kayak fishing

Kayak Fishing the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia

We are just back from our latest kayak fishing adventure—a shoot with friend and fellow Jackson Kayak teammate, Chris Funk. Chris and I both paddled Jackson Kayaks, with Chris in his signature DT, while I got to try out the Mayfly for the first time. The Mayfly is a fly fishing specific sit on top, and I really enjoyed paddling it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of my fly fishing equipment with me this time, so I couldn’t put it to the ultimate test, but I’ll definitely be paddling it again!

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Paddling the new Mayfly from Jackson Kayak

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Chris Funk fishing in the Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia.

For years, Chris has waxed on about a special spot that he has urged us to come and experience it firsthand. In the end, our curiosity got the better of us and we met up with Chris to explore the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia —a spot that may not sound like an exotic destination, but is truly out of this world. We stayed in a cozy cabin at the gateway to the swamp in Stephen C. Foster State Park, a 402,000 acre refuge chock full of herons, turtles, alligators, and—most importantly—bowfin!

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Paddling below the Spanish Moss that was everywhere in the Okefenokee

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Not a bad place to spend a day!

Throughout the week, both Chris and I landed numerous pike and bass, but the majority of   our time was spent chasing bowfin. We quickly learned that the trick with bowfin in these parts is to land them quickly to avoid getting the attention of the big gators also keen for a catch! With murky water and an abundance of toothy critters, we needed to straight tie our lures to something strong, and Seaguar Kanzen Braid was the ticket! The Kanzen casts really well, and it’s easy to dump the leader and straight tie when visibility is not an issue. Fishing among the hundreds of alligators and endless birdlife was definitely a highlight of this trip for us.

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Fishing with the locals

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Giving the gators right of way in the swamp

The water temperature was low due to a front that  had passed through the week before we arrived, which slowed the fishing down, but only marginally, so we still caught enough for our liking. The cold front also meant that there was a broad variety of temperatures and weather during the week, so that meant versatility was key. I was very happy that I brought along my Kokatat paddling top – it was perfect for the cool breeze in the mornings and easy to pack up and stow away when the weather got warmer in the afternoon.

The cold water also handily slowed the gators down, so they were not too aggressive and could be seen much of the day laying on the banks warming themselves in the sun. Paddling and fishing alongside gators does have an added element of danger, but it just made catching the local bowfin all the more exciting! This was also my first time catching bowfin, so I was pretty excited that I got to add a new species to the list on this trip.

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Another species added to the list

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My new otter friend. Photo: Chris Funk

Besides all the gators and birds we saw in the swamp we had a close encounter with a REALLY BIG otter. I was actually standing on shore at the time when he came running right up to me, he saw me and did a quick right turn back into the water.

Next week we are off to Virginia to meet up with friends Wes from SEiGLER Reels and Luther from YakAttack for a week-long kayak fishing road trip – stay tuned for more updates on that on our Instagram and Facebook page!

Kayak Fishing Vancouver Island, Canada

We are back from lovely Vancouver Island and are very happy to report on this amazing trip. The folks from Nootka Marine Adventures along with BC tourism did an amazing job at welcoming us, making us feel right at home and most importantly, putting us on some amazing fish.

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We arrived late at night to a sky full of rain. When we rallied early the next morning there was a rare offshore calm begging us to add some excitement. The calm gave our kayaks a chance to drop in on some halibut and ling cod. We hooked a few ling and rock fish, but only landed the halibut which was hauled in on the support boat…but hey…at least we got to eat it!

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Next we took part in the Moutcha Bay Annual Kayak Tournament. What a fantastic event! Myself and the crew were blown away by the remarkable attendance and the love the local anglers have for kayak fishing.

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We had a wonderful few days after the tournament fishing the iconic, wild, BC rivers for salmon that had begun their move. Massive schools made shooting a breeze and we were able to catch and release about twenty gorgeous fish on film.

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To close out our trip, we had one more day offshore. I managed to catch the elusive yellow eye rockfish that I have been hunting for and our friend, Kalani, hooked his first big ling.

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With a fishery of world class proportions and the legendary scenery of ‘Beautiful British Columbia’, we are already planning our trip back!

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Kayak Fishing in the Ottawa Valley

JUNE 22-30

For our most recent shoot, I headed back to the beautiful Ottawa Valley to fish on the mighty Ottawa River. ‘The Valley’ is home to Heliconia, the producers of our show, and it’s no wonder they’ve chosen this as home base – the fishing is unreal.

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Exploring the many side channels on the Ottawa River

After many of our international trips being plagued by storms and wind, it was refreshing to see that the weather in the Ottawa Valley was going to be pretty consistent, if not incredibly hot. Most of the time, really hot days can really make for awesome evening bites, and this trip was no exception.

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Nice largemouth!

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Ken getting up close and personal with one of many fish caught on this trip

On this trip we switched things up a bit, with show producer Will Richardson playing guest host, while Ken Whiting joined us and took on the role of primary videographer for a few days. Will got to experience firsthand what it feels like to have bad luck in your home waters, as the topwater largemouth bite wasn’t on as much as we had hoped with the forecast.

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Another nice largemouth

We then hooked up with the guys from Team Jackson Kayak, who were also shooting in the area. Having Brooks, Jameson, James and EJ along for this really helped logistically with shuttles, and for getting lots of different angled shots. We hit the water hard, running rapids and fishing for small mouth bass and pike. Our luck seemed to turn around, and needless to say, the Ottawa provided and we had a great time. I was paddling the Coosa HD on this trip, and loved every minute of it – it was really stable and comfortable, key for getting through some of the whitewater we encountered on this trip.

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The man himself (Eric ‘EJ’ Jackson) ready to hit the water

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Hanging out with the boys from Team Jackson Kayak

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Scouting some of the bigger rapids on the Ottawa River

Following that, Jim joined up with local pros Dan and Manny in a secret location for some musky fishing. The boys put us on plenty of fish and we all came off the water with huge smiles.

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Super secret location in the Ottawa Valley

Finally, we hooked up with musician and narrator for Kayak Bassin’ Brock Zeman for a last day of fishing for largemouth on a small back channel. If you like our theme song for the show, Brock is the evil genius behind it!  This was hands down one of the best days of fishing of our lives, as those bass were all over our topwater frogs.

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Getting serenaded by Brock Zeman on the water…not sure what to think about that.

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Brock with another nice bass

The Ottawa River always provides us sunny skies, warm water and awesome fishing. We’re already looking forward to our next trip back to the Ottawa Valley.

Rigging Tip of the Week – Brought to you by SEA-LECT Designs

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.

IMG_2774The 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.

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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

Kayak Fishing show visits San Diego

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.

My first ever locally caught Yellowfin Tuna from a kayak

My first ever locally caught Yellowfin Tuna from a kayak

My first ever Bluefin Tuna

My first ever Bluefin Tuna

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.

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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.

Power-Pole on your Kayak

Do you fish skinny water in your kayak or even small skiff? You seriously should check out the Power-Pole Micro Anchor.
Check out how we rigged them on our Jackson Kayak Big Rig and Kilroy and how it helped us get on fish in this video we shot in Florida’s Levy County a few months ago.