kayak fishing articles

A week in Florida with Patrick Sebile and Sandy

I had the pleasure a couple weeks ago of spending time with an awesome world class fisherman, Patrick Sebile, and a real bitch named Sandy.

I have known Patrick Sebile for several years and have been fishing with his lures a long time with great success. When Patrick invited me down to his home in Fort Pierce Florida I jumped at the chance to fish with him,  Sandy on the other hand was an unwelcome uninvited guest who was a real blow hard.

One of the issues we have when making plans for our shoots is that we have to plan the trips well in advance, going for times of historic good weather and good fishing. Unfortunately weather is always the variable and on this trip what was, when we arrived, tropical storm Sandy quickly increased in power and became hurricane Sandy.

Jim and Patrick Sebile with an fun little redfish

Though the wind was blowing pretty strong at the beginning of the trip we were still able to find enough shelter and get on some fish. Now if you did not know, Patrick Sebile is an internationally known angler with over 700 species on his catch list and holding over 300 fishing records. When you have a chance to fish with someone of that caliber you do a lot of listening. Patrick has designed many lures and he was happy to give me advise on the best ways to fish each of these lures for different presentations. Thankfully we had a camera rolling for most of the time because there is no way I was going to remember all he had to say.

Patrick with Two Jacks on one Stick Shad

Not to be beaten I did the same

After a couple of days of dodging the wind behind mangroves and getting our fill of trout, jacks, small snook and redfish, Sandy moved in with a vengeance and kept us indoors for two days. Again this was just an opportunity for me to learn more about lure design and listen to stories of Patrick’s fishing adventures all around the world.

Once the brunt of the storm past, the winds were still too high for us to fish the open waters so we opted for another location and doing some freshwater fishing on Blue Cypress Lake. I have fished an awful lot of places while shooting our show and I think this place was near of the coolest places I have had the chance to paddle. Visually it was just striking with the trees growing up out of the water and the never ending bird life, not to mention the occasional alligator.

Patrick whacking the bass on the stick shad

Jim doing some scouting

Jim fishing the heavy cover with the Magic Swimmer Soft

Wind was still a bit of an issue here but with the OK tridents we could paddle over the thickest cover to find some shelter. The Sebile Magic Swimmer Soft was perfect for tossing into this thick cover as it fishes totally weedless. While I was looking for cover Patrick found an area of bass that he tore up on a Stick Shad, literally putting on a clinic on how to catch fish, landing fish on cast after cast.

Patrick cruising around the trees

Patrick Sebile pulling one from the weeds

With just one day of fishing left on the trip and the wind still blowing and now the air temps dropping ten degrees.my camera man, Will, and I tried to get in some last hours of fishing. This time we tried some small over grown canals that offered plenty of shelter from the wind, alas it also offered no fish. I am not kidding when I say paddling these canals was like being in a maze, with dead ends and misleading paths. After an hour of so of paddling around we finally escaped the labyrinth to find the wind had dropped off a bit and things just started to look fishy.

Working some of these fishy areas, I was able to have the best fishing of the trip getting some bigger Jacks, Ladyfish and my biggest trout. I also had a double hookup on small jacks, two jacks on one lure. Tossing the Sebile Magic Swimmer hard got me my bigger fish and the Stick Shad was a consistent producer. I also was broken off on a bigger fish that I think was the big Snook we were hoping for for the trip.

Jims biggest trout of the trip

For the most part my gear of choice on this trip was an Abu Garcia Revo Sx loaded with Kanzen Braid 20 pound and a 30 pound Seaguar flouro leader. The rod was a Abu Garcia Veritas. I also landed a lot of my fish on a Penn Battle Spinner loaded with 20 pound Kanzen braid and 20 pound seaguar leader.

Our kayaks of choice were the Ocean Kayak Trident 13 rigged with Scotty Rocket launcher rod holders and their new bait boards.  Will got to use the OK Torque to shoot from and had days running for over 10 hours on a single charge of the battery.

The go to lures were the Sebile Stick Shad 90mm and the soft and hard Magic swimmers..

Lots of sight fishing here in cloudy conditions so I mainly wore my Maui Jim Longboards with the HT lens.

My Exofficio Sol Cool Shirt kept me safe from sun and kept the bugs off too and the Rain Logic jacket kept me warm and dry when the rain poured.

Next Stop Venice Louisiana

Show Times and Kayak Fishing Tales

With the first airing, on WFN ,of Ocean Kayak presents The Kayak Fishing Show with Jim Sammons coming up in just few weeks. We are very excited to announce the show times for the first quarter. The first episode, Baja Big Game, will air for the first time on Monday January 11 at 10:30 pm and will air a total of 6 times before episode two begins. This first episode takes us to The Hotel Punta Colorada in Baja’s East Cape in search of Marlin. I am joined by my good friends Howard McKim and Matt Moyer to target some of the biggest fish ever fought from a kayak.
The airing schedule is as follows.
WFN HD & SD (On Air) 10:30:00 PM Monday, January 11, 2010
WFN HD & SD (On Air) 6:30:00 AM Tuesday, January 12, 2010
WFN HD & SD (On Air) 2:30:00 PM Tuesday, January 12, 2010
WFN HD & SD (On Air) 8:30:00 PM Sunday, January 17, 2010
WFN HD ONLY (On Air) 4:30:00 AM Sunday, January 17, 2010
WFN HD & SD (On Air) 12:30:00 PM Monday, January 18, 2010

Episode 2, Our Alaska Adventure, will begin airing 10:30:00 PM Monday, January 18, 2010 and will follow the same airing schedule. This schedule will continue through all thirteen episodes of our show.
Episode 2 will bring us to Prince of Wales Island and Rocky Bay Lodge for some absolutely amazing fishing action and some close encounters with Humpback and Killer Whales.

Once again we ask, if you are not already getting WFN please contact your cable provider and ask them to start carrying it so you can see ours and a lot of other great fishing shows. If you are not sure if your provider is carrying WFN here is a great place find out, with links to your providers so you can ask them to start carrying it. The World Fishing Network.

If you would like to learn a little bit more about kayak fishing, visit Kayak Fishing Tales Web TV.
Here you will learn some great kayak fishing tips, see some of our unique destinations and meet some of the great people we have had a chance to fish with while shooting our TV show and Exofficio presents Game On 1 and 2, our kayak fishing movies.

Our newest video is now up and you will meet my good friend Kayak Kevin Whitley. He gives us some tips on fishing with live eels for Striped bass in Chesapeake Bay.

You can also see these videos on the WFN Kayak Fishing Tales video page.

At this time we have 20 of these videos on line and will continue to put up new videos about every two weeks. Make sure you visit Kayak Fishing Tales on a regular basis or subscribe to the channel so you will be notified when ever we put a new video up.

If you any questions about kayak fishing or our show please feel free to contact me directly, I am always happy to answer your questions. We are also always looking for the next great kayak fishing destination to visit and shoot for our show, so please forward your ideas.

Jim Sammons
(619) 461-7172

Kayak Fishing The Petawawa River

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Jim keeping warm in his ExOfficio Travel Gear under the Parliament Building

There is something disturbing about emerging from a backcountry trip after 6 days. An uncomfortable ‘birthing’ back in to the land of the living and urban sprawl. An opposite feeling to that revelation of ease and comfort you have as you realize that you have escaped your life, job, cell phones, smelly people, cubicle, desk chair spackled existence.

Les Boys

On day two of this trip, producer Ken Whiting turned to us and tried to explain a feeling he had just felt. “During that hike, I had this sudden sensation that I belonged here.” Those words rang true to my very core. It was the same feeling I had been having, the same weird warmth that I was having so much trouble trying to explain soon after the packing ended and the paddling had begun.

We talk about it a lot around here. How the average person’s world seems increasingly farther and farther away from the wilderness. Forests are getting smaller and more controlled. People fear things like bugs and fish, and the simple skill of lighting a fire seems beyond far too many peoples grasp. It takes only a short while in the woods to realize that you are perfectly safe and at home out in the wilds. There will be work, pain and hardships, but your body was designed to take it, your body needs it. Your body needs to get out of the office and be set free on nature to feel whole again. A feeling many of us will never ever get to feel as we grow more and more urban, and are less apt to send our kids outdoors. Lucky for, Jim, Ken, Lisa, Jamie, and myself, we have a job that forces us outside and keeps us there. This time it lead us to the banks of the Petawawa river.

Now let me talk a bit about equipment…before I tell ya all about what happened, lets talk about how we did it.

The Camp

In order to make this adventure possible, safe, and filmable… we needed some special gear. Drybags were our first priority, we needed dry clothes. NRS made bags that were perfect for us, from big bags to hold all our tents, to small bags that would fit in to the gunnels of the Trident 13 kayaks. The bags worked perfect, and everyones gear was kept perfectly dry, on a very wet trip. If you paddle a lot, get some NRS bags, these things are super tough and totally waterproof. Also, on the topic of Kayaks. The Ocean Kayaks we took on this trip served us perfect. In our opinion, no other fishing kayak coulda handled the beating.

Second, we needed to be able to recharge our batteries. We had the chance to test out Brunton’s big solar panel and battery combo. No special gear required, we just folded out the panel and it juiced up a battery that we could plug our cameras directly in to.. just like a wall socket. Worked like a charm and kept Lisa and I shooting for a whole week without a plug.

Now for safety. Jim and I aren’t whitewater ‘yakkers, se we needed a couple of helmets to keep our noggins from getting bonked. Sweet Protection’s helmets were the go to choice, as they are rugged, and still manage to look cool.

As for camping, our tents were all from Mountain Hardwear, and these babies rock. They are super lightweight and the poles can totally take the beating we put them thru running the rapids.


Last, we needed to be fed. We went with dried pre packaged camp food from Backpackers Pantry. Mostly because the food is super tasty and filling.. but as an added benefit, it packs well and is super light. I recommend the cheesecake. It rocks. Done.

Jamie's Musky

The Petawawa River was amazing. Our first two days were spent on lake Traverse with none other than musky fishing legend, Jamie Pistilli. Jamie camped out with us for the first night and made sure we knew where the musky were. (as you can read in his last post) All three boys caught Musky that day. Proving that Jamie is one heck of a guide.


After leaving Jamie behind to run home and celebrate his son’s birthday (which co-incidentally also marked the anniversary of his gong show of a musky catch in Game On 1) we began a rambling row into a wonderland of Canadian fall beauty. The leaves literally changed before our eyes, from green to bright orange, to flaming red. The first day offered little in the way of musky, of which Jamie had given our anglers a burning hunger for the previous day. As we left Traverse behind, the river narrowed and the trees grew tight around us. The bitter cold of the night before finally seeped from our bones as the paddling loosened up our muscles. Jim caught another small Musky, but the big ones would just blow up and spit out our lures, leaving the anglers frustrated.

Our first campsite lay just beyond a small rapid, nestled in the elbow of the river… simply, perfect. There was an awesome little drop pool just in front of camp. In that pool lay a plethora of catfish, you could catch as many as you had soft plastic grubs. Each one was over 6 pounds, and had a fun fight to haul them up. All three of us immediately grabbed rods and jig heads and began hauling them up until our arms tired. This is what we were looking for. No one fished here, so the fishing was easy. Catfish may not be a 45 inch musky, but it sure was fun, and as long as our rods were bent, there were smiles on our faces.

petfishing-4263Early to rise on day two and a short row to ‘crooked shoot’, with a few fish along the way (mainly bass and a bunch of musky blow ups, nothing big landed).This was the only technical whitewater on our route, and we knew that the raft wasn’t gonna take the beating. So we broke down our equipment and prepared to portage it to safety on the far side of the rapids. This was fine for our packs and barrels, but there was no way the four of us could haul the raft through the kilometre long trail. While ken ran the kayaks with painstaking perfection through the complicated pools of rushing water, we brainstormed a solution. It would be rough, but we could do it. We had to haul the raft over a rocky outcrop, and down through and old logging chute. It took us most of the day to finally get back in the water. Ken had the stamina to keep fishing (which amazed me since he had to run the rapid twice, do a 1 k portage, and help line and haul the raft), Lisa and I needed to jump in the lake to clean off the stink of sun beaten labor, and Jim simply passed out in happy exhaustion with a glass of wine and a book.

Third day started sluggish, but offered the first real signs of musky. Ken called us over as he had stalked a musky in to a corner and felt like it was gonna strike.  As we got the cameras rolling that fish exploded to the surface and finally stuck on a hopping frog. This began the ultimate musky fishing trip ever.


Musky are a tough fish to catch. Trust me, I have sat and watched the best try and fail for hours on end. That’s the way musky are. A frustrating fish, but when you catch one you will be willing to spend days trying to get the next monster. In pressured waters like the Madawaska River, we have sat for days with only one musky even bothering to bite a line. In Jim’s words, “You gotta be really patient, or a bit nuts to wanna catch one of these fish.” The Petawawa was different. Here, the musky were plentiful, powerful, and hungry for lures.


Ken had it dialed in for the next two days. The weather turned a little rainy and that only seemed to help the bite. Four big musky in 6 hours became the new record of the day as the veteran kayaker hauled in monster after monster. The trick was to hit the pools just before the rapids and just after with big Sebile Lures.

Sebile meets musky

Sebile meets musky

The musky were hungry for the little bass in the pools and the Sebiles were the perfect treat. This was the special day when lady luck shone down on our producer. This was Kens ultimate fishing day.


Jim was getting  frustrated. He caught the only walleye of the trip and lots of little ‘skis but so far, no monster musky. The walleye made for a nice dinner, but his arm was getting sore from casting and no fish. His eyes were on the prize as our final day loomed on the horizon.

petfishing-4893On the morning of the sixth day, there was fish for the great Sammons. First he conquered the bite, as finally a massive 38 incher stuck to his big silver Sebile. The rest of the day was followed by fish. Many fish. In three hours Jim caught 3 monsters. Bringing our count  to 15 musky in 6 days. That many in a year would be a respectable amount. That many in just a few days is insane. Perfectly, wonderfully, Insane.

We even managed to walk away without lodging any hooks in our hands…

The most serene and wonderful camping trip of all time, complete with great food (from Backpackers Pantry) and great friends. The Petawawa river was an adventure of a lifetime. Amazing that it could be so close to home. Proves that sometimes, in order to find great adventure, you don’t need a lot of money, you just need to look a few miles from your own back door.

A quick thanks to the folks at ExOfficio, Ocean KayakNRS, Backpackers Pantry, Sweet Protection, Brunton and Mountain Hardwear for making this trip possible. Please give these guys a visit, and keep your eyes on the blog, as soon we will be telling you all about our crazy adventure in San Diego and northern Baja. We are hooking up with out old friends Paul Lebowitz and Matt Moyer for some more big game adventures


See you all in San Diego!


(Photos provided by Lisa Utronki and June Veenstra)

Some good press for Game On

Our friend, outdoor writer,  Paul Lebowitz has a great article in this weeks Western Outdoor News about my catch of  the big tuna down in Panama. It is a good read, take a look.
We also got more good publicity with a cover shot on Canoe and Kayak magazine this month and the cover of Kayak Angler magazine next month.
Gearing up for our next stop, Montana, need to work on that fly casting.