Month: August 2009

Ocean Kayak ‘Torque’ Hits Montana

We finally got a chance this past week in Montana to put the latest addition to the Ocean Kayak‘s rack to the test. Oh man, am I ever excited!

_MG_1989

The reality is that there are situations where paddling is huge hindrance, such as people who just don’t have the upper body strength, or when you absolutely need to troll for certain species of fish at a controlled speed… or if you are a photographer or videographer, shooting 5 guys fishing spread out across a lake and need to zoom from one to the other while never putting your camera down. This is when a pedal powered or motorized kayak is a handy thing. As a camera man I admit to staring at the guys that could zoom across the water with their hands free with a whole lot of lust. If I had something like that, I could keep the camera rolling instead of burning valuable time trying to get to my subjects… who inevitably catch a fish as far away from the camera as possible. Trust Ocean Kayak to come up with the ultimate solution. As soon as the Torque was announced I saw the possibilities.

One of the very first Torques off the production line was sent to Jim for us to try out in Montana. I thought we were gonna be in a bit of trouble when he told me he was bringing an electric kayak with him. The rivers in Montana are extremely shallow. Perfect kayak fishing waters, but absolutly no good for something with a motor. The local anglers all row down the river in specially designed drift boats, not a motor in sight. A motor would only hang up on the rocks and dense weed beds. On the lakes it would be fine… but we had 4 anglers, and two crew… and Jim only had room for 6 kayaks… someone was gonna be banging that motor down the river.

Jim laughed at me, and pulled out the Minn Kota motor and the battery and replaced it with a fitted keel piece that comes with every Torque… In skinny water the torque wouldn’t be a problem. It quickly converted back in to a standard kayak, just as lightweight as any Ocean Kayak Prowler. Consider my skepticism squashed.

_MG_0136

Jim ran the Madison River for the first 4 days in the Unmotored Torque. Nothing much to say there, without the motor it paddled just like any other Kayak. He eventually took out the removable keel to let him get in even skinnier waters, and that made it a bit harder to paddle, as without it, the currents would push up in to the open hole and swing him around from time to time. Thats his fault for wanting to be able to get closer to shore than everyone else.. not the kayaks fault. (it paid off… he caught a ton of fish)

Finally… we got out on Ennis Lake for a real trout fishing fiasco. It was time to put this baby thru her paces. We swapped in the motor and the battery in less than one minute. The hook up was super simple. Jim got in, and proceeded to zoom accross the three miles to the fishing hole… while the rest of us slogged out the paddle. He arrived first.. and was fishing long before we got there.

_MG_0281

A storm rolled in at about 2. It had been raining all day so we didn’t think much of it… until the first lighting strike. We needed to get back to the put in, and fast. A three mile paddle. Enter ‘Super Torque.’ Jim’s son, Randy, was having trouble fighting the wind and rain and was falling behind. Jim quickly rigged a paddle leash as a bow line and hooked Randy up to his kayak. The damn little Minn Kota never slowed down for a second… he pulled both of them to shore (and safety)… once again beating the pack. (Narrowly beaten by CG and Kendal, who wanted to beat the motor on principle)

The Next day it was my turn. I had a theory about being able to do sweet pans and fly by shots using the motor on the lake. It took some begging… but Jim finally gave in. So on the 6th day, Will got his wish, and was now motor powered.

_MG_0401

Like many folks, when I fish, I want to paddle. It lets me tell my wife that I am “Not just fishing… I am getting exercise!” ¬†Which in turn gets me out fishing more. As a camera person, I hate paddling. I am always having to stop rolling because I have drifted away from my subject, or need to paddle like a maniac to get to a hooked up angler. The Torque is perfect for me. I can paddle it on fishing days, or swap out the motor for those long musky trolls… ahem… I mean days where I need to film people… yeah…

For those worried about Motor noise, fear not… the thing is very quiet, (no louder than a frustrated angler muttering curse words on the water) I got some awesome fly by shots, and was able to, for the first time ever, get Jim hook to release on a trout while moving. No time lost. I was able to zoom in tight from a long way away… and there was little to no camera shake. This is the ultimate shooting platform. Kendal just drooled as I zoomed in to position for the shot.

We got a good chance to put the battery time thru the paces. It will run about 2.5 hours at top speed. We also tested it’s pulling capacity. It can tow about 5 other kayaks without losing significant speed. Thats pretty amazing when you think about it. If you have a long way to go to your fishing hole, and lots of kayak fishing buddies… one Torque might be the solution.

_MG_1829

Jim and I both loved the Torque. I can’t wait to get one of my own for all shoots. Go out and give one a spin, I think you will be a convert.

I will leave you with a shot of Jim rolling down the river. Oh Montana… how did ya get so darn pretty.

Will

Advertisements

Big Drifts, Blue Sky and Brown Trout

_MG_9278-2

Oh my LORD!

We are in the midst of day 4 here in Montana and let me tell you, nothing has prepared us for the wonders that the river has brought forth. I will start at the beginning…

Rainbow Lodge

Rainbow Lodge

We arrived to a huge surprise, our own personal lodge looking over the town of Ennis, Montana. The folks over at Rainbow Valley Lodge really set us up with a great home base. We have a full kitchen (which is good to feed 6 big guys) , beds for all and a nice big porch to enjoy a brew and tell fish stories from. From our private oasis we can easily tell how the wind is blowing over the lake… but the real magic lies in the nearby Madison River.

_MG_9198-2

The first day of shooting we hooked up with our friend Jason at Bozeman Angler, and he took us on our first drift down the Madison. It really helps to have a guide out there from the get go. Fly fishing is tricky business, you need to know what bugs are hatching, and what the trout are eating, and every river is different. Jason showed us how to handle the Madison, and his drift boat was a top notch platform to shoot the Kayakers from. The fishing was a bit slow (or we were a bit slow.. one or the other…) Didn’t matter to C.G… he still managed to haul a fish out of the river.

_MG_9903

I would say, as always, the fishing is only half the story out here. As usual the real fun is the people we meet along the way. I am happy to include C.G. as a member of that group of amazing people I get to shoot with.

Not only is he an amazing angler, managing to find the fish even when there seems to be none, but he is also a great teacher. Both Randy and Jim have quickly become great casters under his instruction. Proving that with the right teacher, anyone can chuck a fly.

He knows the area, knows the hatch, and can tie a knot faster than you can say… “Hey CG.. can you tie a knot for me?”

We did get to share a bit of knowledge with him however, and I am happy to say he can add a bit of fast moving water to his skills. He was a little nervous when we first hit a few long wave trains… but now he hits em all with a huge grin. What a great guy to spend your week with.

_MG_9124On the second day of our adventure, the training was over and it was time to hit some serious fish. First stop was a quick visit to our friends at Bozeman Angler to grab a few flies and meet up with our guide to the Yellowstone River, Cole. The Bozeman Angler is a very cool shop down in the heart of Bozeman. The people are super nice, and the guides are top notch. If you are heading out here to fish, give them a call. The best part is that they figured out how to guide the kayakers down the river, which should have been a bit of a challenge.. but Cole and Jason took it all in stride.

_MG_9434

The Yellowstone River provided a ton of fish for us. Both Jim and Randy got some one on one time with our man Cole and he showed them how to spot the flash, toss the fly and land em. It was only a matter of time before they both snagged their first trout… and not long after that Jim landed his first from the kayak.

_MG_9488_MG_9681

Not all was peachy however. Although C.G., Jim and Randy all caught fish.. many fish… on the Yellowstone. One man stood alone from the pack… watching and waiting for the right moment to catch a fish.

Mister ‘Birdsnest’ Herman watched over the group in cold, calculating silence… waiting in the wings for the right time to show his skills. By the third day, with a return to the Madison river, he still hadn’t managed to break a streak of slight misses and big chances. By day four he was getting visibly frustrated… but that all was an act it seemed.

Every trip we do, something special comes at one point or another. Double hook ups, record breaking tuna, and Montana was no slouch… Bird pulled out of that river the fish of a lifetime. A trophy brown trout. I can’t show ya the pictures yet, we want to keep em under wraps for now. Let’s just say that it is gonna blow your mind.

_MG_0197

_MG_9239-2

Three more days of fishing ahead. Can’t wait to tell you the rest of the story.

Will

Fear the Yakkers Montana… FEAR THEM!

Hey everyone,

This last week has been a mad scramble to get everyone ready to head out to Montana. Jim packed up his truck and all the kayaks yesterday… He and his son Randy are driving across the great and wonderful USA. I am sure they will have plenty of crazy road trip stories to tell us when they arrive.

This is gonna be an exciting trip for us. Not only do we get to be some of the first folks to dump our Ocean Kayaks in to Ennis Montana’s trout filled waters, but we get to do it with the local pioneer of kayak fly fishing CG Feldman. This man is a local legend, and he hopes to show us why.

Not only that, we are being joined by our favorite texan Bubba, Jeff ‘Birdsnest’ Herman and my partner in crime Kendal Larson, who is gonna be taking the pictures that make Jim look good. The hope is that we all have a chance to post here and tell you about our exploits over the next week and a half. But first things first… we gotta get there.

Kendal, Jeff and I will be arriving Saturday afternoon in Bozeman, load the flyrods in the rental and zip out to meet Jim. We are staying with the wonderful folks at Rainbow Valley Lodge. These folks have been super good to us, check out their site, and book your fly fishing vacation with them! Honestly, these are some of the nicest folks I have ever talked to, and they really have bent over backwards to help us out.

The Lodge

The Lodge

So, once again it is gear packing time. Jeff will be packing up a full contingent of Temple Fork Outfitters rods and reels, and Rio Flyline. Jim just got a shipment of shiny new waders from Hodgeman, which he has been drooling over for months. ExOfficio is setting us up with the perfect clothes for flyfishing… so we don’t look like bums out there, and just to make sure we can see the fish, we will be wearing polarized sunglasses, thanks to Maui Jim.We are so happy with the excitement from all these folks about what we are doing this year, that we want you all to know about it. With the TV show on the horizon, and another movie on the way, we couldn’t be happier. Thanks to everyone for helping us fish better and look like we know what we are doing.

I just received an email from CG yesterday telling me that the hatch is going off right now and the flyfishing has been INSANE. Looks like we will get a bit of rain for the first couple of days, but smooth sailing from there on in.. and besides.. what kind of Game On shoot would it be without a little foul weather? Here is a pic of CG with a beauty of a trout… ignore the boat, we will be fixing him up with an Ocean Kayak Trident 13 when we get there.

ennis lake rainbow

Tons more to tell you, so keep an eye on the page over the next few days! We should be doing tons of live blogging and tweeting from the water.

Follow us on twitter… yeah thats right.. we twitter now, either on this page on the right hand bar —>

or at http://twitter.com/yakfishmovie

Wish for fish!

Will