Month: July 2013

Back from the Arctic Circle

I have just returned from a great kayak fishing adventure to the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories, with Plummers Arctic Lodges. My friend Jeffrey Goudreau helped us set up the trip and was along as my guide and fishing companion.
Plummers Arctic Lodges operates several fishing lodges in the NWT and they set us up at their Arctic Circle Lodge on Great Bear Lake. Besides Jeff and I, the only people at the lodge, or on this side of the lake for that matter, were my cameraman Will and the lodge manager Joel. We seriously saw no other signs for people for six days. The location is pretty remote and we had to fly our kayaks in on the pontoons of a float plane.

Heading to camp on the float plane

Rigging up the kayaks in front of the lodge

The fishing up here was just insane and with the crystal clear water you could easily spot fish down below or in the shallow flats. Having the Jackson Cuda 14’s made the extensive trolling we did easy and standing or just being in the high seat position made spotting the fish we were targeting a breeze. With our Maui Jim Sunglasses we could easily spot fish in the worst glare even when twenty feet down.
When not pulling on fish this was just a great place to paddle and enjoy the scenery.

Which way is up

Big cliff or tiny kayaks?

While paddling we also had encounters with a bit a wildlife including a couple Moose with calf’s, bald eagles and even a small pack of wolves.

A wonderful chance encounter with an Alpha Male wolf

We had every kind of weather on the trip from very hot and buggy to rain and freezing winds, there were areas where the lake was still frozen so you can imagine how cold that water was. To be safe Jeff and I were always wearing dry gear from Kokatat with good wicking base layers from Exofficio. I went back and forth depending on the weather from my Kokatat bibs with Jacket when needed, to the full dry suit when we had the coldest days. The addition of some warm socks and my Body Glove booties even kept my toes warm. Having the right clothes like these from Kokatat, Body Glove and Exofficio made a huge difference in our comfort and safety on this trip.

Bundled up in my Kokatat Bibs, Anorak Jacket and ExOfficio beany

Jeff keeping out the cold in a Kokatat Dry suit

The ExOfficio neck gator was a life saver when it got real buggy too. If you are wondering about the hat, I lost my normal fishing hat during some real high winds.

During the trip we honestly caught more fish than we could count mostly smaller fun sized fish when caught on the light bass rods and a few real good ones over twenty pounds. We really mixed up what we were tossing and trolling, Sebile Flat shads landed a lot of fish as well as big Husky spoons. When we had a time when the fish just wouldn’t commit to the big baits we would switch to small baits like the small flat shad or the Sebile Spin Shad. In fact Jeff caught our largest fish of the trip on a very small spin shad.

If you look real close you can see the small Spin Shad in the fishes mouth.

The go to rigs for the trip were reels loaded with fifty pound Seaguar Kanzen braid and a short top shot of 80-100- pound Seaguar Fluorocarbon leader, this made landing the fish much easier.

leadering up

I mentioned the high winds and losing my hat earlier, well good thing we had the Standard Horizon floating radios with us because when I tried to grab my hat I managed to knock my radio in the water too. Unlike my hat, it floated.

Standard Horizon radios float

Locating fish had a lot to do with water tempertures and edges of reefs in the lake, my Raymarine Dragonfly fish finder made things much easier.

Check out my Dragonfly

The Jackson Kayak Cuda comes rigged with Ram rod holders but I also like a few more storage spots and a place to carry tackle so I brought along a Yakattack Blackpak and it worked out very well on this trip.

Rigged up and ready

Another great tool we used on this trip was the Delorme Inreach which not only let us keep in touch with our families but allowed us to keep in touch with our shows fans letting you know what we were up to on our adventure through our twitter feed @kayakfishingTV.

Another fish another tweet

If you are going to do the amount of trolling we did on this trip you really want to have a good quality light weight paddle and I am so glad I have my Werner four piece Camano as it is just so easy to travel with and a dream to paddle with.

Have Werner will travel

With 24 hours of sun we sometimes found ourselves fishing well into the night without even realizing it until we were exhausted, luckily there were plenty of deserted beaches to take a nap on.

Nap Time, or Arctic Midnight

This was an absolutely fantastic trip that I highly encourage anyone to do if they have the opportunity.
We left a couple Jackson kayaks up there so you can use that as an excuse.
Contact Plummers Arctic Lodges and they will set it all up for you. They practice barbless and all catch and release fishing up there so hopefully it will just keep getting better.