Jim joins us with a quick update from the latest shoot in North Carolina’s Crystal Coast!
Jim joins us with a quick update from the latest shoot in North Carolina’s Crystal Coast!
Here is a short video I did recently with Paul Lebowitz of Kayak Angler magazine on the Scotty Stabilizers.
During our last trip to Mazatlan Billy Chapman of Angler’s Inn International actually stuck a fish hook in his arm so that he could demonstrate an incredibly effective method for removing a fish hook from flesh.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Early 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.
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.
On 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 Kayak, NRS, 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)
It’s official! The ‘Kayak Fishing: Game On’ crew is going PRIME-TIME! Jim, Ken and I are all super excited to let you guys out there in blog land be some of the first to know, that the movie is being turned in to a TV series!
Check out the ‘Official Press Release’!
Heliconia Launches Kayak Fishing TV Show on the World Fishing Network (WFN)
July 14, 2009, Beachburg, Ontario – The Heliconia Press, a leading publisher of books and DVDs on outdoor pursuits, is thrilled to announce that starting January, 2010, The Kayak Fishing Show: with Jim Sammons will begin airing on the World Fishing Network (WFN). The 13-episode TV series will be broadcast throughout the year into 25 million North American homes in both standard and high definition.
“The Kayak Fishing Show: with Jim Sammons is the result of two years of production investment,” explains Ken Whiting, Producer of show and President of Heliconia “We’ve been shooting the show in conjunction with the ExOfficio Presents Kayak Fishing: Game On movie series for the past two years with the hopes that it would evolve into a TV series. Needless to say, we’re ecstatic to see this dream come to life and are very optimistic about what this means for the continued growth of the sport.”
The Kayak Fishing Show: with Jim Sammons is a fresh new style of fishing show which is designed to entertain, inspire, educate, and appeal to viewers whether or not they have ever considered fishing from a kayak. Every 30-minute episode follows Jim Sammons on a genuine fishing adventure in a stunning location—from the wild coast of Alaska, to the tropical waters of Panama.
“This is a major step for the sport of kayak fishing,” says Jim Sammons, Star of the kayak fishing show. “It’s recognition from the fishing industry that kayak fishing is more than a passing trend—that the benefits of kayak fishing are real, and participation will continue to grow.”
It’s no surprise that the fishing industry is embracing the sport of kayak fishing. With the current state of both the economy and the environment, anglers are looking for cheaper and less damaging means of enjoying their passion. Not only does kayak fishing address these problems, but anglers are quickly realizing that kayak fishing offers an amazing and productive experience.
About The Heliconia Press
Since World Champion Kayaker Ken Whiting founded the company in 1998, The Heliconia Press has been producing best-selling and award-winning instructional books and videos about kayaking and other outdoor pursuits. The Kayak Fishing Show represents Heliconia’s first foray into the world of TV production. For more information about all of Heliconia’s products, please visit http://www.helipress.com.
the World Fishing Network is the only 24/7 television channel dedicated to all segments of fishing. Originally launched in December 2005, today WFN and WFNHD are available in more than 25 million households through North American cable, satellite and telecommunications distributors. In the U.S., distributors include Verizon FiOS, Dish Network, Charter Communications, GVTC, and more. http://www.wfn.tv
Photo report from Game On 2 Panama shoot.
What a great operation they have at Pesca Panama. This is our floating lodge or floating bar as the case may be. They would move it every day to a new location while we were out fishing.
I don’t seem to have any photos of the support boats but they were top notch. Twin four strokes, full electronics and a huge bimini top to keep the sun off while on the boat. This was huge as when the sun was out it was blistering hot. Lucky we had plenty of cloud cover to keep the heat down a bit. Water temp was 86.5
We are talking long fishing days also, basically fishing dawn till dusk or even later if you take too long on a fish.
We were all very excited to get on our kayaks as we were told we would be the first kayak anglers to fish much of these amazing waters.
The first day of the trip we got into some real nice Roosters with my biggest being close to forty pounds, unfortunately no still shots of that fish but here is one of the others I got on a live bait.
Here is Ken Releasing another
We spent a lot of time fishing the inshore structure with Sebile poppers and magic swimmers, and you never knew what might hit.
Sometimes Jack Crevalle
We were fishing in some nasty neighborhoods and these fish were tough, wanting to pull us into the rocks and the surf. We lost a lot of lures to these fish in the rocks. You basically just buttoned your drag and at times would have to paddle the fish out of the surf zone. The pictures don’t do justice to just how gnarly these spots were. It sure was nice to be in our Ocean Kayak Trident 13’s has they handle the rough conditions so well.
When it wasn’t hot it was raining
Our Videographer/Director Will in a down pour
As we were moving from one island to another we saw a huge school of porpoise and swung by to check it out. Saw some tuna jumping so we tossed the kayaks in the water to give them a shot. Chased some boils and tossed out a surface popper right on top of one with my little Shimano 300 Calcutta and got slammed on the first crank.
Rather like taking a knife to a gun fight.
Paul and I each got one his going 42 pounds and mine 38, note the porpoise behind Paul.
Back near one of the islands we were told about a spot they called the Snook hole for a good reason. These were our first Snook ever.
After fishing the Snook hole we decided to investigate a small tidal river. As soon as we got on the water we spotted a couple of very small crocs sinking out as we approached.
Paul and I each caught small snappers in the river.
As we came around this bend a VERY LARGE salt water Croc Flew off the bank which was about four feet high and landed just a few feet off my bow. I think I levitated out of my kayak; needless to say this is where we turned around. The camera was rolling at the time so I am dyeing to see if they got it on tape.
One of the spots that I was really looking forward to fishing while in Panama was the famed Hanibal bank. This place is famous for big tuna and billfish and I really wanted to try our luck out there for a couple of days. As we would be the first kayak anglers ever to fish this spot. Unfortunately there was a medical emergency on the barge which kept it in one location for an extra day so all we got at the bank was one late afternoon. That turned out to be enough.
As we pulled up to the bank several of our other fishing boats from the barge were just leaving saying that no fish had been landed all morning. I made the comment to Paul and the rest that once they left the kayaks would take over and do some business. We all put out live baits and trolled the area in the kayaks in the 97 degree heat, which Ken was really having a hard time with, what do you expect from a Canadian. The baits we were using were large live Bonita, if we were going to get hit it would be by something big. An hour into trolling my bait go nailed and instantly popped off. You never know how many chances you will get so I was bummed. I pinned on another Bonita and was off again. The issue I was having was that with these big baits it was hard to get the lever drag reel set in a good spot to hold the baits in place but not be so tight that the fish couldn’t run with it. Well I saw some bird working in the distance and decided to head that way, I tighten down the drag a bit so I could paddle harder and got hit and popped again. This time I was pissed, the other guys had not been hit at all and I didn’t know how many chances I would get. I put on another bait this time a smaller goggle eye which would let me troll a bit faster. I was chasing the bird very hard for over a mile and was really running out of steam by the time I reached them in the extreme heat. I had just slowed down to rest a bit and got SLAMMED. I let it run a bit threw it in gear and it was Game On.
I don’t think I have ever pulled this hard on a fish, thank God for the Shimano Tiagra 12 two speed reel loaded with 50 pound PowerPro braided line I was using. The fish had my rod pegged to the rail for much of the fight ad that two speed allowed me to still gain line. In these clear waters I think the Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon leaders really helped us get bit.
I had the fish to color in a little over an hour and when I saw how big it was I was amazed. I had the guys from the camera boat toss me a gaff and I gave it my best shot. It was rather like gaffing a stick of dynamite as when the gaff it the fish it just exploded.
I think all I really did was piss the fish off, as it smoked off a ton of my line not to be seen again for another two hours.
By the time I got the fish back up to color my body was a wreck, my arms were dying, my hand were cramping and the always problematic muscles in my back were one big knot. The sun was starting the set and we did not want to lose this fish or fight it into the night, you would know why if you saw some of the huge Bull sharks we saw and the fast approaching lighting storm heading our way. I had the boat come in close and let them stick the gaff in the fish, good thing too because again the fish exploded and it took two gaffs to get it in the boat.
Many Rum and cokes followed up this catch and lots of Motrin for my sore muscles.
Panama is my new favorite place. The fishing and scenery were absolutely off the charts.
On a side note you will notice that in most shots we are not wearing PFDs, I am a strong proponent of wearing a life vest when out on the kayaks. The reason we are not wearing them is that the Kayaks, paddles and PFDs were all shipped to Panama in advance of our trip and the PFDs simply didn’t show up.
On another note, in this picture you can see my new favorite fishing shirt. The Exofficio Neptune.
It kept me cool in the blazing sun but also after getting blasted with fish blood washed up like it was brand new.
Panama is definitely a place I want to go back to, even though we put in very long hours on the kayaks I know we barely scratched the surface of possibilities on what a kayak angler can do here.
(Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – 9th March 2009) I am convalescing on the flattest, calmest piece of Pacific Bay I have ever seen. I am convalescing from a fantastic week on the water in Texas. Okay, maybe “convalescing” is not the appropriate verbage. How about: “Rehabilitating”? Nay… the constant stream of Rum Punches being brought to my beachside chase lounge makes “rehabilitation” most disingenuous. Ahhh, mobsters…. Here it is… I am refueling. Yep, filling a drained tank after a glorious week of fishing, filming, and, friends.
Jim Sammons, the king of west coast kayak fishing and the infamous videographer extraordinaire Will Richardson (the coolest Canadian this side of the Cobham River) came to Texas at the close of February. Texas was scheduled to be the first stop for Game On Part 2, and we planned to fish the Hurricane Ike -battered but unbowed -upper Texas Coast.
We set up camp at Pointe West Resort, on Galveston Island. A great home base for various fishing options on and around Galveston, and we were definitely going to need options. February weather is so unpredictable in Texas, that targeting a specific species is dubious at best. In planning for the film I had multiple locations mapped and at the ready for whatever Ma Nature threw in our direction.
My best bet for good fishing was putting the crew, which included Perry Trial from TPWD, on to big trout. However with a week of unseasonably warm weather, I had a hunch that the trout would be dispersed and instead that red fish may be skittering about the shallow marshes. The water was warm enough for sure, and if the bait fish were around at all, I knew the reds would be too.
On day one of our fishing I went with my gut and took the crew over to a Christmas Bay canal and salt marsh. We choose our location well because everyone whacked good fish the first day. Reds of all sizes were caught. There were plenty of undersized “rats”, as well as some nice slot redfish between 23 and 25 inches netted for the cameras. As a bonus, some very respectable flounder were brought to hand too. The big flounder were unexpected as usually you only catch juveniles this time of year. All in all it was a great start to the trip.
Jim with a great flounder (I say it was the lucky Lendal hat!):
Perry with a nice red:
On day two we rolled the dice and went to a deep water spot to see if any trout were still hanging around. Jim had a red and a flounder under his belt, and I felt duty bound to get him on a speckled trout so he could complete a proper “Texas Slam”. (Texas Slam = Red, Trout, and Flounder.)
How’s that old adage go? “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Well, our road was unpaved/destroyed by Hurricane Ike, and getting everyone to the trout launch spot was a time consuming affair. Poor Jim and Will were basically 4 wheeling in a Chrysler rental car that was so low to the ground yellow stripes in the road were trying to duck and cover. Alas, we all made it to the launch and set out for fishing. We grinded for a few hours, but with a late start and unseasonably warm waters, the trout hole was a swing and a miss.
Bird on the move:
–Pardon. My drink has been long empty and our waitress Elda has seemingly vanished? I must find my sandals and make way to the beach bar for refills. More soon on our Texas Fishing Adventure, after proper refreshments have been secured….
—Bueno Amigos… mas aventura de pesca Tejas…
On the afternoon of day two Jim and I headed back to Christmas Bay for more marsh fishing, while Perry and Will went to meet a pilot for shooting some aerial footage. Our pilot was no ordinary prop jockey. Nay my good friends, we secured the services of Walker – kayaker, fisherman, pilot, privateer (seriously, it’s on his business card), and just a genuinely cool dude. Walker flew half the crew over Galveston Island, Follett’s Island, and Bolivar Island while Jim and I fished. We each caught some reds, but it wasn’t as hot and heavy as the day before. Regardless, we had quite a time watching Walker fly low circles over us sans passenger doors. Perched precariously, Will hung out the door by his safety belt to shoot video. Cool stuff indeed.
Return your seat backs to their upright and locked position:
Whose shooting who?:
On day 3, we shook off the cobwebs from a night of trading fish stories and drinks. As the big winds were increasing steadily, everyone decided marsh fishing was again the first-best option. Fishing was marginal with no big fish caught and an inconsistent bite. But, everyone went bendo a few times, albeit no bragging rights were cemented.
Wind and Waves:
After breaking for lunch we headed for another spot in the lee of the wind. I still needed to find some trout and figured this particular spot in West Bay would produce. Bah, the wind started humming to 20mph and we fought it and a bigger than expected tide. No joy, no luck. As the sun started to go down though, I suggested we blind cast a marsh on the way back to the launch. With the grinding potential of our blind casting we were finally rewarded with a speckled trout to complete Jim’s slam. It wasn’t a monster sow trout, but it was a respectable keeper caught as the sun was setting. How can you not like that? It was a cool moment. A genuine moment. A moment when potential and opportunity combine into a worthy flash of Experience (capitalization intended). For me, that’s fishing, mobsters…. Not the fish, but the potential of the fishing, the potential of the trip, the potential of the next cast, the potential of experience.
– The sun has set here in old Mexico. The battery on the lap top is almost drained along with my drink. I am back on the rod and reel tomorrow…. My better half Angee and I have secured a panga and the services of Captain Jose for a morning of trolling for bonitos, spanish mackerels, and jacks.
The recounting of the Texas trip was only half over when I stopped above. It was a great experience already, and it was about to become even richer. Hell, it become profoundly richer and the actual fishing was terrible by professional angling terms. However, it turned out to be some of the best “fishing” I’ve ever had the privilege to participate in.
Next time: Heroes on the Water. Fishing with wounded veterans at the Manske Ranch in Vanderbilt Texas.