Saturday, March 24, 2012

Let There Be Light!

A while ago I bought a submersible florescent light on clearance, the price was so good I could not resist. I brought it home and while testing it in my garage I discovered it lights up the entire kayak from the inside. There were a few nights on Lake Michigan I could have used it, there is no way anyone for a few miles could miss a glowing green kayak. Today I went to Radio Shack and bought a 4 pin connector, I connected both positives and negatives on the female side to the battery. This gave me two positive leads and two negatives to play with. I also bought an extra connector, cut the male end and added two terminal ends to make it easier to charge my battery. Now I have a light I can use to attract bait fish at night or use how ever I want.

Looking through the front hatch
Looks like a Radioactive Shark
I figure I won't use it much but it is still cool to have if I want to use it.

Thanks for reading
Dan

Friday, March 23, 2012

Skunked on Putah Creek

My wife had some business up at Travis Air force Base Monday afternoon, we were staying the night so she thought it would be a good idea for us to find a spot to fish. I did some research and found a promising stretch of water that could lead to me finally getting some California trout. Stocker trout are not hard to catch, kids do it on Snoopy and bobbers but for some reason I just can not get my hands on one. Using Google I identified the bodies of water near Travis AFB, then I Googled the names of the lakes to come up with intel. So many places, just none that looked fishy enough. I am sure there are several hundred local honey holes an hours drive from base but finding them on the internet is a difficult task. My search lead north to Lake Berryessa, spilling out the bottom was Putah creek (best creek name ever). It is it'self dammed to form Lake Solano off which is camping spots and some very fishy looking areas. I packed light spinning gear, inline spinners and my 5wt.

I got the skunk, saw several fish jumping and rising but connected with none. I didn't bring waders and my fly casting is so bad I gave up after loosing my Elk Hair Caddis to a pine tree. I didn't take any pictures, my wife on the other hand took a ton with her Nikon D-3100 and here they are.

Kayaker launching into lake Salano  
Attempting to side cast 
The camp ground on Lake Salano has a bunch of peacocks

The views were great

The water just kept getting clearer  as we headed up stream
Lots of cool little rapids

The female has only one leg, she still seems to be able to get around alright 

Beautiful country

didn't spot one fish out side the lake though

My wife thought she found me a free lure, turned out to be a big 'ol Slug

Just on the other side is Napa Valley
When we got back to our hotel room we were pretty tired from all the hiking and driving. I asked my wife to itch my back and she found a deer tick with it's head buried in my back. Didn't see any more until the car ride home when a Dog tick walked across her lap. Then that night I found one walking across my side as I was going to sleep. If your going out use bug spray and let someone check you for ticks.

I hope to break my Trout dry spell soon, I could go for some smoked trout about now.
Thanks for reading
Dan

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fulfilling My Pledge.


As an Anglers' Legacy Ambassador,
I pledge to share my love of fishing
with at least one new person each year;
to pass on traditional skills and earned knowledge;
to pay forward the thrill of fishing
with friends and family,
my love of the great outdoors and my
commitment to a healthy environment;
and to give back what someone once gave me -
the special gift of fishing.
That is the Pledge from the Take Me Fishing Website, I like to take it to the next level. I consider taking someone out for a fishing experience they have not been through yet is just as good as fishing for the first time. Be it fly fishing, deep sea or (my favorite) kayak fishing a new positive experience fishing can be a memory treasured for a lifetime or even a new passion. My neighbor's son Dusty is a good kid, loves the outdoors and has been fishing his whole life. He became interested obsessed with kayak fishing. He talked to his dad 4 nights in a row about buying a small sink (Sit inside) kayak from the box store in town before he said "Well it's your money, so if it is what you really want go ahead and get it." 

I was out doing some chores when he came home with little red kayak in the bed of his truck. He was glowing with pride and excitement over his new little boat. I told him i'd take him out and show him the ropes and he seemed more than willing. It was a great day out, the forecast called for rain but it was a beautiful day out. I went inside and asked the boss (my wife) if I could go out. I hooked him up with a spare PDF and a medium sized box insert to take place of his bulky tackle box. Tied his kayak upside down over my own and we were off towards the river. 

Dusty getting his cast on
 The river was almost a full foot lower, they must have opened a weir to send water further down. I ended up boating on small one and loosing several. Dusty didn't catch any but he still seemed to have a good time.

Making a funny face for the camera.
I had high hopes, my expectations fell short. Fishing was tough, we got more bites form mosquitoes than bass and it was great. I hope he had as much fun as I did, And I look forward to fishing with him again. 
The amazing sunset
I urge you to go to www.takemefishing.com and Take The Pledge, it is good for you, good for the people you take out fishing with you and good for fishing in general. 

Thanks for reading
Dan

Monday, March 12, 2012

King River Report

I wanted to get out for some evening/night fishing and get out closer to where I wanted to fish so I had to find a new spot to put in. I drove past my usual spot and turned onto a dirt ranch road and soon found the river on my right. As i was driving i spotted someone in a yellow kayak headed the way I was driving towards where I wanted to put it. I drove to the weir, the banks were really steep and the two spots that seemed to have decent access had people standing there. I turned around and found a spot I could slip down. I knew I would launching this way so my gear was all together and it took no time to get ready.

I want to see someone launch a bass boat here :D
 I figured I should fan cast a little before I launch and stir up the whole area. I grabbed my Abu Garcia reel with the Warrior Buzzbait and let it rip, I buzzed it past a clump of reeds and a Bass blew up at it. I went to set the hook and the line gave, my drag was set way loose. I reeled the slack and tried to thumb to spool to set fish and it was gone.A real bummer but I was excited I got a topwater hit finally, I knew the past 3 warm days would open them up to more aggressive feeding. I cast the buzzbait a few more times with no luck. So I grabbed my other setup and threw a jig at the clump I missed that last fish and hooked a feisty little guy.
Not huge but a healthy fish
 I launched and set off towards the other kayaker, working the shore. The water was about 6 inches lower than the last trip and surprisingly clear in the sheltered areas. The wind was pretty steady out of the north blowing me into the rocky bank. I kept switching between the jig and buzzbait hoping to get some topwater action. But it was just not happening. I picked up a few more fish, one the same size as the first and this guy who was a little larger and scrappier.
This guy hammered the jig
 I met up with the other kayaker it turned out to be Cccoyote from Central Coast Kayak Fishing, he sent me a PM saying he would be out but I didn't get it. He had a Ocean Kayak Tetra Ultra Pro 4.3 I couldn't help but drool over. We talked fishing, it was nice to fish with another angler. I caught a few more on the jig and gave him one to use. i had one that hit like a Mack truck and stole my grub and had another that missed my buzzbait. The sun started to set and Cccoyote had to get back so we parted ways. I turned back towards the weir and picked up a few more on the jig.  
Sunset Bass

King river purple sunset
 I fished an hour or so after dark only caught 2, I tried to get a picture of myself with one but I just couldn't seem to keep my eyes open, so I let the poor guy go on his way.
Eyes closed 
 I decided to turn in, I got back to my launching site and realized it was not as good as I thought it was. There were little thorny seed things all over the ground, I didn't realize this until I went to pull my self up the bank and my hands were covered in them. My neighbor said they are called "Goat Heads" I think Satan Berries is a more appropriate term. Even my tires were coated in them. To top that off there were a few dozen large Wolf spiders running around and one managed to bite me on the inside of the wrist. It is dangerous out there.
A "Goat Head" I pulled out of my tire, check out that sticker
Cccoyote it was nice meeting you I hope we get to fish again.
Thanks for reading
Dan

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ocean Kayak Foot Peg Mod II

My Ocean Kayak Trident 13 is one of the best things I have ever bought, I spend hours at a time floating in rivers and lakes fishing in it. One of the few complaints I have had is after an hour or so my feet go numb resting on the foot pegs. I have talked to several Trident owners and a few told me they have the same problem, I wanted to fix it by modifying the pegs but could not decide on how to do it.

I wrote a blog about it here.
http://theimpracticalfishermen.blogspot.com/2011/12/ocean-kayak-foot-peg-mod-in-progress.html

I tried using a pair of spare bicycle bicycle pedals but could not find a reverse thread nut and trying to drill through it was pointless. Drilling and modifying plastic has never really worked for me, it gets brittle and breaks so I gave it a rest for a while.

Then I saw this video on YouTube by "Kayak" Kevin Whitney
I figured if it is good enough for a guy that has kayaked round the entire Chesapeake Bay it was good enough for me. I ordered a set of Wilderness System foot pegs for their compact size and installed them under my stock foot pegs.

It is not pretty but I can tell you it feels pretty good, the lower peg sits just a little closer than the top peg. It is stable and a more natural foot position for sitting. I installed them using the Stainless Steel hardware included with them 4 1/4 20 screws with neoprene backed washers and squirted a little Marine GOOP just to seal the deal.

Should be going out for some night fishing tonight so we'll see how it goes.
Thanks for reading,
Dan

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Great Night Out on the Kings

Hit the river around 3:30, a bright sunny day with a slight breeze that was not enough to keep me from sweating. The water was pretty muddy and almost a foot higher than the last time I was out on the river. I had the worms I poured this morning, The grubs I always use and some Stank X grubs in Salt N Peppa I wanted to try out. Monday is my favorite day to go fishing, less people out and the ones I do run into seem to have more respect for other anglers than the weekend crowd.
Lost a few fish in my usual spots as I started plucking down the shore, the risen water changes how the fish use small amount of cover the river has.
 The first guy was a scrappy average sized fish, he looked pretty healthy.

 I caught 3 or 4 more smaller bass and lost 2 or 3 before hooking this guy, he had some kind of worm growing out of him. One was actually sticking out of a sore on his belly. I let it go with out toughing any of them...
 I worked my way past where I usually go, the best spots seemed to be rock/gravel areas next to trees or grass on the shelf next to the drop off into the main channel.
 I kept working down the shore looking for that pattern, I had a spot I lost 3 in a row. I would cast into the reeds and my line would swim at me before I could react, I decided to really swing on the next, I hooked this guy and sent him over my kayak. When I unhooked him I noticed his mouth was full of 3 inch long crayfish, just like my jig.
 The sun went down as I got to the weir, I saw a ton of little fish feeding on the surface but nothing would take my buzz bait or popper. I fished them more because I wanted the fish to hit top water but they were not playing fair. I caught 3 more small guys as the sun set and it went dark. I headed back casting at only the best spots. I cast towards a reed bed and never felt it hit the bottom. After 4 good runs this beauty was in my kayak.

 Weighed in at 6.86lbs on the Rapala digital scale, I could not believe my luck. This is the biggest bass I have ever caught, a few years ago I caught one close but this is by far the biggest.
 Got a few photos
 And let her go. It was getting cold, I did not bring a jacket and was a little lost. It took a while to get through the maze that is the river over here and get everything loaded in the truck. I had a great night out before the big girl, she just topped it off. 

Thanks for reading
Dan

Monday, March 5, 2012

Learning the Hard Way

There are many learn a skill, I start with research. Learning as much as I can about a subject prior to any real commitment to avoid mistakes others have made, at least that is what I like to believe. Most the time I stumble into things haphazardly. Being a painter I try to subscribe to the Bob Ross philosophy of "no mistakes but happy little accidents". Since I started pouring plastic baits I have learned a whole lot of what not to do, here is my latest lesson. 

I have read florescent colors react poorly with heat and will discolor, I even waited until after heating my batch of plastic before adding the color. My goal was to make bubble gum pink sinking worms, they have worked great in the past for me and are my dad's go to bait. I was planing on picking up some dye at the tackle store yesterday. The only pink they had was a florescent pink, I figured adding some white would add opaqueness and give me the color I wanted. I mixed the color and it looked great. I just needed to heat it a little further to be ready to pour.   The who batch turned a dark orange color, still something that will catch fish but not bubblegum by any means. Lesson learned the hard way, I still have a batch of fine little baits. Maybe they will work just as good or better...  
Thanks for reading,
Dan

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fishing Dreams Crushed

I love using Google Earth as a way to find new fishing spots. Back in Illinois I would narrow down stretches of river that look particularly fishy. Zooming around the map like I have my own personal helicopter pilot at my disposal. Finding feeder creeks and hidden ponds along rivers, some ended up being duds but most turned up to be pretty good little spots. I am a pretty fair weather angler, i also like to find places to fish that are close to home. If I have to drive 2 hours to a spot that takes 4 hours off my day. I would rather learn a spot close to me than drive hours for bigger or more fish.

Since moving to the Central Valley I have been looking for these spots. The closest thing I have found is the King River, I really can't complain about it. I have never caught less than 2 fish there in an outing and it is only 20 minutes away from my house. Still as much as I love fishing the river I wanted to find a small lake or pond, a local park where I could walk the shores after work until the sun goes down. Back in Illinois I had many of these 45 minute trips, Pitching and flipping the banks. I wanted to find something like that, where I didn't have to bring the canoe or kayak, where I could just fish for a few minutes and unwind for the day.

One spot that kept catching my eye was called Hidden Valley park, the name was promising. I came across it several times and have been excited to try it out, from the pictures I could see a small creek fed pond with a red bridge straddling it. Internet searches led me to articles about sunfish and catfish stockings for children's fishing derbies. Very promising, I was excited. I decided to grab my rod and check it out the other day and this is what I found...
The water was about 6 inches deep, muddy and filled with trash. To get there I walked past a few homeless men sleeping in a gazebo and on benches in the park, just across the bridge children played on swings and the large play set. One girl was seeking Easter eggs her mother had hidden, I always thought such hunts would be good for other holidays.

It is disappointing that the pond is in the shape it is in, I was expecting so much more. Then again it is the desert, I should have expected as much. My little stretch of river is looking pretty good if you ask me.
Thanks for reading,
Dan