Month: October 2015

Release The Kraken, again!

My first fishing session off the new Kraken 13.5

My first fishing session off the new Kraken 13.5

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.

The 13.5 next to the 15.5

The 13.5 next to the 15.5

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.

Taking on the slop

Taking on the slop

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.

Carrying a full load with ease

Carrying a full load with ease

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.

 All Krakens are transducer ready

All Krakens are transducer ready

 Bait pump ready and come with the new Sealine waterproof pouch on the seat

And Bait pump ready

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The Elite comes with the floor padding, and KKrate and more.

The Elite comes with the floor padding, and KKrate and more.

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.

Of course we still have the cool Kraken logo

Of course we still have the cool Kraken logo

Rod holders? Yeah we have plenty and room for the Kkrate and a tackle box.

Rod holders? Yeah we have plenty and room for the Kkrate and a tackle box.

The Elite comes with the floor padding, and KKrate and more.

The Elite comes with the floor padding, and KKrate and more.

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San Diego Kayak Fishing part 2

On the hunt in La Jolla

On the hunt in La Jolla

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.

A couple great fish from the tournament including the biggest yellowtail

A couple great fish from the tournament including the biggest 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.

Paddling out to point La Jolla before the storms hit

Paddling out to point La Jolla before the storms hit

Paul in his custom Jackson Kayak Kraken JAL edition.

Paul in his custom Jackson Kayak Kraken JAL edition.

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.

Mounting up the Torqeedo motors.

Mounting up the Torqeedo motors.


These Torqeedo motors are awesome but will also make you a bit lazy.

These Torqeedo motors are awesome but will also make you a bit lazy.

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.

Johns first yellowtail

Johns first yellowtail

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.

Our one keeper yellowtail from the trip

Our one keeper yellowtail from the trip


Filleted up and ready for the smoker

Filleted up and ready for the smoker


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Nothing like a Ballast Point Sculpin to go with that smoked fish

Nothing like a Ballast Point Sculpin to go with that smoked fish

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.