Here is a quick walk through video of the new Kraken 13.5 from Jackson Kayak.
Visit your local Jackson dealer and take one for a test drive.
Here is a quick walk through video of the new Kraken 13.5 from Jackson Kayak.
Visit your local Jackson dealer and take one for a test drive.
Though I tend to prefer the longer kayaks, hence the 15’7″ length of the Original Kraken, now called the Kraken 15.5. I also know there are a lot of people that want those same features that the original Kraken brought to the table but in a smaller package. That is why Tony Lee and the rest of the Jackson Kayak design crew worked hard to bring you the new Kraken 13.5.
Though I helped on the design of this boat I just recently had the chance to get it out on the water for its first fishing shake down cruise. Once again I think Jackson hit it out of the park on this one. As mentioned above the Kraken 13.5 has all the great features included in its big brother but in a lighter more nimble package.
I had the 13.5 out in some pretty sloppy conditions, high winds and chop, and it handled these conditions as would be expected of an offshore fishing kayak. It handled the slop both punching into and running down swell with ease. The guys I was fishing with were both in the 15.5 and though I was a bit slower it was barely noticeable. I am sure if I had a rudder, as the other two boats did, it would have been an even closer race. Though I normally don’t use rudders in these high wind conditions it would have really helped out in the tracking. While fishing in the more sheltered areas no rudder was needed and the kayak paddled like a dream. Of course like the 15.5 the 13.5 is prerigged for a rudder so adding one is a breeze.
Here is what they have to say about the Kraken 13.5 on the Jackson kayak site.
“The Kraken 13.5 is an all-new option for paddlers looking to tackle big water. Based on The Kraken 15.5 platform, the 13.5 sheds some length for more maneuverability but with all the punch of its big brother. This kayak, just like the original, is designed for the most challenging paddling environments in the world and intended for the offshore and big lake kayak angler. A natural follow up to the first collaborative design between legendary kayak angler, Jim Sammons and Jackson Kayak’s design team led by Tony Lee. The new Kraken 13.5 is a boat shaped and built to accommodate those hitting the open water, in a nimble, smaller footprint, but still capable of big water management. It’s designed for punching through surf, handling rough offshore currents, swells, beach landings and those who desire ultimate performance and maneuverability while chasing big fish.”
Being 13’3″ the new version of the Kraken is just over two feet shorter than the original and would be suited for anyone looking for good performance in a smaller package. Being 230 pounds myself, with a full bait tank which would add another fifty plus pounds and an awful lot of gear. I still felt the kayak carried the weight well and could have handled a few big fish in the hull with ease.
One addition to the 13.5 that you will not see in the 15.5, that should really appeal to those stalking the flats, is the addition of a high seat position. Doubtful I will be using this position while fishing offshore but in the calm waters of the flats it is a welcome addition to aid in locating fish.
New this year with the Krakens you have some rigging options, in the 13.5 you can get the base model or the elite package and with the 15.5 you can get the base, Elite or the fully loaded Pro model. Basically giving you the option to buy a stripped down boat ready for your rigging or get one that is dialed in and ready to conquer any fish in the sea.
To get a full list of the features and extras available on the Kraken make sure to visit the Jackson Kayak website.
Though you will likely still see me spending most of my time in the long boat, I think the 13.5 will be quite at home in the big offshore waters, bays or lakes. A great boat for anyone that wants a true paddlers kayak but doesn’t want to deal with the size of the 15.5. Vist your local Jackson dealer and get one our for a test paddle, I am sure you will like it.
As I mentioned in my previous post, this year in Southern Califonia has been one for the records. Tuna, Dorado and countless yellowtail have been caught this year with high expectations that many more will be caught before this year is over. Because of this we decided to shoot a couple of episodes of my show here in San Diego. As seen in the previous post we first attended the JAL memorial kayak fishing tournament and saw some great catches of big White Seabass and Yellowtail.
The day following the tournament we took the day off the water to shoot some B roll around my wonderful city and catch up on some other work. Preferring to do that work on the weekend and do our fishing on the week days.
Of course as our luck would have it when we decided to fish, the weather turned and the fishing dropped off. On Monday I met up with my good friends Paul Lebowitz and Chris, one of the old time LJ kayak anglers. This day started off very nice but with very tough hunting for live bait. With a lot of work we loaded the bait tanks and got to work. We lost many bait to Bonita, which though fun were not what we were looking for. Other than that we mainly fought with Sealions to keep out bait.
On day two of the trip I had gotten some intel of some fish in an area not often fished that is generally sealion free. John Jackson from Ram Mounts was going to be joining me for the next three days of fishing so getting him on some fish was my goal. It was a long paddle but once in the area things really started to look fishy. It was a drizzly morning with a bit of wind, predicted to get no more than 12mph. Well predictions were wrong and it seemed the minute we got to the area the wind started to built slowly. We both hooked up a couple times to bonita then I hooked into a big fish. This thing spun me around and towed me into the now 15-20 mph wind with very little effort, I was flying across the water. Thinking I had this fish in the bag, I was pretty stoked, unfortunately I suddenly pulled the hook on the him. It wasn’t long after that the wind started to push over 30 mph combined with a driving rain. Impossible to shoot let alone fish in these conditions we ran for home. Once at the boat launch it was high tide with a flood of water coming from the storm drain which made landing my little tinny camera boat a real challenge. Needless to say not much in the way of photos or video from that day due to the driving rain. I gotta say I was pretty happy I had brought along my Kokatat paddling jacket and even more so my SeaO2 PFD, because it got more than a little sketchy out there.
Day three of the trip we arrived at the beach while it was still dark and were greeted by more wind. Not horrible but worse than we really wanted to deal with. Standing on the beach for about an hour weighing different options for the day we finally decided to just go for it. We had brought along our Torqeedo motors so we knew we would have no issues getting back if the weather went to hell.
Lucky for us something happened that never happens and that is the weather got better. We loaded up on live bait at the kelp beds and got to trolling. It didn’t take long before John landed his first ever yellowtail, it was pretty small but he was stoked about it. This little guy was released to fight again.
We were in the right zone because we landed three more fish in that area but they were all in that smaller size so released. The biggest issue this day was that we were the only guys out on the water, no other kayakers or boaters to spread out the sealions. Once they got on us they wouldn’t leave so we stopped fishing for over an hour. At this point I did a little sneak move to get away. We paddled through the kelp beds for about a mile and popped out in another spot. With the coast clear we put baits back out and began to troll. This time we had a double hook up with John landing a nice bonita and I got a twenty four pound Yellowtail. Thankfully I was using a kelp cutter rig because my fish wrapped up in the bull kelp and with the combination of Seaguar Threadlock hollow core braid and Seaguar fluorocarbon I was able to work the fish out. This fish came home with us and went into my Big Chief smoker the next day.
Unfortunately after landing that yellow the sealions found us again and pretty much put an end to our fishing day.
We had some other highlights to the trip like flybys from a good sized hammerhead and watching a humpback whale breaching over and over again.
Though the trip was not what I had hoped, due to the weather, it was still a good trip and La Jolla will always be my home on the water.
Every two weeks, we release the Kayak Fishing Tales Newsletter, which has giveaways, videos and announcements. (If you don’t already get the newsletter, sign up here: http://bit.ly/1O8fexH ) Another great part of our Newsletter is the SEA-LECT Designs Rigging Tip of the Week, which outlines some handy tips and tricks to outfit your kayak to optimize your fishing experience. This week, Jed Hawkes of the Product Development Team at SEA-LECT goes over a very cost effective and simple solution for lashing your paddle to the deck of your kayak and for keeping knots from coming undone.
We commonly will just “deal” with small repeated tasks that are imperfect, it’s so small or common that we will spend a moment struggling with that task rather than find a simple solution to streamline it. This is either because we don’t see a solution, know of one that already exists, or perceive that moment of struggle as insignificant. But these moments add up. We commonly use our deck bungee to securely store our paddle while we accomplish a task; this can be a something as simple as taking a drink of water or more complex like tying on a new lure, assisting in a rescue, or landing the first catch of the day.
The Clamcleat® Shockcord Ball greatly helps assist quickly storing your paddle under your deck bungees. The ball is threaded onto your deck bungee and gives a wider radius to allow the paddle blade to slide under the deck bungee without snagging. The flattened side helps it sit nicely on the deck and the beveled corners of the hole help prevent fraying of the bungees sheath. The balls can be used on deck bungees for Fishing Kayaks, Sea Kayaks and SUP’s.
I also use the Clamcleat® Toggle Ball to add a large stopper onto small diameter cordage. The Toggle helps to cover the knot as well as provide an easy object to grab. I install these on the ratchets of by back band on whitewater and sea kayaks to help pull the back band taught.
For more information about SEA-LECT Designs, visit sealectdesigns.com
The kayak fishing in San Diego this year has been nothing short of incredible with catches never seen before. I personally have caught my first ever local Yellowfin tuna and my first ever Bluefin tuna from my kayak.
We here in San Diego have had a long history in modern kayak fishing and as a community a long history of giving back to other kayak anglers in need.
With the incredible fishing we are having and a great benefit tournament going on I thought it would be the perfect time to bring the cameras to my home town and shoot a show.
The tournament this year is called the JAL memorial tournament and it is to be a day of remembrance, honoring a young man who’s life was full of his family and friend’s love and that love will live on forever.
All proceeds will be given to continue the James Lebowitz Computer Science Scholarship. You can read the story behind the tournament here.
Tournaments in La Jolla have always had a way of bringing out the best in our community as well as the best out of our fishery. This years tournament was no different, with some spectacular catches being made, including a tournament winning fifty eight pound White Seabass. I did not personally fish the tournament choosing instead to drive my boat with the camera on board, shooting video, still shots and delivering a few cold beverages courtesy of Ballast Point. We got lucky and were in the right spot to get shots of most of the biggest fish caught that day, so this should make for a great show.
Here are a few shots from that day.
The fishing was followed by a huge BBQ and the handing out of the prizes. Over five thousand dollars was raised for the JAL scholarship fund and a great day was had by all.
After the tournament we spent the next five days shooting in La Jolla for another episode. I will have write up about that soon.
About a year ago we were approached by Esteban Guetierrez of Black Beard Fishing company to gauge our interest in joining him on a trip to Costa Rica. He offered to work out all the details so we of course couldn’t say no. After a lot of work on logistics by him and his partner Andrei “Drei” Stroman we had worked out a plan with Costa Rica Tourism to shoot a couple of our shows.
We have visited so many great locations around the world while shooting our shows, great not only for the fishing but for the lodging, people and environment. After this trip I think Costa Rica certainly worked its way to the top of our list in all these categories. Aguilla de Osa in Drakes Bay Costa Rica has made it to the list of places I must return when ever I can. By their standards the fishing was slow, but was still amazing, the lodge itself was fantastic, from the rooms, views, meals and even more because of the wonderful staff. It is not often when you go on a trip that every employee at the location makes a point of learning your name and stops to have a conversation with you each evening to ask you about your day, and seem to be genuinely interested in what you have to say.
I have found the people all over Costa Rica are very passionate about their country and love sharing it with visitors. As a whole the country is very clean and everyone seems very protective of the environment. Costa Rica has embraced eco-tourism unlike any other country I have visited and it really shows in how the country has protected vast areas of open space that have incredible bio-diversity. Whether going on a fishing trip or a family vacation I don’t think you would regret a visit to Costa Rica.
For this trip we flew into San Jose then took Sansa, the local airline, to The town of Palmar Sur which is located on the Sierpe River that empties directly into the Pacific Ocean. The Sierpe wetlands has one of the largest mangroves in the world featuring amazing and untouched biodiversity. Palmar Sur is also used as an access to Drake Bay and Caño Island Biological Reserve. Though you can fly direct to Drakes Bay we, like many tourists, landed in this destination to take the tour down the river, a wonderful adventure that allowed us to enjoy the wildlife and the lush vegetation until we get to our final destination. Below are some shots from our river tour.
Every evening at Aguilla de Osa there is a cocktail hour with fantastic appetizers that included ceviche, sushi, sashimi or any number of other goodies.
All meals are served at a large communal table so that all the guests dine together. This made for some great conversations with guests from all over. I must say that the food here was as good as anyplace I have ever been.
We put in a lot of miles every long day of fishing, at times feeling like we were paddling on a treadmill in the strong currents but it paid off with some great fish. The bulk of our catch was Roosterfish which are one of my favorites to catch. We all broke off on some big Cubera but did land some other good fish including Dorado and Amber Jack. I also had a hookup on a sailfish that tossed the hook before we ever got the camera rolling. Even if the fish had not cooperated it is an amazing place to paddle. Just make sure you have plenty of water and the right clothes to keep you covered up, because it is hot and humid.
We can not thank Bradd and his staff from Aguilla De Osa and the Costa Rica board of tourism enough for making this trip happen. Of course we couldn’t have done it without the help from the guys at Blackbeard Fishing company.
It deserves repeating, if you want a little adventure you owe it to yourself to visit Costa Rica.
After Leaving Mag Bay, we had a long drive to Punta Eugenia which was our pick up point to get to Cedros Island, our next fishing destination. This drive is over some long stretches of dirt road so we broke it up into a couple days spending the night at a very cool hotel overlooking the water at Bahia Asuncion. The next morning we had breakfast at the restaurant next to the hotel, which was basically inside a ladies house. The food was amazing and she was a sweetheart.
The last stretch of dirt road from Bahia Tortuga to Punta Eugenia was wash board and shook the fillings right out of your teeth. We were supposed to meet my friends Jarrod and Adrian at the pickup point but they were a no show. Turned out they had gotten a flat tire on the dirt road and were about three hours late. We couldn’t wait for them because the winds were picking up and if we didn’t leave we wouldn’t make it over to the island that day. The guys were able to meet up with us the next day out at the island.
Jose at Cedros Outdoor Adventures recently built his own little lodge on the cliff right above the water and this place is awesome. A great view from every room, wonderful employees and fantastic food.
Our first day of fishing at the island was all about the Calico bass, we got so many our hand were hurting. Most of the fish were caught in deep structure. While fishing the Calicos with soft plastics Sean tossed out a lure that had landed so many bass it had no tail left on it and wouldn’t you know it a yellowtail jumped on it. It was a great fight on his bass rod.
Jarrod and Adrian arrived later this day and we all hit the fish hard for the next three days. It was pretty windy on the trip but we knew there were big fish around so we charged anyway.
Some great fish were caught and a good variety as well. Jarrod landed a monster halibut and Kirstin caught the biggest Yellowtail of the trip at forty one pounds. I got a thirty nine and a thirty seven pounder. Adrian caught a big one as well and we also added some smaller white Seabass to the mix.
After fishing we were tired, hungry and thirsty and great food was always ready. Jose shared with us his recipe for huevos con huevos. Yellowtail eggs mixed with scrambled eggs and it was delicious.
Of course as our luck would have it the winds died on the day we had to head back to the main land. At least we had a smooth ride home. The same can not be said for the ride back down the wash board roads.
We got vibrated so bad the lumber rack on my truck broke and a leaf spring on my trailer broke when I hit a large hole that I had not seen.
Thankfully the trailer breaks down pretty easy so we were able to put it in the back of Sean truck and Jarrod had met someone that knew a guy with a welding shop in town. Within about an hour and a half the roof rack was welded up, kayaks were on the rack and we were on the road home.
I had some requests for whole fish so I got a big Engel Cooler for the trip. Everyone laughed when they saw how big is was. Turns out it was just big enough.
The rest of the drive home was beautiful and uneventful. We stopped for some of the best street tacos I have ever had just outside of Ensenada then made the final push home.
This was an absolutely awesome trip and I can’t thank my friends Sean, Jarrod and Adrian and my daughter Kirstin enough for joining me. Also huge thanks to Will Richardson and Mike McKay for documenting the entire trip.
Of course big thanks to Mag Bay outfitters and my good friend Jose at Cedros Outdoor adventures for hosting us.