to a sky full of rain. When we rallied early the next morning there was a rare offshore calm begging us to add some excitement. The calm gave our kayaks a chance to drop in on some halibut and ling cod. We hooked a few ling and rock fish, but only landed the halibut which was hauled in on the support boat…but hey…at least we got to eat it!

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Next we took part in the Moutcha Bay Annual Kayak Tournament. What a fantastic event! Myself and the crew were blown away by the remarkable attendance and the love the local anglers have for kayak fishing.

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We had a wonderful few days after the tournament fishing the iconic, wild, BC rivers for salmon that had begun their move. Massive schools made shooting a breeze and we were able to catch and release about twenty gorgeous fish on film.

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To close out our trip, we had one more day offshore. I managed to catch the elusive yellow eye rockfish that I have been hunting for and our friend, Kalani, hooked his first big ling.

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With a fishery of world class proportions and the legendary scenery of ‘Beautiful British Columbia’, we are already planning our trip back!

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Kayak Fishing in the Ottawa Valley

JUNE 22-30

For our most recent shoot, I headed back to the beautiful Ottawa Valley to fish on the mighty Ottawa River. ‘The Valley’ is home to Heliconia, the producers of our show, and it’s no wonder they’ve chosen this as home base – the fishing is unreal.

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Exploring the many side channels on the Ottawa River

After many of our international trips being plagued by storms and wind, it was refreshing to see that the weather in the Ottawa Valley was going to be pretty consistent, if not incredibly hot. Most of the time, really hot days can really make for awesome evening bites, and this trip was no exception.

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Nice largemouth!

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Ken getting up close and personal with one of many fish caught on this trip

On this trip we switched things up a bit, with show producer Will Richardson playing guest host, while Ken Whiting joined us and took on the role of primary videographer for a few days. Will got to experience firsthand what it feels like to have bad luck in your home waters, as the topwater largemouth bite wasn’t on as much as we had hoped with the forecast.

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Another nice largemouth

We then hooked up with the guys from Team Jackson Kayak, who were also shooting in the area. Having Brooks, Jameson, James and EJ along for this really helped logistically with shuttles, and for getting lots of different angled shots. We hit the water hard, running rapids and fishing for small mouth bass and pike. Our luck seemed to turn around, and needless to say, the Ottawa provided and we had a great time. I was paddling the Coosa HD on this trip, and loved every minute of it – it was really stable and comfortable, key for getting through some of the whitewater we encountered on this trip.

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The man himself (Eric ‘EJ’ Jackson) ready to hit the water

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Hanging out with the boys from Team Jackson Kayak

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Scouting some of the bigger rapids on the Ottawa River

Following that, Jim joined up with local pros Dan and Manny in a secret location for some musky fishing. The boys put us on plenty of fish and we all came off the water with huge smiles.

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Super secret location in the Ottawa Valley

Finally, we hooked up with musician and narrator for Kayak Bassin’ Brock Zeman for a last day of fishing for largemouth on a small back channel. If you like our theme song for the show, Brock is the evil genius behind it!  This was hands down one of the best days of fishing of our lives, as those bass were all over our topwater frogs.

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Getting serenaded by Brock Zeman on the water…not sure what to think about that.

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Brock with another nice bass

The Ottawa River always provides us sunny skies, warm water and awesome fishing. We’re already looking forward to our next trip back to the Ottawa Valley.

Florida Keys – June 2016

JUNE 2-9

With the promise of great times and amazing fishing in the Florida Keys, our host, Capt. Esteban Gutierrez of Blackbeard Fishing Co., welcomed us for a week-long shoot.

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Unfortunately, another guest was also lured to the region on our second day there—albeit not invited by Esteban—Tropical Storm Colin. Intent to make the best of it, we ducked high winds and constant rain and managed to find great fishing!

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Esteban has become a bit of a regular face around the crew of the Kayak Fishing Show, and for good
reason. Not only has he set up some incredible trip opportunities and proven his kayak angling ability, he is also an asset on and off camera.

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During our time, with Colin, in the Keys, we hooked a tarpon, landed a bonefish, and hooked and landed a ton of snapper and barracuda. Our exploration of the Florida Keys’ amazing fishery has certainly inspired us to want to return for another shoot.

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The whole crew agrees that coming back for more time on the flats alone would be worth the trip. In the end, rainbows emerged (literally) and we managed some angling success despite the storm.

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